DJ Showcase: IndiaSpend

In an earlier post on data journalism in India, DataJourno founder had pointed out that though data journalism is still nascent in India, some of the work that Indian data journalists were doing were noticeable.

The post had actually given a list of top data journalism sites in India, listing IndiaSpend right on top but lamenting the fact that it was not being updated frequently.

We are happy to see the site once again becoming active with lots of new stories. DataJourno specifically wanted to showcase two stories.

The first, Is Data Noise Drowning Out The Chinkara’s Sneeze? goes deeper than just data analysis to raise a bigger question, extremely relevant in the Indian context. That is – whose data do you believe, when it comes to public issues?

The Rajasthan forest department’s chinkara census shows an 11% rise in the animal’s numbers over three years to 2013, while counting done by biologist Dr Sumit Dookia, who has spent about 15 years studying the chinkara, shows a 43% decline in its numbers in six representative sample sites.

The second, in its site, factchecker,in, Congress-NCP Govt Has Built More Houses Than It Claims!, actually digs up data to show that the previous Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra actually built more houses than it claimed. The former ruling combine took credit for building more than 4 lakh homes during its rule. In reality, it built more than a million homes, according to data obtained by IndiaSpend.

On the face of it, it is irrelevant now, as the elections are over and the former ruling alliance was decisively defeated. But it is important because this shows that if the political parties are sensitized, they can make more credible claims and counter each claim with data. Data is a great tool to fight propaganda, far better than raising your voice or making sarcastic comments.

Meanwhile, DataJourno has faltered on regular updation. Our apologies. We expect to be more regular from fourth week of December onwards


Why the new change in Juvenile Justice Act was much needed…in one chart

The Union Cabinet has cleared the bill to amend the Juvenile Justice Act, which among other things, will allow the courts to treat minors above the age of 16, accused in serious crimes as adults. The government plans to introduce the bill in the current session of Parliament.

Currently, the maximum punishment under the Juvenile Justice Act is three years’ confinement at correctional homes.

There’s enough evidence to suggest that the age brackets are an important parameter to consider in dealing with juvenile justice. The chart below shows how juvenile crime (number of juveniles apprehended) has changed over the years. The data is from National Crime Records Burea.

Juveniles Apprehended by Age Groups 


Juvenile Justice

Three Age Brackets: Three Stories

It is evident that the stories in the three age brackets are very different.

In the age bracket, 7-12 years, number of crimes has actually gone down significantly. It is a 63% drop between 2003 to 2013. That is an average 9% year on year drop.

In the age bracket, 13-16 years, there has been a 14% growth in these 10 years, which translates to 1% average annual growth (CAGR). That is far lower than the growth in overall crime rate.

It is the age bracket of 17-18 years which has actually seen a steep rise in number of juveniles being apprehended. The growth is 60% or a CAGR of 5%.

According to some lawyers, in India, many people in villages and small towns, do not have proper birth records. The lawyers, who know that this is a sure shot way of escaping punishment, often use this to their advantage. So, many offenders, who are actually 22, 23 or even more, escape by claiming they are below 18.

The new changes in Juvenile Justice Act would precisely be able to tackle this problem.