In the past, decisions were made based on experience, wise counsels and by default. Today computers with a prodigious memory and speed for processing enable us to examine nearly all options for decision making in real time. The computing speed also allows us to visualise the possible consequences. Based on this, CSTEP has built the Decision Analysis for Research and Planning (DARPAN), a user-interactive computer application which can be hosted on a web server, and accessed by policymakers.
The aim of this application is to create a decision-making environment which enables multiple policymakers to simulate and evaluate the impact of their policy choices in terms of pre-determined output parameters. DARPAN is developed by combining system-dynamics, GIS, data mining and statistical analysis. Each model is constructed in close collaboration with stakeholders to identify the variables of importance to decision-makers with visual depictions of their possible consequence. A feature of the system is multiple screens that display detailed visual representation of decisions, policies and their impact. A prototype of DARPAN is being used to answer questions in real time for on-shore wind power generation in Karnataka, using ever-changing variables such as cost of power, emissions reduction and monthly peak shortfalls. We are working to seek funds for building DARPAN that can address problems in civil society.