Our journey began in June 2010, when we wanted to build an information infrastructure for India’s municipal bond markets. To begin with, we launched our website Public Finance India, which gave links to state government and municipal financial statements. At that time, even accessing a municipal report was a challenge. We found that the documents were not always available on the linked pages; so we built a repository with the reports and budgets in 2013. Our library (www.macromoney.in/publicfinance.in) houses over 8000 documents and has over 2000 registered users.
We moved to the next level of converting documents into excel spreadsheets. We participated in an Open data program in 2015, and supplied municipal datasets to Open Budgets India. While it was more readable than the financial document, we believed that the excel spreadsheets of data were of limited use; it was difficult to compare munis by holding up the excel sheets.
We looked for a way to design a database that would allow for query, comparison and analytics. This was challenging as Municipal Budgets and Accounts are different in format. Municipal Budgets are published in the local language in most parts of the country. So the challenges were considerable; to have them in a common language (English) and normalise them to make the data comparable.
We built a proof of concept (yes, a software that can query and compare is possible) and received validation when we were selected for the first cohort of Women Entrepreneurs Hub, Hyderabad. Our product prototype of a national municipal database won the USIBC Start up Pitch competition 2018.
We wrote the taxonomy for the database by aligning various municipal budget codes with the state municipal accounting manual and from there with the National Municipal Accounting Manual. We built a separate track for the Municipal Accounts. We built a property tax module and a municipal bond module.
We now present Munify- a municipal database that will help you search, query, analyse and visualise. Access it with a subscription. Starting with Rs.999/- per month!