Big Data for governance

by Admin — last modified Nov 08, 2017 01:42 AM
Recent times have witnessed an explosion of data as users started leaving a huge data footprint everywhere they go. Interestingly, this period has seen a phenomenal increase in computing power couple by a drop in costs of storage.

The article by Alekhya Hanumanthu was published in Telangana Today on November 4, 2017.

India is now sitting on the data so generated and subjecting it to data analytics for uses in various sectors like insurance, education, healthcare, governance, so on and so forth.

According to Centre for Internet and Society (CIS), in 2015, the Government of Narendra Modi launched Digital India Programme to ensure availability of government services to citizens electronically by improving online infrastructure and Internet connectivity.

Amongst other things, e-Governance and e-Kranti intend to reform governance through technology and enable electronic delivery of services. Needless to say, it will involve large scale digitisation, electronic collection of data from residents and processing. The Big data so created will help policy making evolve into a data backed, action oriented initiative with accountability asserted where it is due.

Let’s take a look at some Big Data based initiatives underway according to analyticsindiamag:

Project insight: Undertaken up by Indian tax agencies, Project Insight is an advanced analytical tool that is a comprehensive platform that encourages compliance of tax while at the same time it prevents non-compliance. Significantly, it will be used to detect fraud, support investigations and provide insights for policy making. For instance, it will detect the social media activity of a person to glean their spending and check if it is commensurate with the tax they have paid during that year. Needless to say, this will also unearth sources of black money.

Economic Development Board in Andhra: CORE-CM Office Realtime Executive Dashboard is an integrated dashboard established to monitor category-wise key performance indicators of various departments/schemes in real time. Users can check key performance indicators of various departments, schemes, initiatives, programmes, etc. With a panoply of services information ranging from Women and Child Welfare to Street lights monitoring, it has become an exemplary role model of governance.

Geo-tagging of assets under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA): Under the guidance of Narendra Modi, online monitoring of assets to check leakages Ministry of Rural development was started. To achieve this, they were tied up with ISRO and National Informatics Centre to geo tag MGNREGA assets. According to India Today, the assets created range from plantations, rural infrastructure, water harvesting structures, flood control measures such as check dams etc. To do this, a junior engineer takes a photo of an asset and uploads it on the Bhuvan web portal run by ISRO’s National Remote Sensing Centre via a mobile app. Once a photo is uploaded, time and location gets encrypted automatically. Thus, the Government hopes to hold an ironclad control of the resources thus disseminated.

CAG’s centre for Data Management and Analytics: According to Comptroller and Auditor General of India, The CAG’s Centre for Data Management and Analytics (CDMA) is going to play a catalytic role to synthesise and integrate relevant data into auditing process. According to an announcement on National Informatics Centre (NIC), it aims to build up capacity in the Indian Audit and Accounts Department in Big Data Analytics to explore the data rich environment at the Union and State levels. What’s more, this initiative of CAG of India, puts it amongst the pioneers in institutionalising data analytics in government audit in the international community.

Task Force to spruce up Employment Data: The data provided by Labour Bureau is limited and not timely enough for policymakers to assess the need for job creation. To address this gap, the Government has set up a committee tasked to fill the employment data gap and ensure the timely availability of reliable information regarding job creation. Thus the top line of Government has a direct view of where the employment gaps are so that it can facilitate creation of appropriate jobs.

What’s the big picture?

Policy making and governance by Indian government have traditionally been rife with red tape, bureaucracy and corruption. Lack of accountability on part of Government workforce not only impacted the quantity and quality of work delivered but also invited corrupt practices and leakages. So, Big data is a welcome change in direction.