Data Analytics in Governance
As we enter the 70th year of India’s independence, it is perhaps a good time to look at the path ahead and how data analytics can lend a supporting hand. With our population of 1.2 billion people, we generate a vast goldmine worth of data each day - a virtual jackpot for data analysis. The insights generated through analysis can point out deficiencies in the system for quick focus.
Frauds and corruption has affected India massively. A 2010 report by Global Financial Integrity had estimated that between 1948 and 2008, India lost about $462 billions. The Indian exchequer continues to lose money by tax evasion, benefit frauds, and procurement frauds. The foremost benefit of data or business analytics in governance is that it brings in transparency and reduces frauds.
As a part of Open Data initiative, Government of India’s Open Government Data Platform (OGD) portal, built jointly with the American government, is a huge step in bringing in transparency in governance. As of this moment, the data portal has 28,372 datasets spanning 101 government departments. The data has been viewed 7.19 million times, and downloaded 2.83 million times. There are 861 visualisations of the available data. There are also 422 APIs to allow developers to build applications that access the publicly available datasets.
1,89,634 central government employees belonging to 642 organisations now mark their attendance at work on the Aadhar-enabled biometric attendance system. A glance at the attendance data website tells me that the average time at which a government official reaches work is 9:31 am, and the average time at which they leave work is 5:48 pm. A good 24% of the officials are at work before 9 am. With data, it is easy for the government to back their claims of improving efficiency in the government sector and gain the confidence of the public.
With traffic bottlenecks being a major problem for all our cities, it is important to swiftly look for solutions. This is another area where analytics is proving useful. Data crunching helps urban planners understand metrics such as peak hours, heaviest-traffic routes, common modes of transportation are some of the metrics that go into the planning of smart cities.
Analytics is also going to areas such as planning mid-day meals in schools. Mathematical optimisation models are exceedingly useful when planning nutritious meals for children while keeping the budgetary constraints in sight. Optimally nutritious meals planned through such models are then tested for other factors such as taste, regional availability of ingredients, and such. Finally, in a democracy, it is extremely important for the government to stay in touch with the people. With effective use of sentiment analysis, the government can routinely monitor public opinion.
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Soumyadip Pal is a retail analytics professional and a passionate educator with more than 8 years in the industry and more than 7 years in the academia, currently working as a consultant with Manipal Prolearn.