Indian politics has always been a subject of fascination for some and speculation for some while a lot has been spoken, mostly negative on the entire political scenario. But unlike the general opinion, Indian politics is gradually undergoing several positive changes, since the time politicians have started actively using technology for governance. The topic we deal with in this article will be the use of Big data and analytics by the Government.
Recently, a growing number of political leaders including the Finance Minister, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Chandrababu Naidu have adopted big data and analytics in order to strengthen the process of decision making and improving governance at the constituency, state and national levels.
Collaboration of Technology with Governance
Nongovernmental organizations like the Swaniti Initiative aim at delivering development solutions to government officials by starting, accelerating and implementing development solutions in areas like education, livelihood, health care, gender, sanitation, water, food distribution etc. These organizations have worked with 100+ parliamentarians, with more than 5 Chief Ministers, 15 state level legislators by providing research support on major developmental programs, support with implementation in various constituencies or strategic insights based on data base in order to aid decision making in development policies.
How it is done
These data analytic companies deploy teams in the target constituencies that are supported by their head offices in order to tackle specific problems that are either identified by local communities or set forth by the Government. The activity of gathering data typically lasts anything between 3 months to a year and is categorized into 3 phases.
- Phase 1: The data collection and analysis is conducted through extensive field work in order to gauge the challenges, possible solutions and the best alternatives. These are passed on to the client offices.
- Phase 2: In this phase, the companies secure suitable partners and several forms of support in order to deploy programs, growing it into a full scale solution. The handover of controls to the local political leaders happens in the last part of this phase.
- Phase 3: Monitoring of survey effectiveness is done here.
Some of these companies also release weekly updates on policies along with development briefs to the MLAs and MPs. These companies are growing at a fast pace as they receive almost 5 requests a week for all kinds of research support from offices of Chief Ministers, department ministers and other elected leaders.
Their services range from creating memos, briefs, host multiple training and knowledge conferences and conducting one-on-one knowledge consultations for MPs and MLAs.
The research that they provide is catalytic in bringing about development since they stress on what a scheme or policy is and how the implementation can be successful. For instance, one data company, Swaniti collaborated with the CM’s office of Andhra Pradesh in order to provide data insights on agriculture that assisted in designing a seed dissemination program. The company also provides data and analytics support to the CM’s offices of Arunachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Sikkim.
Scope for growth
In the IT industry, there is presently a unanimous acknowledgment regarding the importance of data, still, few companies work with the government and government related projects. As of now, MPs rely on input provided by party workers and local elected leaders with regard to the present state of development. With data dashboards, data analytic companies can bring in the much required hard data in order to assist with decision making amongst elected officials. The present government is technology friendly and is increasing its focus on data and technology. The demand is all set to increase in the governance of India space. But the important factor is how this analytics can be used. The refinement of elements in the dashboard, how frequently different parameters are used, analysis of real impact v/s expected impact are yet to be reached. The data companies are actively involved in developing these applications and processes further with these elements in mind.
With initiatives such as these by the Government, it is clear that India is all set to move towards a more organized and data driven country. Implementation of practical solutions at grass root levels and in depth understanding of problems are at the hands of politicians. While many do act upon it, we hope everyone follows suit.