Smart data analytics and its role in the Indian public sector
Arun Balasubramanian | September 21, 2018
1.33 billion. Let that large number sink in. That number is nearly 18 percent of the total global population, and almost the number of people estimated to currently reside in the republic of India, one of the world’s largest and fastest growing economies. These 1.33 billion people are spread across an area of more than 3.28 million square kilometres, speak 22 major languages in over 1,600 mother tongues, and belong to numerous ethnicities, cultures, geographies, and religions.
While this unique diversity is without a doubt amongst the most appealing facets of the country’s charm, it is also a source of constant stress for central and state governments, as well as a seemingly insurmountable obstacle to policymaking, administration, governance, and service delivery. After all, how can any government come up with public sector schemes and initiatives that not only acknowledge, but also satiate the specific needs and concerns of such a massive consumer base?
India’s public information conundrum: Too much, too little
To understand the challenges that face governance in the country, we need to first take a look at how the information about the needs, demands, and grievances of Indian citizens is currently collected. Manual, door-to-door surveys are conducted once every decade to take cognisance of the country’s vast multitudes and their social, economic, and cultural conditions. This approach, in today’s fast-changing and dynamic world, is fundamentally flawed. It is even less prudent in India, which has been witnessing unprecedented, widespread changes as an economy.
India has undergone exponential urbanisation over the past two decades, a trend that is expected to continue in the near future. It is estimated that Indian cities will be home to more than 600 million by the year 2031, accounting for almost 40 percent of the overall population. Most of this urbanisation is expected to be driven by population migration to metropolitan and tier-1 regions in search of quality higher education, better job opportunities, and superior standards of living. This will lead to drastic changes in the composition and distribution of the population across different geographies – changes which could very well have cascading effects across multiple regions over an extended duration of time.
As a result, any information which does not account for this dynamic movement of population subsets within the country, fuelled by the current method of information collection, will be hopelessly outdated and ultimately ineffective. Of bigger concern, however, is the issue of the accessibility of this data. Stored in isolated information silos, various storage environments, and distant physical locations, most of the data needed by key stakeholders in the public sector value chain remains completely unavailable to them at the time of making decisions. Decisions thus made are therefore based more on approximations and extrapolations than hard data, and are therefore unable to serve the interests of citizens accurately.
Smart data analytics and smart governance
Solving the aforementioned challenges might seem nigh on impossible, but the answer to them, as with most other questions in this increasingly digitally-driven day and age, lies in three words: smart data analytics.
By breaking down the insulated silos that hold critical public data, cutting-edge data analytics platforms can extract and collate information from across various storage environments and undertake deep analysis of disparate datasets. This information is presented in an easily understood and interactive visual format, allowing even novice users to explore, engage with, and ask questions of the available data, conveniently and seamlessly. Highly relevant and contextual insights, as a result, are delivered at the location where it is most effective – be it a government official looking to make a decision, or even a citizen with a bright idea for change.
Various industry reports project India to become a $6 trillion economy within the next decade. But to realise that potential, the Indian public sector needs to become smarter and adopt better processes. A more data-driven approach becomes the need of the hour here. Only by leveraging state-of-the-art data analytics can the nation be guided into the new, technologically-led epoch and made to fulfil its burgeoning promise as a global economic superpower.
Balasubramanian is the managing director of Qlik, India
(The article appears in the September 30, 2018 issue)
"The year 2020 is going to be a significant year for India and especially for Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE), "said the Arjun Ram Meghwal, Minister of State for heavy industries and public enterprises on Wednesday at the 7th PSU Awards and Conference organised by Governance Now on 19th
Highlighting the importance of preserving, protecting and promoting Indian languages, the vice president of India, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu spoke in 22 languages at an event to mark International Mother Language Day in New Delhi. He urged all the citizens to take a pledge to promote mother tongue and also lea
Real estate is among the priciest investments around. More so for the common man who has to live with the burden of monthly EMIs. Yet, it is an art to discover the real owner of any property. Government and revenue records, which are easily accessible to the public, are not properly maintained. Individual
The election commission of India (ECI) has been working on a series of electoral reforms, and the agenda includes linking Aadhaar with the electoral roll, considering paid news and false affidavit as electoral offence/corrupt practice, better monitoring the role of print media and social media intermediari
To protect the fast depleting wetlands against being used as landfill and for development activities in Mumbai metropolitan region (MMR), environmentalists have asked the centre to declare the 289-hectare Panje wetlands in Uran tehsil of Raigarh district as a ‘Ramsar site’ and preserve its ecol
Mumbai is building a coastal road to cut through traffic snarls and make life easier for commuters. The ambitious project, part of the city’s Development Plan (DP) 2035, is the second major initiative after the Bandra-Worli sea link, and should become a reality in 2023. Here are the key facts