The Economic Survey 2018-19

Economic Survey suggests merging of different datasets held by govt

A person checks his Aadhaar details on his mobile phone. Picture for representational purposes only.   | Photo Credit: V.V. Krishnan

The government needs to view data as a public good and make necessary investment, particularly in social sectors, to enhance ease of living for citizens, improve targeting in welfare schemes and uncover unmet needs, as per the Economic Survey 2018-19.

The Survey stated that given that sophisticated technologies already existed to protect and share confidential information, data could be created as a public good within the legal framework of data privacy. However, it added that “in thinking about data as a public good, care must also be taken to not impose the elite’s preference of privacy on the poor, who care for a better quality of living the most.”

The Survey suggested that the data and information highway must be viewed as equally important infrastructure as the physical highways. “Such a stance can help India leapfrog to utilise the benefits of technological advances for the welfare of its people.”

It pointed out that while the private sector did a good job of harnessing data where it was profitable, government intervention was needed in social sectors, where private investment in data remained inadequate.

The governments already held a rich repository of administrative, survey, institutional and transactions data about citizens such as birth and death records, crime reports, vehicle registrations, but these data were scattered across numerous government bodies. “As data of societal interest is generated by the people, it should be ‘of the people, by the people, for the people’,” it said.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2021 12:08:39 PM |

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