Blog Past: The Need for Open, Linked Government Data

I wrote this last year:

I have written about the need for “Open Data, Open Government” earlier. One example of the impossibility of analysing data is the Economic Survey and Budget data.

The good thing is that the information is available as PDF and in the applicable cases, XLS. But the problem is that the XLS files are all separate. It is hard to see the linkages. So, if I wanted to actually see where the government’s Rs 5 lakh crore in social services is being spent, it is almost impossible.

That is what needs to be changed. The data files that need to be made available should show the linkages between data, rather than showing them basically as tables and columns in XLS, which do not lend themselves to any sort of analysis. How can we dig deep into the government data to understand the specific expenditure heads?

2 thoughts on “Blog Past: The Need for Open, Linked Government Data

  1. Great Post. Most people will agree that there are two main drivers for this.

    1) Institutional resistance to providing clarity (if you know where the money is going, chances are you will find out what I want to hide, i.e. my cronies got most of the money)

    2) Lack of modernization (systems are probably EOL, softwares are not updated and, people managing it either cannot contemplate the user case and don’t appreciate the benefits of linking all data).

    Question is, how do we influence change in that direction?

    Probably too big a task to get meaningful change on #1 above, but #2 can be fixed if we work closely with people/organization within government to educate them on the utility of the modern-wares.