2. By embracing Open Data and Open Government, we can transform governance in India.
I had written about this earlier in the context of the Gov 2.0 Summit Learnings: “What is really needed in India is to make all government data (except that which involves the privacy of an individual or national security) open and accessible to all. This approach is the opposite of the thinking behind RTI (Right to Information). In India, the government jealously guards data and treats it as its private property. RTI is a lever to pry some of the data out of the hands of the government but the maintained assumption is that the data is unavailable to citizens in general.”
Data about testing results from schools can help identify the best schools and teachers, which can help in ensuring best practices can then be replicated across other schools. Data from hospitals can help detect virus outbreaks earlier. Farmers can get up-to-date weather information and commodity prices, enabling smarter decision-making. Panchayats, being a critical pillar of local government, can be held to account for how the money allocated to them is spent.
The various stories about the misuse of funds have keep coming since them are a reflection of the need for greater transparency of data that needs to be available in real-time and can be analysed by both machines and people.