Data-driven governance

Inform, impact and improve policy making

The true value of data is sought when it allows decision makers to make sound decisions on a real-time basis. Today the issue is not the absence of data, but the presence of large data sets which are disaggregated and not used to their full potential. “Big data has revolutionized the way we live, work and think” (Mayer-Schönberger & Cukier, 2013). While large data sets have been used effectively by companies to drive their topline, they have not been effectively utilised for planning developmental projects. Development planning has been a national priority since independence and subsequently all agencies working in the sector – central and state governments, voluntary sector, private sector and private individuals – have been experimenting and trying to identify a breakthrough to utilise data for development.

Realising the value of ‘technology’ and ‘data’ and how it can potentially revolutionise decision making, Tata Trusts have actively taken up the agenda of striving towards ‘data-driven governance’ — to inform, impact and improve policy making with a view to facilitate the holistic development of the nation, including infrastructure and human development, by activating the participatory spirit of the people. In 2015, the Trusts forged working relationships and partnerships with various central and state ministries, district and block governments and members of parliaments working in the sphere of data to explore technology-backed models of collecting data, visualisation, triangulation, analysis and hosting of open data platforms to support evidence-based, data-driven governance and decision making.

Main objectives of the programme

Overall, Tata Trusts intend to play a pivotal role in enhancing data capabilities of governments by creating a ‘culture of data’ and accountable governance which will be achieved by:

  • Micro-targeting of interventions and facilitating action at a local level using the data from mobile-based, real-time data survey and creating a model of convergence of government schemes in development.
  • Improving last-mile linkage of individuals to schemes and empowering communities through data.
  • Open data platform which tags all individual data across sources against a single identifier (say Aadhar card or phone number).
  • Creating examples through Aadhar seeding, PDS digitisation, etc., of effectively using data, whether collected by the Trusts or secondary sources, to aggregate for policy-level interventions.

Major Partners

Non-governmental partners

Centre for People’s Forestry
Tata Steel Rural Development Society
Bharat Ggyan Vigyan Samiti
Sparsh Centre for Participatory Learning

Governmental partners

SAGY, Directorate of State Institute of Rural Development, Government of Nagaland
Department of Planning, Government of Maharashtra
Several municipal corporations and local administrations
Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India

Driving data-driven governance in municipal systems