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Central welfare database of citizens

Topic covered:

Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

 

Central welfare database of citizens

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: Need for database, significance, challenges in the absence of data and measures to improve data accuracy.

 

Context: Economic Survey moots central welfare database of citizens.

 

About the Proposed Central Welfare Database of citizens:

It will be created by merging different data maintained by separate Ministries and departments — which can be tapped for enhancing ease of living for citizens, particularly the poor.

Governments can create data as a public good within the legal framework of data privacy. Care must also be taken not to impose the “elite’s preference of privacy on the poor, who care for a better quality of living the most.”

Private sector may be granted access to select database for a fee.

The datasets talked about include administrative data such as birth and death records, pensions, tax records, marriage records; survey data such as census data, national sample survey data; transactions data such as e-national agriculture market data, UPI data, institutional data and public hospital data on patients.

 

Significance:

The governments already has a rich repository of administrative, survey, institutional and transactions data about citizens, but these data were scattered across numerous government bodies. Merging these distinct datasets would generate multiple benefits with the applications being limitless.

The government could utilise the information embedded in these distinct datasets to enhance ease of living for citizens, enable truly evidence-based policy, improve targeting in welfare schemes, uncover unmet needs, integrate fragmented markets, bring greater accountability in public services and generate greater citizen participation in governance, etc.

Sources: the Hindu.