Topic– Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability
3) Evaluate whether the current focus on collecting and highlight various forms of data reflects a commitment to evidence based policy making?(250 words)
Why this question
The article discusses the current focus on data in terms of comparison between states, refining data collection and analysis methodology in the case of GDP data. The article gives its view on whether the current focus on data reflects a commitment to evidence based policy making, or whether it shows that data is being utilised for perverse gains.
Key demand of the question
The question expects us to explain the role of data in evidence based policy making. Thereafter, it expects us to highlight the current debates wrt data such as GDP backseries data, data on achievements made under several flagship projects of the government. We need to give our view on whether with focus on data collection and analysis , we are moving towards evidence based policy making.
Evaluate – When you are asked to evaluate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidences. You have to appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming a personal opinion here.
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Explain that data interpretation and analysis is one of the worst casualties in a post truth era. Highlight the debate wrt GDP data, employment data etc and the questions it raises.
- Discuss the role of data in evidence based policy making and examine whether the current focus on data in India is due to this reason
- Highlight the problems with data collection and analysis in India – relatively little by way of independent data on politically contentious issues, frenetic race to the top, focus on achieving targets rather than measuring effectiveness. Discuss the cons by taking examples of the recent debates wrt data collection methodology and the results.
- Highlight how data can be better incorporated in policy making and the advantages it has
Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced view on role of data and data collection methodology in India and discuss how the process can be improved going forward.