- Vishweshwer Mangalapalli
Much has been said and alleged about the intentions of the Comprehensive People Survey of Telangana. Thanks to the steadfastness of the Govt, we are moving ahead with it. If done with a reasonable amount of sincerity, the survey would lead to collection of data which would be a treasure trove. However, what will really determine the efficacy of this survey is what the Govt does with the data it collects post the survey. Given this context, I spoke with the Chief Data Scientists in a couple of analytics companies that I know of and both were unanimous that the data can be mined to give comprehensive insights which could form inputs into multiple areas
In the recent past Dr.Anand of Gramenar (one of the companies I spoke to), has done a similar comprehensive analysis of the 2014 poll results and came up with interesting insights which were beyond the realms of normal psephology. And what amazed me was that all of it was done using Microsoft excel and a laptop. No other complex software tools were employed and the overall data visualization was extremely intuitive and aesthetically appealing.
There are multiple benefits of spending efforts on this data mining and making it public at the earliest. Here are a few that I can think of:
- Elimination of fraud and estimating a near accurate size of the same leading to:
- Policy inputs covering – rectification of old frameworks and structuring new ones
- Identification of social priorities for the state of Telangana
- Reallocation/Optimization of funds
- Demonstrate that the Telangana Govt is truly transparent in its approach to Governance and also use this as an antidote to curb some of the political termitism being demonstrated by some sections of TTDP (Revanth Reddy, Erabelli et al), TCongress (Ponnala, DS) and TBJP
- Give fillip to other state Govts to undertake similar such exercises to eliminate waste in expenditure on a larger scale
It is also important that the Govt should make this a regular feature and not treat it as a one off exercise. It makes for perfect economic and social rationale to spend INR 25 – 40 Cr for surveys like this to save thousands of crores on an ongoing basis
As an aside my hunch tells me that Chandra Babu Naidu will also take cue from this and launch a survey for the state of AP. Given the funds constraint he has, it makes sense for his Govt too to take this up.
I strongly feel that KTR being the IT minister should take lead on this and help the Telangana Govt with analysis and insights ( that is if he has not already taken the lead). He can convert this into a nice open project and give it to a bunch of professors and their students in all of the leading engineering colleges, maths and statistics departments of Telangana universities and IIITs and run a competition of sorts. The top three analyses can be given some nominal recognition. I am sure many will come forward to lap this up.
In conclusion, by bringing this survey to center stage and pressing on with it, KCR has truly demonstrated that the Telangana Govt is not only innovative in its approaches but also has the guts, gumption and energy to press on with socially responsible steps which aid in public policy making.
I sincerely hope that there will be enhanced focus and vigour on post survey data analysis as much as on the conduct of the survey itself.