It is believed Big Data Analytics gained prominence in the country during main national opposition party Bharatiya Janata Party’s parliamentary election campaign of 2014. It was one of the most data-savvy campaigns that India witnessed in recent times. Using Big Data, 144 million people were virtually connected to ‘Elect Modi Campaign’. This campaign used social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google plus in a major way. BJP partnered with IT and analytics firms, such as SAP, Oracle, InMobi, and PwC to get real-time updates and analysis during the elections which enabled them to react faster to any controversies in real time. Further, to drive their campaign, they planted cookies on all computers that visited the BJP website. After that they extracted information about their visitors’ further internet activity, for customised advertisements. In addition, so as to get support of lower income group and farmers the BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s campaigning team initiated programmes like ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ through live interactions. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Digital India programme to ensure availability of government services to citizens electronically by improving online infrastructure and increasing internet connectivity. Since then the government has developed various digital platforms and launched many initiatives such as MyGov, DigiLocker, Digital India, National Scholarship portal, Aadhar card, and Jan Dhan Yojna to connect with the citizens through websites, mobiles and smartphones and encourage citizens to be a part of discussions, suggestions and volunteering for various causes. Some of these portals such as MyGov also keeps them updated on the status of their suggestions. Also, as a part of the ‘Digital India’ programme, common Biometric Attendance System has been implemented in the government offices to collect data on the attendance of the employees.
“We developed PM Modi’s dream application called ‘MyGov’, which is a crowdsourcing platform which creates a direct connection between the Government and citizens, allows people to contribute towards government decision-making, policies and good governance,” said Amit Singha, Head of eGovernance Division, Indus Net Technologies. Another example of the support of analytics is the Department of Science and Technology initiated programme to promote Big Data Science, Technology and Applications for fostering research. They grant financial support for research and development projects, national level conferences, workshops, seminars and for the establishment of Center for Excellence in Big Data Analytics, predictive technologies, cyber security etc. Department of Science and Technology has announced plans to take Big Data research forward in the Indian context, including financial support for teams taking up such projects. However, continuous effort is required for a long period before some success stories of big data studies and their results can be prominently visible in various spheres of life. “The government should go for setting up two or three big data centers and ask the organisations under it to host their data, leveraging cloud for more agile doing things,” said AS Rajgopal, MD and CEO of NxtGen Datacenter and Cloud Technologies Pvt Ltd. “Any large facility can be created in a few hundred crores. This way the government would benefit more.” Big Data and analytics will play a predominant role in transformation by way of cloud, mobile technology that gather data for the purpose of ascertaining and accordingly addressing concerns of people. The latest to join the analytics sector is the National Payments Corporation of India with the launch of a unified payment interface that allows customers to send and receive money through smart phones without revealing their bank account details. Transactions can be done through Aadhaar number, mobile number or virtual payment address.
The DigiLocker, which is quite fool-proof taking into account the insecurities regarding losing data, acts as an important facility to store crucial documents in the cloud system. This system can store documents like voter ID card, pan card, BPL card, driving license, education certificates etc. The initiative is implemented to create ‘digital empowerment’ among the masses. The digital storage system acts as a helping hand in providing data to government agencies, departments, and applying for different jobs. The numerous physical documents can be a huge administrative burden. The DigiLocker system helps in reducing the burden both for the department and the citizen. Another major advantage of this system is that one can e-sign the documents and have a monopoly over 10 MB personal space which might be increased to 1 GB if need be. Since the data will be a part of the personal account, it ensures privacy. Moreover, for those who do not have a Unique Identification Number, e-Aadhaar can be downloaded from the DigiLocker portal. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Soil Health Card is an initiative intended to provide valuable data, benefiting the national food security. It looks similar schemes are required for other national natural resources as well, such as monitoring (underground and surface) water availability, usage, and its conservation in India, rainfall harvesting activities and potential, land and its (current and possible) usage across the country, forest areas monitoring, wildlife data, air quality data from cities, wind farming potential, and so on.
On the human development index front, monitoring of diet and health data (including disease spread and control, vaccinations, etc), levels and adequacy of nutrition intakes in society, education (availability and usage), transport (needs, trends, and consumption), electricity (generation, distribution, shortages, losses, etc), provide scope for exploiting big data applications for big gains. The Central and State Governments stand to gain a lot by joint planning, collection, sharing, and analysis of Big Data to develop appropriate talent development plans for future, planned farming to avoid over and under production in a season leading to excess or shortage, and similar other schemes. The Government of India is on a mission to develop 109 cities across the country as citizen-friendly and sustainable. The Union Ministry of Urban Development is responsible for implementing the mission in collaboration with the state governments of the respective cities. The vision is to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local area development and harnessing technology that leads to smart outcomes and smart solutions so that the cities capitalise on information and data to transform operations and the mechanism of service delivery. “Indus Net Technology was associated with ‘New Town Rajarhat’ and created the most awaited Indian first smart city mobile application (New Town Smart City Application) and brought New Town Rajarhat into digital media with mass level audience reach with the help of Digital Marketing,” said Amit Singha, Head of eGovernance division, Indus Net Technologies. It looks Big Data and analytics will play a predominant role in such a transformation by way of cloud, mobile technology and other social technologies that gather data for the purpose of ascertaining and accordingly, addressing concerns of people and increase the level of their engagement to culminate these plans successfully.