We are probably among those few developing countries that are pegged to be next superpowers but who still do not have any idea of their unemployment rates, birthrates, income disparities and actual poverty counts. This is quite clear just from our government data. Imagine; various commissions of the same government come out with separate reports on poverty that have different counts! If that was surprising, then consider the unemployment rate shown by different government agencies – the figures vary so widely that they seem to be of different nations than of one. Our NSSO surveys go steps ahead. Firstly, the data takes inordinately long, many quarters, to compile, assemble and analyse; secondly, the credibility and accuracy is still always under doubt. And finally, our census count, which is the worst of all. While most countries are undertaking their census exercises every year in order to comprehend the real-time social and economic situation of their respective countries, our census exercise takes place once in a decade!

The importance of such data in this age of information needs no mention. No nation today can come out with holistic and feasible developmental policies without taking into consideration the real picture of the economy and the society. Neither can a government infer the effectiveness of its policies without reading the right data. Imagine the consequence of those policies that our policy makers draft based on dated reports or even non-available data. The crying example is our reservation policy that is based on the Sachar Committee Report, which is almost six years old! And in these six years, the country’s demographic has seen major movements. Similarly, NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act), SSA (Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan) and several other poverty alleviation programs are framed on reports based on census data that are decades old and quite obsolete!

Against this gloomy state of social indices and their non-scientific projections, the incumbent government in 2009 announced its plans to implement the Unique Identification Number (UID) project across India under the Unique Identification Authority of India (or UIDAI). The government named this project Aadhaar, a project with an objective of providing a unique identification number to all its citizens, which will further allow the agency to maintain all data and biometric information at a single centralized server.  Read More....

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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