Time is now ripe for an integrated platform to monitor the Indian economy with data-driven analytics

Time is now ripe for an integrated platform to monitor the Indian economy with data-driven analytics

The Indian economy has largely recovered from the pandemic and is now gliding on robust growth rates to achieving a $5 trillion economy by 2025-26 and becoming a "Viksit Bharat" by 2047. The recent economic survey has also pointed out the increase in capital spending, private consumption, and creation of Digital Public Infrastructure as growth levers for propelling the country ahead. Given our economic goals, leveraging technology is the need of the hour for monitoring and analyzing the performance of critical sectors of the economy with clear actionable insights drawn to the attention of the policy makers.

In order to effectively analyze the critical sectors of Indian economy, it is imperative to harness the vast amount of data collected by the Central and State governments, various ministries, as well as other external sources. This data can provide critical insights into the driving factors and key indicators that shape the economy, enabling policy makers to develop impactful schemes and initiatives.

However, despite the abundance of data, it is spread across various ministries and departments, impeding its boundless potential of discovery, interoperability and cross-sectoral analytics. The absence of a centralized and intuitive system for visualization and data analysis impedes the extraction of meaningful insights. As a result, policymakers, researchers and users face significant challenges in retrieving valuable information from the available data.

To address this pressing issue, there is a crucial need to establish a comprehensive and robust solution that transforms the data published by various government departments and ministries into actionable intelligence. By employing visualization techniques and advanced analytics, we can unlock the potential of the data and empower decision makers with real-time, data-driven insights.

In this regard, Government of India has taken various initiatives like the National Data Analytics Platform developed by NITI Aayog to make published government data accessible, interoperable, interactive and available on a user-friendly platform. MoSPI has also developed a dashboard for monitoring the key performance Indicators of the economy such as GDP, IIP, CPI & MPLADS. API Setu developed by Meity has also published 3530 APIs which can easily be integrated with e-governance applications and platforms. The Champions of Change (COC) Dashboard, developed by NITI Aayog under the Aspirational Districts Program (ADP) monitors and track key development indicators across 5 sectors – Education, Health & Nutrition, Infrastructure, Agri & Water resources, and Financial Inclusion on a monthly basis.

Need for integrated data analytical platform

Building on the above initiatives, there is a now a need to integrate these platforms and create an analytical layer on top of NDAP, which will serve as a powerful tool for comprehensive monitoring of various sectors of the Indian Economy. There could be two use-cases although it may not be exhaustive.

(i) The Economic Survey 2022-23 has recently released the tables and statistical appendix of various sectors of the economy in a CSV format. These tables are collected manually from various ministries and published after almost a year. A layer on Economic Survey can be added on NDAP housed within the economic division, Ministry of Finance (MoF). This can be achieved by establishing a direct connection (via APIs) between the NDAP platform and the source ministry responsible for releasing the data which would allow to receive real-time updates, ensuring accurate and up-to-date information at all. This data can then be used for the monthly economic report released by MoF to create interactive visualizations for monitoring, dissemination and publication. Users can also explore the data at different levels of granularity, allowing for deep dives into specific regions, sectors, or time periods. A Proof of Concept (PoC) developed by NITI Aayog can be accessed at Click Here

(ii) The State Master Database is another analytical layer that can be added on NDAP which can provide a quick overview of Central sector/ Centrally sponsored schemes and socio-economic scenarios along with sectoral analysis at the State/District level. The data can be pulled from NDAP, MOSPI and API Setu via APIs or from various ministries and platforms. A proof of concept (PoC) developed by NITI Aayog is shown below.

On top of these layers, Large Language Models can be integrated to provide insights and analysis using a prompt. This will enable and ease policymakers, economists and researchers to make data driven decision making. A notable international example in this endeavor is the Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) maintained by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis which acts as an extensive repository for a diverse range of economic and financial data from various sources, including government agencies, international organizations, and private sector sources for the United States of America (USA) and has emerged as an indispensable resource utilized by economists, researchers, policymakers, and analysts to access, analyze, and visualize economic data. It also has an interactive dashboard for tracking their economy. Building such layers on NDAP would enable India to leverage the advantages of a data-centric governance system, utilizing information to drive effective decision-making and ..

This real-time monitoring of the Indian economy also aligns with the 2024 Vision statement of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), which aims to "Strengthen India's national statistical system to provide real-time inputs for policy and stronger dissemination practices for public. MeitY’s draft national data governance framework policy also provides a methodology to create unified, consistent, and structured data sources.

API Setu policy of the Government of India (GOI) also aims to drive digital transformation by promoting the adoption of APIs for data sharing between various government services and platforms. Hence, by adopting this approach in the proposed analytical layers, it will enhance governance, foster accountability, and contribute to the overall development and growth of the Indian economy enabling agile decision-making, as users can monitor economic trends and respond promptly to changing market conditions or policy developments at the click of a button.

This article was originally published in Economic Times

Anna Roy, Liankhankhup Guite and Pranjali Sharma