Not Data Theft, it is Data Transparency: The CORE Dashboard example says it all

Hailed by the World Economic Forum as a game-changing tool in e-Governance and in using technology for efficiency and transparency, the AP Chief Minister’s CORE Dashboard has won laurels from across the world. According to the government, any citizen can visit the CORE dashboard portal from his or her computer or phone, to assess the efforts of the Government.

The CORE Dashboard has helped the state government to monitor category-wise key performance indicators of various departments/schemes in real time, also known as Real-time Governance (RTG). Public also can check key performance indicators of various departments, schemes, initiatives, programmes, etc. Additionally, Government have been able to save crores of money under Public Distribution System, save energy and plug loopholes by eliminating middlemen in implementing welfare programmes.

Example 1: If A is a widow and she is a beneficiary of NTR Bharosa pension. The government has promised to provide pensions before 10th of every month. In this case, how does RTG help? Now, the Chief Minister/personnel at RTG will know when A gets her pension and on what day or time.

How does this help the Government? If the pension is credited after 10th, the local official is held accountable for the delay and the reason for delay is sought. This way, it increases accountability in government. How does it benefit a common man? It helps A get pension on time so that she doesn’t postpone her work/buying needs, etc.

Example 2: The RTG Centre is connected to the Command and Control Room of the State which keeps a strict eye on public safety. So, how is this helping? It is helping the police to keep track of any violations/crime and track them down immediately. In the long-run, this will help in reducing crime rates and putting criminals behind bars.

Example 3: The RTG also has a wing which helps get information from all the 13 districts on local data pertaining to soil health. So, how does this help? Depending on the data obtained from the field in every village/mandal/district, the soil fertility is measured. Now, depending on that, farmers are advised/suggested to use the right amount of water to irrigate their fields, the right fertilisers for their crop, etc. This way, instead of overdosing his crop with more fertiliser, a farmer can use his resources and time optimally.

The Real-time Governance Centre also is connected to the “People First (1100)” call centre. Therefore, once issues are reported by citizens at the Call Centre, they’re entered into the database of the government and the start/end response time is calculated. This way, the government is also able to understand how various issues are solved and the time-taken to do it. How does this help? In reducing the grievance redressal time and faster resolution of issues for citizens.

Example 4: If there are more chain-snatching cases reported from one particular area, the reason for this is tracked. How? All street lights in AP are geo-tagged and are LEDs. So, first, personnel will check if there are enough street lights in the area or if have they been non-functional. If yes, then they’d replace it immediately. This way, we could even bring down crimes. These are small but effective steps in governance.

In other words, data is the treasury of any government. This means that the RTGS is handling enormous data for good governance and effective delivery of public services. “Every government possesses data on its people foe welfare schemes and timely delivery. How would a person get pension if his/her bank account details are not with the government? Same is the case with gas subsidy or I-T returns or farmers’ input subsidy from government or compensation. How can anyone blindly state without proofs that the government is misusing data?,” asked an economist who did not wish to be named. 

With Telangana government getting involved in accusing the Telugu Desam Party in AP of “data theft” along with YSR Congress Party, many citizens in AP have pointed out that the details of beneficiaries also earlier existed on CORE Dashboard. 

Many TDP leaders and supporters on social media have questioned the YSRCP and TRS about why they chose to target AP government for this when it has been a transparent process from the beginning. “Why isn’t YSRCP focussing on CORE Dashboard now? Are they scared that they will be proved wrong because it is a governance tool for transparency? Because that is not data theft, it is the beneficiaries details which the government needs to have for efficient administation. They are systemically crumbling all the strengths of AP government which are built for transparency and efficient working government employees,” explained a TDP sympathiser. 

“People in AP know that their details are with the government. It has been a transparent data collection process. Even the CM CORE Dashboard has this. It is in fact a technological genius that any common person can see if pensions are given to a certain beneficiary,” said a social media supporter. Another one added saying: “TRS may have got details of Telangana people privately and deleted them. But, in AP, the data that the government has, is clearly for everyone to see. It is not some data theft like everyone is accusing TDP. We call it transparency here,” said another follower. 

One of the TDP leaders commented that “all over the world, people are seeing this as data transparency and praising the CORE Dashboard as it has been done for the first time. It is a revolutionary tool in Governance. But, in our own homeland, they are looking at this as ‘data theft’. What a sad state of affairs that everything is politicised,” he rued. 

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