Economic Survey moots central welfare database of citizens

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  1. According to the Economic Survey,the government can improve its delivery of public goods and services by creating a central welfare database of citizens by merging various existing databases.
  2. The survey said that the government can collect four kinds of data namely (a)administrative data (b)survey data (c)transactions data and (d) institutional data
  3. The administrative data can consist of birth, death, pensions, tax and marriage records.The survey data consists of census data and National Sample Survey data.
  4. On the other hand,transactions data should consists of datasets from e-NAM (National Agriculture Market) and United Payments Interface. Institutional data should consist of data from public schools and hospitals.
  5. The government could utilise the information embedded in these distinct datasets to enhance (a)ease of living for citizens (b)improve targeting in welfare schemes (c)integrate fragmented markets and (d)bring greater accountability in public services.
  6. The survey also suggests critical rules that ensure strong privacy framework so that data is not tampered with and citizens still have a choice to opt out of some choices.
  7. First,while any ministry should be able to view the complete database, a given ministry can manipulate only those data fields for which it is responsible.Second,updating of data should happen in real time and in such a way that one ministry’s engagement with the database does not affect other ministries access.
  8. The survey has also recommended granting access to select database to private sector for a fee given that stringent technological mechanisms exist to safeguard data privacy.