July 12, 2015
Abstract: Big data can be leveraged to improve the design of anti-poverty and other public programmes by enabling more precise and dynamic targeting. Two recent developments may support such an endeavour, namely:
- There has been a trend towards a larger transfer of resources from the national revenue pool to states and away from the centrally sponsored schemes. The trend towards greater devolution to states reflects a general disenchantment with centralisation of expenditure decisions. There is no guarantee that anti-poverty measures will be more targeted as a result, but the new approach and a framework that is likely to increase its chances of success are worth attempting; and
- The information in the 2011 Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) is richer than previous sample surveys as it covers not only consumption patterns and sources of livelihood, but also asset ownership patterns of households. Devolution and linking SECC to other databases (Aadhar for example) can provide more effective delivery and monitoring of welfare programmes.
Keywords: public policy; welfare; well-being; and poverty; data methodology