Big data analytics accounted for around 29,000 jobs in India in 2014, of which 5000 jobs were focussed on the domestic market, says NASSCOM. Another statistic by the industry body states that, the domestic Big data analytics market stood at $163 million in 2014 and is expected to grow to $375 million by 2018. These trends clearly indicates that Indian companies are going to be a significant contributor to the Big data revolution in the country.
What is more interesting to know is that a major role in this revolution will be played by the Indian government. In India, the “demand for data scientists in government agencies is on par with the demands in the private sector,” said Noshin Kagalwalla, Country Manager for SAS India.
With the launch of the flagship Digital India campaign and the Smart cities project, the Modi Government has laid the foundation of India’s future on Big Data Analytics. Considering the change, Indian government is keen on adopting and leveraging data analytics to take smart decisions.
It is indeed intriguing to see that many Government agencies have already started harnessing the power of Big data for the betterment of human lives. Some of the fields where Big data has already made its presence felt in Indian public sector are:
• Tax collection:
Tax evasion is one of the biggest menace in India and not only the government but also the honest citizens stand to lose from this. The Income Tax Department has signed a contract with L & T Infotech Ltd for implementation of Project Insight. The project is based on an integrated platform that will use data mining, big data and analytics to identify tax evaders using social media platforms and Permanent Account Numbers (PAN) in a non-intrusive way, rather than the traditional way of conducting random income tax raids.
Due to population explosion, there is increased need for food security. The Indian Government has realised that big data can analyse varieties of seeds across numerous fields, soil types, and climates. Not only this, data analytics can also help in farm equipment selection, finding the prevailing price points for the agriculture produce and determine the correct price points. The government departments are already teaming up with private players and educating its own researchers for better implementation of the technology for agriculture.
• Water Management:
Public utility companies are finally aggregating data across the entire water cycle right from production to extraction, final use (irrigation, drinking water, sanitation or industrial use) and finally also integrated water resource management and protection. Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) uses data to address the critical issue of equitable drinking water distribution. Kerala is another such state making use of data analytics for better water management and distribution.
Healthcare Analytics can be useful to track and monitor health, track disease patterns, and launch proper healthcare facilities in needy areas, manage free medicines, etc. The Aarogyasri Health Care Trust (health insurance schemes to Below Poverty Line families), developed by the Telengana Government, is a classic example of this. The government has collaborated with SAS to leverage the claims using financial and clinical data. This has also helped to prevent fraud, identify disease trends and predict funds needed.
For better efficiency, Indian Railways is set to equip itself with Drones, Wi-Fi and Data Analytics. To push Digital India initiative, the Indian Railway has launched an application of Track Management System (TMS). A dedicated, cross functional team called Special Unit for Transportation Research and Analytics (SUTRA) would also be set up for carrying out detailed analytics for optimisation in investment decisions and operations.
Other Government initiatives in Data analytics
The current Government has been taking several other steps to encourage Digital India.
o The Digital Locker initiative aims at developing a National Depository which will contain digitally verified copies of documents of citizens, such as Birth certificates, Leaving Certificates, Marriage Certificates, PAN Card, etc.
o Twitter Samwad: As the name suggests, the government has teamed up with Twitter so that citizens get real-time news feeds of decisions and announcements made by the government. Through this, it is possible for the government to connect over a large audience.
Shortage of data scientists is the biggest challenge faced
The Government plans to scale up the offerings of many more public utility services through data analytics. However, one of the biggest challenges in implementing these futuristic projects is the dearth of talented data scientists in India. According to a leading staffing solutions company, India will face a demand-supply gap of 2 lakh data analytics professionals by 2020. This is a huge opportunity and if the demand is met, India will witness a sea change in the way utility services or banking/taxation operates in the country. Skilled data scientists with detailed knowledge of programming, statistics, mathematics and advanced analytics have the power to reconstruct the future of India. As Big data is about to get bigger in the coming years, this is the perfect time to get certified in Data Science and be chased by private and Government agencies alike.