Data & Public Policy

Session Report

A Four-Week Immersive Online Introductory Certificate Training Course and  An Online Spring School Program on Fundamentals of PUBLIC POLICY were conducted by IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi. An informative and interactive panel discussion on  Data and public Policy was presided by Dr Soumyadip Chattopadhyay, Associate Professor, Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan; Visiting Senior Fellow, IMPRI.

Data Revolution

To set the tone of the discussion he began with the challenges associated with data evolution as with the increase in online activities large section of the population is leaving digital footprints as a result of which numerous inauthentic and unreliable data are being circulated in the economy and for accessing the authentic data various data tools and policies are needed. The data revolution has taken place in the handset of the “H-K-M-B-T” series that is in the range of hundreds, thousands, millions, billions, and trillions.

In order to understand the nature of the data 5 V’s of data are necessary to understand they are Volume, Variety, Value, Velocity, and Veracity to produce quality data as well judged on the attributes of accuracy, completeness, timeliness, consistency, and uniqueness.

Impact of Data on Public Policy-

Public policy basically refers to the set of actions that affect the solutions to a policy problem and the capacity to create public value. Several characteristics associated with public policy are that they have the capacity to solve individual problems, along with improving the quality of data at the macro level. Public Policy has several implications as well such as it changes the nature of service over a period of time by involving real beneficiaries of the policies and data can act as fuel to increase policy efficiency.

Cost Associated with Data-

(i) Decreasing Marginal Returns-Over the period of time there has been a decreasing cost of data depending upon numerous factors such as falling prices of data storage, increasing skills, and resources to process quality data, including increasing efficiency of data gathering, and nearly costless ways to disseminate data.

(ii) Increasing Marginal Benefits- Quality data has increased its value because of increasing trends in evidence-based policy, an increase in accountability in public services, better targeting of welfare programs, and product innovation.

Later he threw some light on economies of scale as well as scope of data.

Maintenance of Data

The government of India maintains several types of data such as

(i) Administrative data- maintaining the birth and death records, pension records, tax records, marriage records, etc.

(ii) Survey Data- This includes data related to census data, National Sample Survey Data, etc.

(iii) Transactions Data- regarding e-national Agricultural Marketing data, United Payments Interface data, etc.

(iv) Institutional Data- regarding public school data on pupils and public hospital data on patients, etc.

Data collected is widely dispersed and decentralized, covers large masses, and is nonexcludable.


He drew attention to the need for implementing an integrated system of data by working on the nitty-grit of collecting, storing, processing, and disseminating data effectively and efficiently by adopting various methods and taking the assistance of better policy tools and technology.

Lastly, he described the 3 I Concept for People to Policy that works on the grounds of an Integrated database, along with citizen-centric Insights and Identification and monitoring of the impact created by those policies. 

Prof Mukul Asher shared his final remarks on the session’s key takeaways, emphasizing the importance of addressing the necessity to adopt authentic data sets and sources for effective policy implementation at the local, state, and national levels. Fiza Mahajan, extended a formal vote of thanks, expressing gratitude to the speaker, chairperson, and the engaged audience for their active participation.

In this insightful session, participants gained valuable insights into the complex dynamics of conflict and its relevance to public policy in practical life.

Acknowledgement: Bhanvi is a Visting Researcher at IMPRI.

Teaser Youtube Video of Fundamentals in Public Policy Programme:

Read more session reports on web and policy learning events conducted by IMPRI:

Environment & Public Policy.

Early Careers in​ Public Policy.