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Policy Study on Using Data for Better Policy Formulaion and Evidence-Based Decision-Making – Rajasthan Case Study

Accountability Initiative Staff

Welfare governance in sectors such as education, health and Panchayati Raj involve a comprehensive exercise of collecting and using data in innovative ways. The use of data can enable making decisions based on evidence (what is referred to as ‘evidence-based decision making’) rather than biases and assumptions. For this, an effective data governance framework is required that can enable setting standards for collecting data, sharing data across departments and encouraging a data-based comprehension of policy challenges.

In 2023, the Accountability Initiative was commissioned by the Chief Minister’s Rajasthan Economic Transformation Advisory Council
(CMRETAC) to undertake a study to recommend suggestions on how to strengthen data systems and enable the state for more effective evidence-based decision-making.

In this report, we assess three sectors of education, health and Panchayati Raj to unpack how data is collected, its usability, use cases of data and how data can feed into policy improvement. On conducting in-depth interviews and focused group discussions with functionaries across all tiers of governance in these three departments, we identified that each sector is a different stage of adoption of evidence-based decision making. For example, the education sector uses a unified Shala Darpan portal for school management and generation of report cards while health uses over – applications for similar management practices. Both sectors along
with Panchayati Raj required stronger capacities at the frontline to collect and use the data. Publication of anonymised data in the public domain (as open data) remains limited. Large governing principles such as a clear identification of what data is required at which stage in the policy cycle was missing.

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