Python Hands-on Tutorial
Analysing the collection of high impact datasets cataloged on the Open Government Data (OGD) Platform of India in Python
This data story is written in collaboration with Sai Krishna Dammalapati.
It is the year 1892 in which Data Democracy started to take its roots in India. Before this year neither people nor people’s representatives had much access to the government information. Even if the information was known, they were just passive recipients of the information and could not make governments answerable using that information. It was in 1892, however, that the members of the Indian legislature got rights to ask questions on the budget to the British executive. That marks the beginning of data democracy in India, and it has been deepening in multiple waves.
In the first wave, the legislature and other bulwarks of democracy were empowered with information. Even today, the kind of information a Member of Parliament (MP) receives about the country is unparalleled — making them one of the crucial agents in making the executive accountable. Similarly, courts, constitutional bodies like Election Commission etc., were empowered in this wave.
In the second wave, data democracy touched civil society. This was primarily enabled by legal revolutions like the Right to Information (RTI) Act that empowered people to demand data from the government. Every other citizen could become a potential whistleblower and make governments answerable.
However, there are a few gaps in building a true data democracy. In its spirit, a data democracy has few gatekeepers of data and believes in free flow of information. Despite provisions in the RTI Act that encouraged the government to suo moto disclose data, such efforts were limited both due to want of democratic intent and technical capabilities. While the democratic intent will be an outcome of politics, India is now not lacking technical capabilities to usher in the third wave of data democracy — through Open Government Data platforms (OGD)
OGD platforms, which encourage pro-active release of data by the government, is a key pillar in Digital India, a flagship program of the Government of India that aims…