Home >News >India >Prime Minister pitches for evidence-backed policymaking by 2022

NEW DELHI : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asked the government’s statutory auditor, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), to assist the Centre in framing more effective policies with insights from analysing big data.

“By 2022, evidence-based policy making should be made part of governance," Modi said.

Addressing a conference of state accountants general in New Delhi, PM Modi said the government was working on integrating and analysing the massive amounts of data generated by various arms of the government, which will provide insights into making better and more fruitful policies.

Abhijit Banerjee, who won the Nobel Prize for economics this year, is an ardent advocate of evidence-based public policies. Banerjee conducts randomized controlled trials, a practice widely used in drug discovery, wherein results of an experimental drug is compared with that of a placebo, to test the effectiveness of various policies and welfare measures.

Modi said that government arms not sharing data with one another leaves gaps in accountability, which needs to be bridged. He told the accountant generals that insights from auditors’ big data analysis will help in policymaking. “CAG can give institutional solutions. You should think not only like an auditor, but also as a think tank," the Prime Minister said, adding that outcomes and governance quality were closely related.

“Bad governance leads to poor outcomes. If governance is good, outcomes will be good in the natural course," Modi said. The PM also sought to leverage accountant generals’ skills to find solutions to governance problems faced by various organizations.

Modi also told the gathering to identify problems faced by various organizations it audits, for which technology solutions could be found by holding “hackathons" across the country. It was not necessary for auditors to pick holes all the time, said the Prime Minister.

Once institutions address their challenges, life becomes easier for a lot of people and governance gets a lot better, he said, adding that he had found technological solutions to about 400 problems faced by various government arms through hackathons. Modi said the role of audit and assurance in a technology-driven world has become important.

Modi’s suggestions follow the massive criticism over the disruptions caused by policy decisions such as demonetization and a faulty roll-out of the goods and services tax, or GST.

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