It’s not new. Everyone talks of data while deliberating about or delivering discourses on development. A section of people are paranoid about smart cities, smart governance, and smart bla bla bla… Why? Because they believe in the labyrinth of data that can solve every problem of life, of society, and if you permit an unbridled imagination, of the entire humanity – though they may not know how.
Binary information is the king today. It’s binary as it is stored in that way – information in binary form if correctly said. It rules the behaviour of modern human, augments human knowledge, and assists human endeavour in seeking solutions to problems and indulging quest. It pushes the ability of our society to achieve better health care, education, real estate management, banking, etc. The change and the possibility of change are just enormous.
The only hurdle that lies in the way of reaching this green pasture is to treat the process of implementation as a project with well-defined scope, clear timeline for each tangible progress, and above all, a commitment to spend. But in reality, it’s opposite. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the United Nations that were set for the year 2015 are yet to materialise even after good fifteen years. The reasons of setback can be ascribed to the same above factors – our inability to realise our common dream. Ah, I should have called it ‘action plan’. Though nobody should deny the existence of seven billion dreams on this little planet of ours, everybody would expect to have at least one concrete action plan on ground.
The goals in MDGs were primarily driven towards achieving universal primary education, and halting the spread of HIV/AIDS apart from eradicating extreme poverty across the globe. It is horrifying to witness an act of raising own skeletons like a spring to seek a loaf of bread, at least in today’s world – with wasteful use of food grains, swarming global culinary outlets, and swelling gastronomical aspirations of affluent population. This negates the common charter of humanity to build a better world for all of us.
The goal was to eliminate any situation of extreme poverty where numerous human beings fail to receive basic assistance to live to see the next day and with their eyes sleeping down the cavity with despair and dereliction. And the plan to achieve such goals requires a significant use of Information Technology. In other words, it’s about using data for development.
After one and a half decade, the world is going to meet in September to pronounce next set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to be achieved by 2030. Again the thought leaders, economists, political representatives, technocrats, and people from different fields and from different countries will brainstorm how to use data as a platform for sustainable development.
But then, it’s about how to implement those goals in the form of realistic action plans so that benefits would trickle down to towns, countrysides, and to all corners. And, it depends entirely on the same set of factors that have hindered the achievement of earlier goals. While data enthuse sustainable development, eventuation depends on implementation.