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Real-time Data Key To Fighting COVID-19: Amitabh Kant

'Data on a real-time basis is very critical. We have been working for last year-and-half and our experience is that real time data is really the key.

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Amid rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant on Monday said real-time data would be key in fighting coronavirus, as it helps in contact tracing which is essential for preventing further spread of the disease.

Speaking at India Policy Forum 2020, organised by NCAER, Kant said government should actively put data in public domain as debate and discussions would help in taking right policy decisions.

'Data on a real-time basis is very critical. We have been working for last year-and-half and our experience is that real time data is really the key.

'In corona times this becomes even more important...My belief is that it will be very difficult to handle COVID-19 without huge amounts of increased testing and without contact tracing,' he said.

The Aarogya Setu app developed in Niti Aayog with participation of private sector is being used to detect COVID-19 hotspots and device strategy across the country, he added.

He said the app was conceptualised and developed with private sector, but the basic intention throughout was use of data science and contact tracing in a big way.

He said a lot of data is also being used in managing reopening of the economy.

Stressing that data would also be critical in the post-pandemic world, Kant said various public-private partnership (PPP) data initiatives are being undertaken.

He also informed that Niti Aayog is working on a National Data and Analytics Platform which will democratise data across the government.

Stating that government should actively put out data before the public and academics, Kant said 'that is the only way we will be able to make right policy decisions'.

Later, delivering the second T N Srinivasan Memorial Lecture, Pronab Sen, Program Director, International Growth Centre (IGC) India, suggested that the government should take decisions with speed to deal with the crisis of unprecedented nature as 'wait and watch could be a bad strategy.' At the moment, the government could rely on models based on available data and approximations, he said, adding that 'corrections can be done later.' Given the magnitude of the current crisis, he said, it would not be possible to estimate consumption and investment patterns in the days to come.

(PTI)


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