Producing data-on-demand for the Government of India

Client: Multiple (NITI Aayog, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), other government departments)
Learning partnership
Dates of service:
August 2017 - Present
IDinsight service:
Primary Data collection
IDinsight contacts:
Andrew Fraker, Rohan Parakh
Learn more about: AMAL Unit
Lear more about the AMAL Unit’s initiatives:
Agriculture | Capacity Building | Financial Inclusion | Health & Nutrition | Measurement | Sanitation

The Problem

For evidence-based decision making by governments and non-profits, household- and beneficiary-level data is critical. However, such data collection is often slow and expensive. Major surveys in India can take a year or more to implement, and the wait for data can be longer than 4 years. Nationally-representative surveys may cost upwards of INR 7 crore to conduct; huge parts of budgets are spent working on-site, reviewing data centrally, and checking-in.

IDinsight began a 2-year learning partnership with NITI Aayog, the think tank/policy generation arm of the central government, funded by BMGF. This engagement aims to use rigorous methods to support NITI Aayog across four sectors - Agriculture, Nutrition, Financial Inclusion, and Water Sanitation Hygiene - and additional priority areas identified by the Government of India. The Data on Demand team works to produce data to monitor and improve district performance across states in India.

Evidence Needs

IDinsight Service

IDinsight has set up the “Data on Demand” infrastructure across 8 states in India to facilitate periodic primary data collection which is more accessible, faster and significantly lower-cost. This is being piloted in 27 of the country’s 100 poorest districts, which consistently lag on health, education, and economic indicators, to improve their socioeconomic outcomes.


The project is ongoing. IDinsight wrapped up its first round of data collection across these districts in June 2017.


The project is ongoing.