According to new directives by PM Shehbaz Sharif, a digital flood dashboard is to be established to promote transparency in relief efforts. The availability of such data to the public is bound to increase faith in public spending schemes, and serve as a way through which the government can prove the fulfilment of responsibility. Accordingly, the citizens will also have an avenue through which they can hold the state accountable when it comes to public spending. This is a good step forward that can also be applied to other development spheres, provided the government can overcome hurdles like the authenticity and credibility of data.

The digital flood dashboard will ensure that data about relief schemes and distribution campaigns are made available to the public online. The aim is to include information about global, federal and provincial developments for a more comprehensive understanding of where we rank when it comes to the provision of welfare and how effectively it reaches those in need. This would mean that frequent assessments would have to be carried out, along with on-ground investigations that determine whether relief is just an ideal that is being promoted or if it materialises.

The reason for making such information available to the public is to keep public spending schemes transparent. The public can assess the impact that relief measures are having an impact and can respond accordingly. This practical benefit is also supported by a renewed faith in the government, provided that enough public spending projects are being carried out adequately. It shows the people that the taxes they pay, donations they give and contributions they make towards developmental efforts are used productively. Applying such a transparent policy in other realms may also bode well for the government—and those to follow—especially considering the trust deficit that exists between the masses and the state in Pakistan.

For now, there has been far too much damage caused by the floods to give out concrete numbers when it comes to damages, the amount of aid that will be needed and how the government will revive lost areas. The World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the UN are actively contributing toward data collection but authentication and accuracy must be proven when estimates become final.