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India Issues New Draft Data Governance Framework

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has issued a draft National Data Governance Framework to mobilise citizen non-personal data for use by public and private entities in a bid to improve services.

The draft policy proposes launching a non-personal data-based India datasets programme. It also addresses the methods and rules to ensure that non-personal and anonymised data from both the government and private entities are safely accessible by the research and innovation ecosystem.

The Minister of State (MoS) for Electronics and Information Technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, stated that the National Data Governance Framework will appeal to artificial intelligence (AI) startups, AI research entities, and government departments. He called it an important piece of policy framework that will help the country achieve its target to be a US$1 trillion digital economy. The policy will apply to all government departments and entities. Its rules and standards will be applicable to all data collected and managed by any government entity.

The framework will also accelerate the digitisation of government operations. Currently, digital government data is stored, managed, and accessed in differing and unpredictable ways across different government entities, weakening the efficacy of data-driven governance and preventing an innovative and seamless ecosystem of data science, analytics, and AI. According to the draft, the power of data must be harnessed for more effective digital governance and innovation.

State governments will be encouraged to adopt the provisions of the policy and rules, standards, and protocols where appropriate. The framework also proposes establishing an India Data Management Office (IDMO) under MeitY’s Digital India Corporation, which will develop rules and guidelines. It will be responsible for farming, managing, and periodically reviewing and revising the policy. The draft published on MeitY’s website is open to comments by stakeholders. The last date to submit comments is 11 June.

The rise of data and digital technologies are rapidly transforming economies and societies, with significant implications for governments’ daily operations. The Indian government has said it believes in transparent and accessible public systems that rely on technology-based infrastructure and data-driven decision-making. Recently, the country’s policy commission, the National Institution of Transforming India (NITI Aayog), launched the National Data and Analytics Platform (NDAP). It aims to democratise access to public government data by making information interoperable, interactive, and available on a user-friendly platform.

As OpenGov Asia reported, NDAP hosts foundational datasets from various government agencies and provides tools for analytics and visualisation. All datasets on the platform can be downloaded and merged freely.

NDAP follows a use-case-based approach to ensure that the datasets hosted on the platform are tailored to the needs of data users from government, academia, journalism, civil society, and the private sector. All datasets are standardised to a common schema, which makes it easy to merge datasets. A key feature of NDAP is that it makes foundational datasets interoperable with each other, enabling easy cross-sectoral analysis. The platform has datasets from sectors like agriculture, power and natural resources, transport, housing, finance, health, tourism, science and technology, communications, and industries.

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