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India Launches National Data and Analytics Platform

Image credit: ndap.niti.gov.in

The country’s policy commission, the National Institution of Transforming India (NITI Aayog) recently launched the National Data and Analytics Platform (NDAP). The platform aims to democratise access to public government data by making information accessible, interoperable, interactive, and available on a user-friendly platform. According to a press release, 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.

The official public launch follows a beta release of the platform in August 2021 that provided access to a limited number of users for testing and feedback. 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 and do cross-sectoral analysis. The portal developers informed that they would continue to add and update features and data on the platform.

The platform has datasets from sectors including agriculture, power and natural resources, transport, housing, finance, health, tourism, science and technology, communications, and industries. An official from NITI Aayog noted that one of the key features of NDAP is that it makes key foundational datasets interoperable with each other, enabling easy cross-sectoral analysis. The rise of data and digital technologies are rapidly transforming economies and societies, with enormous implications for governments’ daily operations. NDAP is a critical milestone, which aims to aid India’s progress by promoting data-driven decision-making. NDAP will bolster the government’s efforts to strengthen the data ecosystem.

NITI Aayog is the government’s premier think tank and provides directional and policy inputs. Apart from designing strategic and long-term policies and programmes for the government, NITI Aayog also provides relevant technical advice to the centre, states, and union territories.

Over the years, the deployment of digital technologies and data analytics has increased the efficiency and transparency of government operations. In March, an Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT-Kanpur)-incubated start-up announced it is developing an AI-powered big data search engine to aid policing. It aims to improve investigation, predictive policing, crime mapping, and analysis. The search engine will be able to leverage data and predictive analytics AI by building data banks.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, a massive amount of crime data is available to the government in various forms. The system will use data available in case files, first information reports (FIRs), charge sheets, seizure/conviction/arrest memos, criminals’ data, crime (case/incident) data, and data from records rooms. The idea is to build a service where all this information and data from the banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) sector will be available on one platform for law enforcement agencies.

The system will analyse data using regression models, data mining, and AI. It will also be able to provide insights into crime patterns that are unique to a given region. An official explained that police force departments in India frequently face health and social challenges as a result of being overworked. This calls for better resource allocation, and any technology or policing system that allows for improved resource allocation is highly desirable.

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