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India to Share Non-Personal Data with Start-ups for Better Policies

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The Minister of State (MoS) for the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, recently stated that the government would share anonymised data with Indian start-ups and researchers to innovate systems and create better policy solutions.

According to the government’s AI portal, the data sets have been collected and harmonised under the National Data Governance Framework. Chandrasekhar told reporters that it would be a far-reaching policy that would harmonise all undefended silos of data, data management, and data processing so that standards and rules will form an administrative part of the policy and its first pillar. The rules will cover how to store, manage access, control, and secure data. The policy has been sent to the cabinet of ministers for its final approval.

A draft for the National Data Governance Framework policy was released in May this year. It aims to ensure that non-personal data and anonymised data from both government and private entities are safely accessible by the research and innovation eco-system. It strives to provide an institutional framework for data, datasets, and metadata standards, guidelines, and protocols for the sharing of non-personal data sets while ensuring privacy and security.

Currently, India has no policy to govern anonymised or non-personal data. A committee was set up to review the matter under an industry expert and the report was submitted last year. Chandrasekhar explained that the standards will be set by the India Data Management Office (IDMO), and the framework policy is working on ways to store and share the data.

The draft policy, circulated earlier this year, elaborated on the overall objective of the new framework. The draft is the first step in catalysing the era of digital government, providing greater scope for better, more informed decision-making while adhering to the highest data protection standards and commitment to the principles of data privacy, the government said.

A core component of the data governance framework was forming IDMO under the IT ministry. Chandrasekhar stressed that the anonymised data sets would be offered as part of the India data sets programme for the AI ecosystem. Acting as an enabler for the digital economy.

The rise of data and digital technologies is rapidly transforming economies and societies, with significant implications for governments’ daily operations. The government has said it believes in transparent and accessible public systems that rely on technology-based infrastructure and data-driven decision-making.

Earlier this year, the country’s policy commission, the National Institution of Transforming India (NITI Aayog), launched the National Data and Analytics Platform (NDAP). It aimed 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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