Strengthen data sharing for better decision-making

1. Introduction

As Digital India drives the digitization of various processes in government, a lot of digital data is generated. However, a lot of data is locked in silos with various departments. Over time, the stored data also becomes obsolete and redundant without any proper updating and sharing mechanism. The Government of India approved the National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy (NDSAP) in 2012 to facilitate access to shareable data and information owned by the Government of India in human readable forms and by machine.

The preamble of the NDSAP cites Principle 10 of the United Nations Declaration on Environment and Development (Rio de janeiro, June 1992). “each individual must have appropriate access to environmental information held by public authorities ……. and the opportunity to participate in the decision-making process. States facilitate and encourage public awareness and participation by widely disseminating information. “

And section 4 (2) of the Right to Information Act 2005 says “Each public authority will constantly endeavor to take measures in accordance with the requirements of clause (b) of paragraph (1) to provide so much suo motu information to the public at regular intervals through various means of communication, including the Internet, so that the public have minimal recourse to the use of this law to obtain informationAs the founding structures of this policy.

The objective of NDSAP was to ensure and facilitate access of all non-sensitive data to civil society as a whole, generated in digital or analog form, but using public funds by various ministries / departments / subordinate offices / organizations / government agencies of India. The NDSAP also aimed to leverage this data for national planning and development.

2. Classification of data

The policy defined different types of datasets to include both geospatial and spatial data generated by different government departments. Another classification is by type of access:
1. Free access
2. Registered access
3. Restricted access

3. Sharing and access technology

A state-of-the-art data warehouse and data archive with online analytical processing (OLAP) capabilities are needed, where people can easily find and download them. The main features of the system would include:
• User-friendly interface
• Dynamic / drop-down menus
• Research-based report
• Secure web access
• Bulletin board
• Complete metadata
• Parametric and dynamic report in exportable format
• Configurable visualization
• API for data exchange
• Ease of downloading for large data

4. Implementation

The Department of Science and Technology of the Government of India was responsible for formulating the NDSAP policy, while MeitY is responsible for implementing the policy in close collaboration with all central ministries and the Department of Information Technology. The platform, https://data.gov.in is established by the National Informatics Center (NIC) under the umbrella of the Department of Electronics and Informatics of the Government of India. https://data.gov.in is to have access to the metadata and the data itself from the portals of the departments / ministries.

5. Open data platform – https://data.gov.in

A Government of India Open Data Initiative Support Platform provides one-stop access to datasets, documents, services, tools and applications published by Government of India ministries, departments and organizations. The data is available in a non-proprietary format.

6. API configuration

An “open API” policy was notified in 2015 with the aim of developing an open and interoperable platform to enable transparent service delivery across government, thereby providing access to data and services and promoting participation. citizens for the benefit of the community. API Setu, also known as the Open API Platform project, was launched in March 2020 to address the following issues

• Lack of API availability
• Exclusive standards and protocols
• Lack of common data standards
• Lack of overall governance structure in all departments, common policy, control, accounting and monitoring for APIs

Over 300 major central and state government departments are already available on the Setu API platform and provide access to around 1226 APIs for various data points such as driver’s license, vehicle registration, PAN, CBSE, e-District in MeitY’s DigiLocker. The end goal is to integrate all APIs under Setu API and make them available for consumption by government departments, universities and industry. The API ecosystem will serve as the fuel to drive the transformational journey under Digital India. Systems integration via the Setu API will lay the foundation for the integration of different e-governance applications. The platform will ensure the interoperability of different systems to deliver enhanced and shared values.

API configuration

7. Recommended updates to existing policy based on best practices

Data governance is vital for the emerging digital economy. The data economy will be the foundation for the future growth of the IT industry and other industries and here are the recommendations.

• The goal of NDSAP should be changed to mandatory sharing of public data by all departments through APISetu. The system allows all departments to register data sets themselves. In case a service wishes to monetize data, comprehensive guidelines for data pricing can be set for different types of users / organizations. The guidelines should also support fair and transparent pricing. This will help bring together various datasets and improve services and decision making in government.
• In addition, for individual users, incorporating the “one time” principle for data sharing, the government can only ask citizens once for the same information. This means that if the government already knows a citizen’s registered address, education level, tax ID number, then this information should be sought from its issuers. In order for this to work, agencies began to act as the sole source of truth and as data stewards (individual citizens being the exclusive owners of their data) within government according to their mission and mandate. .
• Improve government public services and reduce bureaucratic burden in sharing and reusing data, following the Open Data resolution, which allows government databases to be open to the public to encourage technological innovation in the public sector.
• Preparation of the necessary guidelines and regulations for the consent mechanism, confidentiality, storage and sharing of data, as provided for in the draft law on the protection of personal data which is at an advanced stage of consideration in Parliament.
• Incorporation of AI and other emerging technologies for service processing and improvisation.
• Legitimate and impartial outlet for filing formal complaints against any misuse of data.

The references:

1. Digital India, vision and ecosystem. https://www.digitalindia.gov.in/

2. National data sharing and accessibility policy (NDSAP). https://dst.gov.in/national-data-sharing-and-accessibility-policy-0

3. Guidelines for the acquisition and production of geospatial data and geospatial data services, including maps. chrome-extension: //efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/viewer.html? pdfurl = https% 3A% 2F% 2Fdst.gov.in% 2Fsites% 2Fdefault% 2Ffiles% 2FFinal% 2520Approved% 2520Guidelines% 2520ondf 259043% 2520Geospatial.

4. Data sharing platform. https://data.gov.in/

5. Drive digital transformation in India. https://apisetu.gov.in/

6. The social impact of open data. 3rd International Open Data Conference (IODC) In: Ottawa, Canada. May 2015

7. Anneke Zuiderwijk & Marijn Janssen. Open data policies, their implementation and impact: a framework for comparison. DOI: 10.1016 / j.giq.2013.04.003

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