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Explained: How will the National Data Governance Framework Policy work?

A platform will be designed which will process requests and provide access to non-personal and/or anonymised datasets to Indian researchers and start-ups; there is no provision for monetisation of such data

May 30, 2022 / 08:20 PM IST
Along with technology, human intervention is critical to making big data work. (Image: Shutterstock)

Along with technology, human intervention is critical to making big data work. (Image: Shutterstock)

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has issued a fresh draft on the National Data Governance Framework Policy (NDGFM) with increased emphasis on sharing of non-personal data for building a large repository of India-specific datasets and for use by researchers and start-ups.

As part of the framework, a platform will be designed which will process requests and provide access to non-personal and/or anonymised datasets to Indian researchers and start-ups. Earlier, MeitY had issued a draft policy on the same but retracted it after the ministry faced widespread criticism over planning to monetise sharing of data. The new (current) draft does not have provisions of data monetisation.

As part of the policy, the Indian government will also build the India Datasets program, which will consist of non-personal and anonymised datasets from Government entities that have collected data from Indian citizens or those in India. Private entities will be encouraged to share such data, the policy said.

Who will be responsible for the framework?

The draft said that an India Data Management Office  (IDMO) will be set up under the Digital India Corporation in MeitY, which will be responsible for the data framework by developing rules, standards and guidelines under the policy.

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It will also be responsible for designing the platform that processes request for access to non-personal and/or anonymised datasets for use by researchers and start-ups, the draft policy said.

Apart from that, the policy said that departments and ministries will have data management units (DMU), headed by a designated official. This official will work closely with IDMO for ensuring implementation of policy.

“State governments also would be encouraged to designate/appoint State-level data officers and IDMO will provide all assistance, including training in this regard,” the draft read.

Where will the datasets be sourced from?

The draft policy said every government ministry/ department/ organisation will have to identify and classify available datasets. Private companies can also create datasets and contribute to the India Datasets program. IDMO will prescribe rules and standards in this regard, the draft policy read.

How will the data be shared?

“IDMO shall notify protocols for sharing of non-personal datasets while ensuring privacy, security and trust. IDMO will notify rules to provide data on priority/ exclusively to Indian/ India-based requesting entities,” said the draft policy. The proposed regulatory body will also judge the genuineness of the data and its validity.

How can one access the data?

According to the draft policy, IDMO will design and maintain the Datasets Access platform which will be responsible for granting access to databases. “All datasets in the India Datasets program can only be accessed through this and any other IDMO-designated and authorised platforms,” it read.

The policy has also proposed limits to data requests by giving IDMO the power to ascertain whether requesting entities be allowed access to full databases or combinations for their use cases.

IDMO will also develop a mechanism for inter-government data access. “All Government Ministries/ Departments shall create detailed, searchable data inventories, with clear metadata and data dictionaries for government-to-government data access,” it added.

What are the checks and balances in place for data sharing and storage?

The draft policy said that disclosure norms will be formulated for data collected/ stored/ shared and accessed over a certain threshold. Apart from that, IDMO will also be responsible for defining the principles for ethical and fair use of data shared beyond the government ecosystem.

The draft policy also said that IDMO will institute a mechanism for citizens to request datasets, register grievances, and establish the responsibility of data management units (DMU) under IDMO to respond in a timely manner.
Aihik Sur
first published: May 30, 2022 08:20 pm
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