India to Open Up Its Data

Sudha Nagaraj Bharadwaj, Journalist | 10/8/2012 | 23 comments

Sudha Nagaraj Bharadwaj
Open source, open access, open content… now we have open data. India has joined a select group of over 20 countries whose governments have launched open data portals. With a view to improving government transparency and efficiency, www.data.gov.in (in public beta stage at present) will provide access to a valuable repository of datasets, from government departments, ministries, and agencies, and autonomous bodies.

Open data will be made up of “non-personally identifiable data” collected, compiled, or produced during the normal course of governing. It will be released under an unrestricted license -- meaning it is freely available for everyone to use, reuse, or distribute, but citations will be required.

Of course, no government can make all data public, so guidelines have been passed to manage what data is available. Sensitive and restricted data will be kept out of the portal, but some of it may be accessed directly -- perhaps for a price -- from relevant agencies. India passed the Right to Information Act in 2005 and has been working since on multiple projects to ensure meaningful government-citizen engagement, democratization of information, and community collaboration. The National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy (NDSAP) of 2012, announced by the Department of Science and Technology, also allows access to government-owned “shareable” data.

As of now there are just a few raw data sets available, though the policy mandated that every department would upload at least five “high value date sets” within three months and the rest within a year. Since information is power, there is reluctance to share the data. In response, the NDSAP has created an oversight committee to ensure implementation. Even the protected lists of data will be periodically reviewed to keep only some highly sensitive, defense-related data outside the public domain.

The potential of the open data sources is clear. Imagine a developer integrating geo-spatial data on droughts with data from a government food assistance program to create a mashup that improves the model for food security welfare schemes. Indeed, the data portal already provides data on the outcome of a rural employment scheme in terms of employment, physical asset creation, and financial allocations. Another dataset provides the number of allopathic hospitals and dispensaries and beds in government hospitals for a 10-year period. Surely, this is a treasure-trove for the healthcare industry, healthcare management consultants, media organizations, researchers, and others.

Even more enticing is that it is estimated that there are more than 1 million datasets from worldwide governments in the open domain. These include location of toxic waste dumps, regional healthcare costs, and statistics on crime, transport, education, and so on. The World Bank data portal provides downloadable access to 8,000 development indicators from its datasets. Imagine the insights that a combination of multiple worldwide datasets could provide.

The potential for combining worldwide data is clear, but the effort to put this data out is only just beginning. It poses multiple challenges to government CIOs, including putting it out in easily read formats, making it compatible with other databases, working with developers, and doing it cheaply so the publishing of the data doesn’t become a burden. And, of course, while the data itself is open and doesn’t need to be protected, it is important to create processes to insure that data remains anonymous and that sensitive data isn’t accidentally released. The scale of the challenge poses a real problem.

While government CIOs are trying to ramp up their efforts, private-sector CIOs should begin planning on accessing the data from India and the other open government projects in the US, Europe, and elsewhere. There’s too much valuable information to ignore.

View Comments: Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
Page 1 / 3   >   >>
Syerita Turner   India to Open Up Its Data   10/18/2012 5:48:06 AM
Re: Security!
Great information and very interesting. It is good to see that they are opening up and sharing information. Most of the time people view the lack of transparancy as something to hide when that is not the case. The information will be very useful to thos who need it and it may prompt other countries who are not currently sharing this information to get on board and share what content that will need to share in order to bring understanding and peach among the nations.
stotheco   India to Open Up Its Data   10/15/2012 1:17:01 AM
Re: Security!
Sudha-- Thank you for clarifying these points. I was about to raise the same questions the others did. To some, the data that you mentioned might not be deemed as "public" but then different organizations/governments have varying definitions. The background checks also sounded alarming to me at first but good to know they are only on an as-needed basis and that a process still follows.
Salik   India to Open Up Its Data   10/13/2012 2:51:00 PM
Re: Security!
Thank you Sudha for clearifying the points. Your prespective is also very considerable.
Susan Nunziata   India to Open Up Its Data   10/11/2012 4:54:16 PM
Re: Security!
@Sudha: Thank you for clarifying these points, makes alot of sense though the cynic in me can still envision an agency being tempted to bend its rules if there's enough money or political pressure inovlved.
Sudha N Bharadwaj   India to Open Up Its Data   10/10/2012 10:29:14 PM
Re: Security!
@Salik, The answer to your question is esconced in the term "shareable data". The NDSAP has mandated only five sets of data to start with --once a beginning is made, initial fears, reservations and "ownership" feelings will retreat. You will be surprised to know there is a school of thought that says public information in the form of geographical, statistical, scientific, financial, social sector data, and development and demographic data should anyway be "open" and available in public domain as it is collected with public finances. The trick lies in getting over the mindset that it is government data. State secrets will not be passed on to anyone, needless to add...The backgroud checks come into play only when there is a request for access to data classified as sensitive...a process that is followed even today and where the state machinery is well-oiled.
Salik   India to Open Up Its Data   10/10/2012 3:02:59 PM
Re: Security!
@Sudha Isn't it going to be a very difficult task for the govt to apply background checks for every transaction from any outside source? Within the department it seems legit, but providing data to outsiders is a bit risky don't you think? And it is govt data ofcourse. So if background check is the backbone of security then how can the govt manage it? Your comments on this will be appriciated. Thank you.
Gigi   India to Open Up Its Data   10/10/2012 5:42:29 AM
Gigi
Re: Potential for tension
Sara, the demand can drive the business. I know some of the companies are buying statical datas from various government agenesis for analysis purposes, especially in health and community living sides.
Gigi   India to Open Up Its Data   10/10/2012 5:39:31 AM
Gigi
Re: research
David, government of India is doing lots of amendments in IT sector, which can incorporate the latest trends and changes in IT along with data and cloud. Among that the public access to data.gov. in and making use of public cloud for various government services are important. But how the citizens and companies are making use of such facilities are important.
Sudha N Bharadwaj   India to Open Up Its Data   10/10/2012 12:42:23 AM
Re: Security!
@Susan, @Salik, Seems like there is some confusion here. The government --each department --is within its rights to classify some information (even among shareable data) as restricted, or sensitive, or even put it under a negative list. Now, if some interested party wants some information for some legitimate reason, they must apply to that relevant department, stating reason, nature of use etc and if deemed fit, they would be granted access to this information (maps , topo-sheets with a lot of detailing, come to mind). The department (say, Survey of India) may in such cases charge some money to issue the material. Hope this clarifies the matter, because the credentials would be checked before acccess is granted. If there are security concerns, the government may even decline. 
Susan Nunziata   India to Open Up Its Data   10/9/2012 9:36:25 PM
Re: Security!
@Salik: You are sounding a legitimate alarm. As Sudha states: Sensitive and restricted data will be kept out of the portal, but some of it may be accessed directly -- perhaps for a price -- from relevant agencies. It's the latter part that strikes security fears: Once you introduce the concept of another party accessing the most sensitive and restricted data, one can imagine all manner of security disasters ensuing.
Page 1 / 3   >   >>


The blogs and comments posted on EnterpriseEfficiency.com do not reflect the views of TechWeb, EnterpriseEfficiency.com, or its sponsors. EnterpriseEfficiency.com, TechWeb, and its sponsors do not assume responsibility for any comments, claims, or opinions made by authors and bloggers. They are no substitute for your own research and should not be relied upon for trading or any other purpose.

More Blogs from Sudha Nagaraj Bharadwaj
Sudha Nagaraj Bharadwaj   5/13/2014   32 comments
Internet surveillance in India is turning really fierce. A Facebook transparency report reveals that the social network removed 4,765 pieces of content originating in India in the second ...
Sudha Nagaraj Bharadwaj   4/30/2014   50 comments
With the growing importance of enterprise data, big data, and the Internet of Things, the Indian CIO will be forced to wear the cap of the CDO as well. Though the Chief Digital Officer ...
Sudha Nagaraj Bharadwaj   4/25/2014   15 comments
The much-dreaded April 4 deadline for certification of imported electronic products in India has passed. The Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) had mandated that ...
Sudha Nagaraj Bharadwaj   4/18/2014   15 comments
India will soon offer reliable, affordable, and efficient cloud services for the private sector through a unique government-private sector joint effort. With an eye on helping the micro, ...
Sudha Nagaraj Bharadwaj   4/11/2014   15 comments
If you are a CIO hiring or planning to hire IT professionals for onsite projects in the US, you will have to wait to see if luck favors you this season. For the second year in a row, the ...
E2 IT Migration Zones
IT Migration Zone - UK
Why PowerShell Is Important
Reduce the Windows 8 Footprint for VDI
Rethinking Storage Management
IT Migration Zone - FR
SQL Server : 240 To de mémoire flash pour votre data warehouse
Quand Office vient booster les revenus Cloud et Android de Microsoft
Windows Phone : Nokia veut davantage d'applications (et les utilisateurs aussi)
IT Migration Zone - DE
Cloud Computing: Warum Unternehmen trotz NSA auf die „private“ Wolke setzen sollten
Cloud Computing bleibt Wachstumsmarkt – Windows Azure ist Vorreiter
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Enterprise Efficiency Twitter Feed
Site Moderators Wanted
Enterprise Efficiency is looking for engaged readers to moderate the message boards on this site. Engage in high-IQ conversations with IT industry leaders; earn kudos and perks. Interested? E-mail:
moderators@enterpriseefficiency.com
SPONSORED BY DELL
CASE STUDIES
EBOOKS
PUBLIC SECTOR RESOURCES
VIDEOS
WHITE PAPERS
WINDOWS SERVER 2012 RESOURCES
A Video Case Study – Translational Genomics Research Institute


On the Case
TGen IT: Where We're Going Next

7|11|12   |   08:12   |   10 comments


Now that TGen has broken new ground in genomic research by using Dell's storage, cloud, and high-performance computing solutions, the company discusses what will come next for it and for personalized medicine.
On the Case
Better Care Through Better Communications

6|6|12   |   02:24   |   11 comments


The achievements of the TGen/Dell project could improve how all people receive healthcare, because they are creating ways to improve end-to-end communication of medical data.
On the Case
TGen IT: Where We Are Now

5|15|12   |   06:58   |   6 comments


TGen is breaking new ground in genomic research by using Dell's storage, cloud, and high-performance computing solutions.
On the Case
TGen IT: Where We Were

4|27|12   |   06:45   |   10 comments


The Translational Genomics Research Institute wanted to save lives, but its efforts were hobbled by immense computing challenges related to collecting, processing, sharing, and storing enormous amounts of data.
On the Case
1,200% Faster

4|18|12   |   02:27   |   12 comments


Through their partnership, Dell and TGen have increased the speed of TGen’s medical research by 1,200 percent.
On the Case
IT May Improve Children's Chances of Survival

4|17|12   |   02:12   |   8 comments


IT is helping medical researchers reach breakthroughs in a way and pace never seen before.
On the Case
Medical Advances in the Cloud

4|10|12   |   1:25   |   5 comments


TGen and Dell are pushing the boundaries of computing, and harnessing the power of the cloud to improve healthcare.
On the Case
TGen: Living the Mission

4|9|12   |   2:25   |   3 comments


TGen's CIO puts the organizational mission at the heart of everything the IT staff does.
On the Case
TGen Speeding Up Biomedical Research to Save More Lives

4|5|12   |   1:59   |   6 comments


The Translational Genomics Research Institute is revamping its computing to improve speed, storage, and collaboration – and, most importantly, to save lives.
On the Case
Computing Power Helping to Save Children's Lives

3|28|12   |   2:13   |   3 comments


The Translational Genomics Institute’s partnership with Dell is enabling them to treat kids with neuroblastoma more quickly and save more lives.