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November 11, 2022

Summary: ‘Draft India Data Accessibility And Use Policy 2022’ (Ministry Of Electronics And Information Technology)

Author: Shilpa Margaret Kurian

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) published the draft India Data Accessibility and Use Policy 2022 (“Policy”) on February 21, 2022. To meet its objective of better service delivery for which non-personal data is valuable, the Policy proposes how non-personal data and information (“NPD”) consolidated by the Government of India (“GOI”) should be managed.

The Policy outlines the objective and underlying principles; and defines key terms to enhance access, quality, and use of NPD. The Policy is made applicable to NPD consolidated by the GOI through creation, generation, collection, and/or archival, directly or indirectly through authorized agents including ministries, departments, organizations, agencies, and/or autonomous bodies (“body/bodies”). The State Governments may adopt such provisions and protocols as applicable.

The Policy proposes the establishment of India Data Office (“Office”) to consolidate and streamline the process of data access and sharing between governments and stakeholders. The Policy proposes the establishment of Data Management Units (“Units”) for each body, headed by a Chief Data Officer (“Officer”) with the aid of the Office, and together, ensure this Policy’s implementation. The Policy also proposes the creation of India Data Council (“Council”) comprising of the Office and Units, to define and finalize relevant frameworks and coordinate deliberations between ministries, departments and state governments. The Council will function on a rotational tenure of 2 years.

The Policy provides that the Office will work closely with bodies and states to accelerate access to data held by them and coordinate with stakeholders to provide data for such parties’ use, per Office’s notified protocols. The Policy lays the responsibility of identifying and classifying datasets and maintaining integrated data portals through APIs upon the government’s respective body, with technical and implementation assistance provided by Office. Once approved, datasets will be federated into a single government searchable database, for inter-governmental sharing.

The Policy proposes that each body shall adopt and publish relevant standards for data and metadata and data retention policy. In respect of cross-domain standards, the Office shall finalize the standards applicable to the concerned government bodies.

The Policy provides that a Data Sharing toolkit and Reference Anonymization tools will be made available to bodies to assess and optimally manage risk in any transaction of data sharing and release. The bodies will conduct themselves in compliance with the legal policies, legislations, rules, guidelines, etc, time being in force, and recognized international guidelines. The Policy lays the responsibility of monitoring the policy’s implementation and enforcement on the Office; and also provides for the publication of an implementation manual by MeitY.

The Policy can be accessed here.

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