In response to the widespread concern over sharing of citizen data and its subsequent monetisation by government agencies, the Centre has now revised the proposed legislation that will now be termed as National Data Governance Framework and Policy, the minister said.
ET has reviewed a copy of the new policy which has done away with provisions related to “monetisation” and will not be applicable to private entities. It is to be released for public consultation in the coming week.
“The feedback on the previous policy called the ‘India Data Accessibility and Use’ was that the name itself (was) being misunderstood, it almost seemed like it was a data sharing policy, which it was not. We have now rejigged the policy framework,” Chandrasekhar said.
The revised framework clarifies that restricted datasets like those of Aadhaar, the unique identity number, will not be a part of overall data sharing, he added.
The brand new legislation will form part of the government’s ambitious digital legislation architecture also consisting of the Personal Data Protection Billthe cybersecurity policy and an upcoming new Digital Law.
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The government is also in the process of amending the 22-year-old IT Act with a new modern law.
“What you’re seeing today are the building blocks of the overall architecture for the next 10 years of India’s tech economy,” Chandrasekhar said.
The policy also envisages establishment of an India Data Management Office (IDMO) on the lines of the US Federal Data Management Office. “It will be responsible for setting all standards, rulemaking and guidelines going forward on all aspects of data, which includes storage and anonymisation,” according to the minister.
The plethora of data sets which will now be available — in an anonymised format — will sharpen and aid the country’s governance mechanisms and provide an opportunity worth $100-150 billion for startups in the area of artificial intelligence, he added.
The government, which was seeking to better utilise the voluminous data that it collects for delivery of public services, had sought comments on the India Data Accessibility and Use Policy, until March 18.
The policy was criticised by experts who argued that since the Data Protection Act has not been implemented yet, there were no security safeguards for anonymisation, privacy infringement and economic incentivisation.
Chandrasekhar said the new policy has addressed those concerns. “The IDMO will be accountable to make sure that the standards of anonymisation are set and that they do not permit any de-anonymisation.”
He also said that any overlap with the Personal Data Protection Bill will be addressed.
Pointing out that as India’s digital economy expands along with greater digitisation of governance with public services goods like Aadhaar, UPI and Co-WIN, the minister said, “There is a clear case for having a national governance framework and policy to deal with the issues of setting standards of storage, collection, accessibility of computer systems and network access to the data within the government.”
In addition, the new framework is expected to provide a roadmap for data usage for the next wave of technology innovations in areas such as artificial intelligence.
“AI is a kinetic enabler of the digital economy; we can create another $100- 150 billion of opportunities for startups in this space. We understand these opportunities, data exists. But how do we create the dos and don’ts of how that data is used for the benefit of the AI?” Chandrasekhar said.
“This framework as the title suggests will (also) decide how data is used for governance,” he added.