Editorial Analysis for 3rd September 2020

  1. Home
  2. »
  3. Editorial Analysis September 2020
  4. »
  5. Editorial Analysis for 3rd September 2020

A missed opportunity- Rishab Bailey & Renuka Sane

Why in News:

General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management


The Gopalakrishnan Committee report does not adequately address governance frameworks around government data sets


  • The Committee of Experts on the Non-Personal Data Governance Frameworkhas recommended in its report, among other things, making privately held non-personal data “open”.
  • The objective is to make such data available for general use, though the committee does lay down conditions for such data transfers.
  • This has raised concerns about state interference in the private data ecosystem.
  • According to the author, the report is a missed opportunity to address the governance frameworks around what are some of the most important non-personal data sets in a country — those created by government agencies, or those resulting from taxpayer money.

Measures taken by GOI:

  • The Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005mandates the disclosure of government data on a suo moto basis.
  • “Information for all” is an important pillar of the Digital India Policy.
  • The National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy (NDSAP), 2012requires all non-sensitive information held by public authorities to be made publicly accessible in machine-readable formats, subject to certain conditions.
  • The Open Government Data Platform provides open access to data sets held by ministries and other agencies of the government.


  • India has failed to create an open data societydue to the following reasons.
  • Despite the well-intended provisions of the National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy (NDSAP), 2012, its implementation has been far from satisfactory.
  • The quality and quantity of data sets published by the government have not been satisfactory. The data sets released by governments are often inconsistent, incomplete, outdated, published in non-machine readable or inconsistent formats, include duplicates, and lack quality metadata, thereby reducing re-usability.
  • The administration has been reluctant to make valuable information sets available to the public on grounds of sensitivity of the information and has been using provisions like the exceptions provided under the RTI act and the official secrets act provisions.

Key Details:

The Gopalakrishnan Committee has recommended among other things, making non-personal data “open”.

What is Non-personal data:

  • Non-personal data sets can be useful in either framing public policy or creating and providing new services.
  • Non-personal data are viewed as critical for the development of the AI ecosystem.
  • They do not identify an individual.

Government data sets:

  • The Gopalakrishnan Committee report does not adequately address governance frameworks around government data sets.Instead, the report largely focuses on the dangers posed by data collection by private sector entities.
  • The Gopalakrishnan Committee does not evaluate the challenges with existing policies and practices pertaining to government data, and does not offer solutions on this front.
  • Though the Committee has taken a good step forward in recommending the making of non-personal data “open”, the committee does not lay down conditions for such data transfers. This has raised concerns about state interference in the private data ecosystem.
    • The Justice B.N. Srikrishna Committee report of 2018 highlighted the need to restrict the growing power of the state to carry out

Unaddressed issues:

  • India’s cybersecurity frameworkcontinues to be woefully inadequate and this issue has not been addressed in the report.

Way forward:

  • Data governance being a relatively new concept in India, the government must take an incremental approach to reforms.
  • Before trying to reform private sector data governance structure, the reforms should begin with reforming how the government itself deals with citizens’ data. This would result in greater trust in data governance practices and also allow the development of state capacity to govern the data ecosystem.

Current Affairs

Recent Posts