On 21 February 2022, the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) issued a draft of the India Data Accessibility and Use Policy in respect of data available with government ministries and organisations. This policy aims to capitalise on the abundance of public sector data and use it for large scale social transformation. The policy applies to data and information created, collected, generated and archived by the government and authorised bodies.

The policy entails, among other things:

  • the establishment of:
    • an "India data office", which MEITY will supervise, to consolidate sharing of public data repositories across government and related stakeholders;
    • an "Indian data council", comprising a data officer, data officers of the various departments of the government and state governments to coordinate data sharing across ministries and other stakeholders (eg, researchers, enterprises, start-ups, individuals and government departments) and evaluate performance, among other things; and
    • an integrated cross-ministries data portal;
  • the formulation of a framework to identify high-value datasets;
  • the institution of a pricing and licensing mechanism to allow access to data sets of the governments;
  • the development of metadata standards; and
  • the safeguarding of data sets by anonymisation tools.

In effect, the government has endeavoured to streamline the huge volumes of data available with government bodies and in-turn monetise such data. Private businesses stand to benefit from it significantly as this shall enable them to access diverse datasets. This policy also reinforces the government's view on the monetary value of data, which is significant in view of pending data privacy regulations in India.

For further information on this topic please contact Vikram Jeet Singh at BTG Legal by telephone (+91 22 6177 2900) or email ([email protected]). The BTG Legal website can be accessed at www.btg-legal.com.