Harnessing the Power of India’s Public Data
In 2010, former US President Barack Obama visited the first-ever “Democracy and Open Government” exhibition held at St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai. It was the time when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Obama met to strengthen India-US bilateral relations and discussed the formation of the government’s open data platform – data.gov.in – inspired by the famous American data.gov initiative.
According to the National Informatics Center, Indian ministries, departments and their organizations are expected to use the web portal to publish datasets, documents, services, tools and applications that they have gathered for public use. . The platform, jointly developed by the two countries, aims to promote government transparency and create opportunities for wider use of government data.
There are over 4.7,000 catalogs and 5.8 lakh datasets on the platform. The collection covers a variety of industries, including biotechnology, youth and sports, law, science and technology. Additionally, one can choose to browse datasets based on their origin; for example, one can select the central or state department or ministry from which one needs a set of data.
The Future Ahead: National Data Platform
Data.gov.in users have observed that the website is either slow or lags in terms of data. The datasets available on the portal are outdated and of little use. Now, to solve the problems and make data sharing more feasible, the government has decided to launch a new platform for data geeks, namely the National Data Platform.
The proposed platform would be a complete data marketplace environment with built-in analytics, developer sandbox, visualization engine, data tools, application/model development, modular metadata architecture and the adoption of various data sharing policies. With state-of-the-art AI ML-based search and discovery, this will also manage repositories of all available data in India. According to data.gov.in, the platform will be a “one-stop solution for discovering, harvesting and recording data from participating data exchanges and registries.”
At a Glance: National Data and Analytics Platform
The National Data and Analytics Platform (NDAP) is Niti Ayog’s main effort to increase the availability and use of public data. An easy-to-use web-based platform, NDAP collects and hosts datasets from across India’s vast statistical infrastructure.
The NDAP seeks to democratize data delivery by solving many of the challenges that currently exist in the open data universe. NDAP makes government data sets easily accessible and interoperable while reducing data loss. Available through a seamless and easily viewable user interface with interactive visualizations, NDAP solves many data problems faced by users.
On the portal, 601 datasets from 46 ministries are scattered across 15 sectors. Users can access datasets such as recent monthly electricity reports from the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) or the latest information on digital transactions, BHIM transactions and debit cards, for example.
Datasets uploaded to the platform must meet a minimum level of data quality as determined by NDAP’s own 5-star rating system. By conforming to this minimum standard, all datasets on NDAP are guaranteed to be supported by documentation, mapped to a common data schema (the local government repository), and have passed internal audits of data quality to ensure they remain accurate representations of the original. The data.
Additionally, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj’s Local Government Directory Code is used to map datasets on NDAP to a shared set of spatial and temporal identifiers. Users can combine datasets from multiple industries and sources to perform rapid cross-industry analysis.
According to Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Ayog, “The rise of data and digital technologies is rapidly transforming economies and societies. This has huge implications for the daily operations of governments. The NDAP is a critical milestone, which aims to help India’s progress by promoting data-driven disclosure, decision-making and ensuring the availability of data linking the last mile. It’s an example of how the power of data can be harnessed.
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