DMPQ-what is Draft India Data Accessibility and Use Policy 2022? Explain it’s significance in the wake of increasing use of data in the global economy.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY)’s draft India Data Accessibility and Use Policy 2022 is a continuation of earlier efforts to encourage better utilisation of large-scale data collected by the government machinery.

The Draft Policy aims at providing a robust scaffolding for harnessing public sector data for informed decision-making, citizen-centric delivery of public services, and economy-wide digital innovation. It seeks to harness data-based intelligence for governance and economic development.

A new social contract for data is the need of the hour whereby – the social commons of data are inappropriable commons that belong to all citizens, the government must ensure that data use is promoted for public good only, and democratisation of data value is ensured through accountable institutional mechanisms for data governance.

Adherence to Anonymization: Insufficient: The Draft Policy highlights that approved data inventories will be federated into a government-wide, searchable database. Now, even though the draft policy envisages adherence to anonymization standards, it is not a sufficient safeguard against privacy risks.

Negligence of Trusteeship Paradigm: Notwithstanding the recommendations of the 2020 Report of the MeitY Committee of Experts (CoE) on Non-Personal Data Governance which advised shifting to the trusteeship paradigm, the draft policy adheres to the NDSAP paradigm of treating government agencies as ‘owners’ of the data sets they have collected and compiled.

The lack of a data trusteeship framework gives government agencies unilateral privileges to determine the terms of data licensing. They are also empowered to classify their data holdings into “open, restricted or non-shareable” without any mechanisms for public consultation and citizen accountability.

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