A chance for India to shape a data governance regime

Source- The post is based on the article “A chance for India to shape a data governance regime” published in “The Hindu” on 14th March 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- e-governance. GS3- Awareness in field of IT and computers

Relevance– Issues related to big data

News– India has made good progress in its digital strategies and data governance. However, it must also ensure that its digital strategies and data governance are inclusive, transparent, and secure.

What are some facts associated with India’s Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture (DEPA)?

It is a consent management tool. It has benefits associated with it like it has the potential to improve data protection and privacy for citizens by giving them greater control over the use and sharing of their personal information. It could help to build trust in digital technologies and data governance.

However, there are also risks related to security and privacy. If this tool is not properly implemented, there is a risk that personal information could be misused or misappropriated.

The implementation of DEPA may be inconsistent across different sectors and jurisdictions. It could undermine its effectiveness and create confusion among citizens.

What are concerns related to use of data?

There are concerns related to connectivity and the availability of a skilled human workforce are other concerns.

Potential misuse of data and information in these sectors. For example, in the health sector, there is a risk that sensitive medical information could be misused or exploited for commercial purposes,

Ownership and governance of data generated and collected in health and agriculture. There are questions related to the rights of data providers and responsibilities towards them.

Data sovereignty has become an increasingly important issue. The term refers to the principle that a country has the right to control the collection, storage, and use of data within its borders.

What are the benefits associated with establishment of an India Data Management Office (IDMO)?

It is a step forward in the country’s journey towards data sharing and data governance.

The IDMO is expected to oversee and coordinate the implementation of India’s digital strategies and data governance framework. It will ensure that these efforts are aligned with the country’s values and priorities.

It will also work to promote the development and implementation of open-source solutions.

It will help to ensure that underlying data architectures are a social public good, and digital technologies become accessible and affordable for all.

What is the way forward for data governance in India?

Open source and open innovation models can be important alternatives to proprietary solutions that are governed by big tech companies.

It requires a close collaboration between the government, the private sector, civil society, and other stakeholders and the development of clear and effective regulations and standards.

Many commentators have called for the opening of data “silos” to capture the potential wealth of data sharing between governmental offices, corporations and citizens.

While it may be useful in promoting citizen participation and increasing access to information, it may jeopardise trust and security. For example, the sharing of sensitive personal or financial information may be harmful to individuals and society as a whole.

Therefore, it is important for India to come to a middle ground between restrictive data sovereignty and limitless data flow. There is a need to define which data, for which purposes, can be shared and used by whom.

In doing so, India must respect and protect the fundamental right to privacy with a robust data protection law. It must balance the interests of all stakeholders, including governments, businesses, and citizens for the goal of sustainable development.

There is a need for investment in the necessary digital infrastructure and skills to ensure that data is collected, stored, and used in a responsible, secure and accountable manner.

Further, it is essential that the India Stack is designed and implemented in a way that is consistent with India’s broader development strategies. This will help to ensure that the data governance is aligned with the country’s values and priorities.

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