The National e-Governance Division (NeGD) of the Ministry of Electronics and IT recently conducted an ‘AI Pe Charcha” session on Data for Artificial Intelligence chaired by Mr. Abhishek Singh, President & CEO, of NeGD to discuss the key recommendations on leveraging Open Government Data in driving innovation for citizen and social impact. The session was also attended by Mr. Srikanth Velamakanni, Group CEO Fractal, Mr. Gaurav Godhwani, Director & Co-founder, CivicDataLabs, and Mr. Umakant Soni, Co-founder & CEO, ARTPARK.
Following the essence of the theme, the recently released report “Unlocking Potential of India’s Open Data” by the MeitY Data Taskforce was also discussed during this session. NASSCOM, MeitY along with industry partners such as Fractal, Microsoft, Infosys, IDFC Institute, TCS & Amazon had constituted the Data Taskforce in 2021 to suggest ways to unlock the potential of India’s Open Government Data. The Data Taskforce was chaired by Mr. Srikanth Velamakanni.
While India’s open data efforts are amplifying, so is the potential of AI and other data-based emerging technologies to create large-scale social transformation. However, often these technologies require access to detailed datasets not available under open access. Considering this, the government is also focusing on efforts to strengthen the overall data ecosystem by enabling restricted access to non-personal data for catalyzing AI Innovation. The AI Pe Charcha discussion focused on the importance of and approaches for enabling access to quality datasets for AI.
Some of the key recommendations suggested by the group include: Making open government data a policy priority; applying reasonable data classification policies to avoid the over-classification of data, adopting of international standards and tools, creating regulatory sandboxes, and allowing for responsible testing of data-sharing approaches and provide non-binding guidance through regulators on how existing regulations apply in data sharing contexts.
“Given the government’s demonstrated commitment to ensuring secure access to quality datasets, I am certain that relevant stakeholders across the open data ecosystem will find immense value in the insights presented in this report” – Mr. Abhishek Singh, President & CEO, NeGD
“Data is a strategic asset that has immense potential to drive innovation in today’s AI-enabled world. The government of India has millions of datasets fuelled by the unprecedented pace of digitization and digital penetration at India’s population scale. This has put us in a unique position to leverage this data to catalyze inclusive growth, and research and transform public service delivery. However, these datasets and the platform currently suffer from a myriad of challenges ultimately impacting the usability of these datasets and the Open Government Data portal keeping the data-driven research and innovation ecosystem from growing to its full potential. The report is an outcome of taskforce’s extensive effort to understand the gaps and provide recommendations on issues and merits related to the platform and the data itself” – Mr. Srikanth Velamakanni, Group CEO, Fractal Analytics
The importance of data and digital transformation has grown significantly over the past two years. An integrated data utilization strategy can add $450- $500 Bn to India’s GDP by 2025. This requires cautious utilization of datasets and their platforms that have the maximum potential for social impact, help in policy-making, create new and high-quality jobs, innovations and evangelize start-ups and promote research and education. The group in its recommendation has also advised creating transparent, standardized, and risk-based data classification guides along with model data-sharing framework to mitigate challenges impacting datasets usability thereby hindering its potential growth.