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Open Data

This is a collection of plans, proposals, and recommendation documents for the governance and management of Open Data in India.

Published onApr 01, 2020
Open Data


The National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy (NDSAP)1

The Open Government Data Platform India is governed by the NDSAP, which applies to all data and information created, generated, collected and achieved using public funds provided by Government of India directly or through authorised agencies by various Ministries / Departments/ Organisations/ Agencies and Autonomous bodies. The principles on which data sharing and accessibility are based include openness, flexibility, transparency, legal conformity, protection of intellectual property, formal responsibility, professionalism, standards, interoperability, quality, security, efficiency, accountability, sustainability, machine-readability and privacy.

As per the NDSAP, every Department has to identify datasets by the following categories:

  • Negative List: The datasets, which are confidential in nature and would compromise to the county’s security if made public, are put into this list. The datasets which contain personal information are also included in this list.

  • Open List: This list comprises of datasets which don’t fall under negative list. These datasets shall be prioritized into high value datasets and non-high values datasets.

The data falling under the negative list is non-shareable while the data falling under the open list is shareable in the open data platform. The types of access to data include open access, registered access, restricted access. The policy prescribes the technology to be adopted for sharing and access.

The Policy prescribes terms and conditions for the use of data, including attribution to original source, no warranty, etc. Failure to comply with stipulated terms and conditions will cause the user’s rights under this license to end automatically.

Implementation Guidelines for NDSAP

The Implementation Guidelines broadly lay down the manner in which this project shall be implemented, and the role of each nodal agency. It prescribes that datasets that do not fall under negative list would be in the Open List, and would need to be prioritized into high value datasets and non-high value datasets. As per the NDSAP, within a year all the datasets need to be published on the OGD Platform ( and within the first three months at least 5 high value datasets need to be published. The Government data is generated through following processes and events:

1. Primary Data e.g. Population Census, Education Census, Economic Survey, etc.

2. Processed/Value Added Data e.g. Budget, Planning, etc.

3. Data Generated through delivery of Government Services e.g. Income Tax Collection, MNREGA wage distribution etc.

The Guidelines prescribe the detailed measures to be undertaken by the Ministries/Departments of Government of India for implementation of NDSAP in order to:

a. Nominate Data Controller

b. Nominate Data Contributors

c. Setup NDSAP Cell

d. Identify Datasets

e. Publish Catalogs and Resources (Datasets/Apps) on OGD Platform India

f. Prepare Negative List

g. Create Action Plan for regular release of datasets on the OGD Platform India

h. Monitor and Manage the Open Data Programme of the Department

It also lays down the responsibilities of the data controller, NDSAP Cell, data contributor, metadata, the consumption of data from egov applications, main activities of the Project Management Unit, the technology to be used for Sharing and Access, format in which the data should be published, etc.

Telangana Open Data Policy 20162

The Telangana State Open Data Policy is applicable to all public authorities and distinguishes between shareable and non-shareable data, similar to the Government Open Data Policy. It states that within 6 months the Department of IT shall enact Implementation Guidelines, including technology and standards for data and metadata.

Sikkim Open Data Acquisition and Accessibility Policy 20143

The Sikkim Open Data Acquisition and Accessibility Policy (SODAAP) applies to all sharable non-sensitive data available either in digital (machine readable) or analog (human readable) forms but generated using public funds by various Ministries/Departments/Subordinate offices/organizations/agencies of the Government of Sikkim.

All datasets which do not fall under the negative and sensitive list would be in the Open List and includes the following types of data sets:

a. Primary Data e.g. Number of Beds in Hospitals, Doctor-to-nurses ratio, Number of Teachers in primary school etc.

b. Processed/Value Added Data e.g. Budget, Planning etc.

c. Data generated through delivery of Government Services e.g. Literacy Rate, Average Life Expectancy etc.

d. Geospatial data consisting of primarily satellite data, maps etc.

A state-of-the-art SODAA web portal will be developed and it will be hosted in Sikkim State Data Centre with online analytical processing (OLAP) capabilities. This data centre is an integrated repository of data portals of various ministries / departments that will hold data.

The Policy states that the data will remain the property of the agency/department/ ministry/ entity which collected them and the same will be used for sharing and providing access. Access to data under this policy would not be in violation of any Acts and rules of the Government of Sikkim in force (such as IPR, Copyright, IT Rules, etc.). Legal framework of this policy will be aligned accordingly with various acts and rules covering the data. The Policy states that an oversight committee would be constituted for facilitating the implementation of the policy, monitoring the progress for the implementation and ensure it is completed in a time-bound fashion.

Policy on Adoption of Open Source Software for Government of India4

One of the major objectives of the National Policy on Information Technology, 2012 is to “Adopt open standards and promote open source and open technologies". The “Policy on Adoption of Open Source Software for Government of India” (hereinafter referred to as “Policy”) encourages the formal adoption and the use of Open Source Software (OSS) in Government Organizations.

The Government of India endeavours to adopt an Open Source Software in all e-Governance systems implemented by various Government organizations, as a preferred option in comparison to Closed Source Software (CSS). The source code shall be available for the community / adopter / end-user to study and modify the software and to redistribute copies.

All future Requests for Proposals (RFPs) of e-Governance projects shall include a mandatory clause for considering Open Source Software (OSS) as a preferred option in comparison to Closed Source Software (CSS).

Government Open Data License - India National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy5

The open government data initiative started in India with the notification of the National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy (NDSAP) submitted to the Union Cabinet by the Department of Science and Technology. While the appropriate open formats and related aspects for implementation of the Policy has been defined in the "NDSAP Implementation Guidelines" prepared by an inter-ministerial Task Force constituted by the National Informatics Centre3, the open license for datasets published under NDSAP and through the OGD Platform remained unspecified till now.

The use of the data is restricted solely for lawful purposes which includes studying, copying, distribution, translation, value-addition to, adaptation of, creating derivative works (products and services) from the data, and publication of original and derived works, subject to the provisions of this License. The Policy also grants the users a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license to use, adapt, publish, translate, display, add value, and create derivative works (including products and services), for all lawful commercial and non-commercial purposes, and for the duration of existence of such rights over the data or information. The Policy also prescribes the terms and conditions of the use of data. The data providers are not liable for any errors or omissions.

The license does not cover personal information; data that is non-shareable and/or sensitive; names, crests, logos and other official symbols of the data provider(s); data subject to other intellectual property rights; military insignia; identity documents; and any data that should not have been publicly disclosed for the grounds provided under Section 8 of the Right to Information Act, 2005 which provides for the exceptions to the right

The objective of the policy is to provide proactive access to Government owned shareable data. Developed using Open Source Stack, the project is one of the initiatives under Pillar 6 (Information for All) of the Digital India initiative. Till 28th February, 2018, OGD India has 1,60,343 dataset resources, 4,240 catalogs contributed by 110 Ministry/Departments, 1,350 Visualizations created, 3617-Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) created, 115 Chief Data Officers. OGD India has 15.18 million times viewed and 5.54 million datasets have been downloaded.

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