Data marketplaces: the next frontier

Data marketplaces: the next frontier



In the era of rapid digitization, the role of data especially Non-Personal Data (NPD), has emerged as a critical factor in India’s quest for economic growth and governance effectiveness. As the nation is marching towards its ambitious goal of becoming a $5 trillion economy, harnessing the potential of NPD becomes paramount.



GS-02,GS-03 (Government policies and interventions, Economy, Digitization)


Facts for Prelims:

Global Regulations Regarding Data Governance:

  • European Union(EU)- General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)
  • China- Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL)
  • India-
    • IT amendment Act,2008:  Restrictions on publishing the names of juveniles and rape victims.
    • Justice K. S. Puttaswamy (Retd) vs Union of India 2017: Right to privacy is an intrinsic part of life and liberty under Article 21.
    • B.N. Srikrishna Committee 2017: Committee of experts for Data protection.
    • IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021: mandates social media platforms to exercise greater diligence with respect to the content on their platforms.
    • Digital Personal Data Protection Bill: To the processing of digital personal data within India where such data is collected online, or collected offline and is digitised.
    • Proposal of ‘Digital India Act’,2023 to replace IT act,2000



Mains Question:

Discuss the significance of Non-Personal Data (NPD) in India’s digitization journey and its potential to drive economic growth and enhance governance effectiveness. (150 words)


Dimensions of the Article:

  • National Data Governance Framework Policy?
  • Non-Personal Data
  • Challenges in Data Governance and Decision-Making


National Data Governance Framework Policy?

  • The framework plays an important role in modernizing the government’s data collection.
  • It aims to improve governance that enables Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data-led research and start up ecosystem in the country.
  • Objectives:
    • To transform and modernize governments data collection and management processes.
    • To accelerate Digital Governance.
    • To have a standardized data management and security standards across whole of Government.
    • To promote transparency, accountability and ownership in Non-personal Data and Dataset access.
  • Key Provisions:
    • Creation of India Datasets Programme: It proposes the establishment of an India Datasets programme that comprises non-personal and anonymized datasets collected by Central government entities from Indian citizens or individuals in India. Private companies will be encouraged to share such data, which will be accessible to startups and Indian researchers.
    • Non-Personal Data Access: Non-personal data refers to datasets that do not contain personally identifiable information, ensuring the privacy of individuals. The initiative aims to unlock the economic value of non-personal data, following recommendations from a government committee led by Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan.
    • India Data Management Office (IDMO): It suggests the creation of an India Data Management Office (IDMO) responsible for designing and managing the India Datasets platform. The IDMO will set rules and standards, including anonymization standards, for both government and private entities.
    • Authorized Data Sharing: To ensure safety and trust, any sharing of non-personal data by entities, whether government or private, must be done through platforms designated and authorized by the IDMO.
    • Omission of Data Selling Provision: The new draft eliminates the contentious provision allowing the sale of data collected at the Central level in the open market, addressing concerns regarding data privacy and misuse.


Non-Personal Data:

  • The rapid digitization of government operations in India has generated vast volumes of data, including Non-Personal Data (NPD).
  • This also holds significance as a potential ‘public good’.
  • NPD encompasses data excluding personal identifiers and can provide valuable insights for informed decision-making across various sectors of the economy.
  • From meteorological forecasts to infrastructure planning and employment trends, the application of advanced analytics and artificial intelligence to NPD can drive socially and economically beneficial outcomes.
  • However, the absence of comprehensive regulation for NPD poses challenges in governance and data utilization, hindering the realization of its full potential.


Challenges in Data Governance and Decision-Making:

  • Absence of enforceable regulations for NPD in India have made it difficult to regulate Personal Data.
  • The National Data Governance Framework Policy (NPD Framework) represents a step towards addressing this gap but lacks actionable guidance and operational mechanisms.
  • The unprotected inter-flow of NPD across government departments and third-parties increases the risk of privacy breaches and inefficient data utilization, posing challenges to effective data governance and decision-making.


Way Forward and Conclusion:

  • To address the challenges associated with NPD governance and utilization, India must formulate a blueprint for governing data exchanges, drawing insights from global best practices and initiatives.
  • It is important for India to learn from countries like Australia, the U.K., and Estonia, which have successfully implemented data exchange frameworks.
  • By operationalizing high-level principles of NPD governance and providing actionable pathways for data exchanges, India can realize the full potential of digitization in driving economic growth, promoting innovation, and enhancing governance effectiveness.