On data as oil and more from eco policy 

Data and its use as a public good was a part of the Economic survey.

Data and its use as a public good was a part of the Economic survey. The survey points out that the government must play a role in creating data as a public good, especially for the poorer sections of society.  It said that while the private sector has done an impressive job of harnessing some kinds of data – the kind that can be converted into a private profit – government intervention s required in areas where private investment in data remains inadequate.

It pointed out that the social sectors of the economy, such as education and healthcare, have lagged the commercial sectors in exploiting data. "Since the private sector cannot internalise the social benefits of data in these sectors, the market for data in these sectors has so far not developed.To ensure that the socially optimum amount of data is harvested and used, the government needs to step in, either by providing the data itself or correcting the incentive structure faced by the private sector, depending on the nature and sensitivity of the data. 

The survey states that the government already has a lot of data on citizens spread across different data sets and bringing it altogether would help the government to enhance ease of living for citizens, enable the evidence-based policy, and help the government with targetted welfare schemes.  

It also spoke about the importance of privacy and the inherent fairness of data being used. "The key difference in dealing with these different types of data is the knowledge and consent of the data principal. It is assumed that the processing of data will be in compliance with accepted privacy norms and the upcoming privacy law, currently tabled in Parliament.

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