Govt ready to share classified water data at a cost

Govt ready to share classified water data at a cost

Amid a raging debate over greater transparency, the government is ready to part with classified hydrological data at a cost, provided the user is able to convince a panel about the requirement.

Both Indian and foreign users can apply for the classified water data.
While "Indian non-commercial users" will be provided with the information free of cost, "Indian commercial and foreign users" will be provided the classified hydro data at a cost of Rs 75,000 per site, per annum.

The classified data will be released for a specific purpose or study and will be non-transferable.

According to the just released Hydro-meteorological Data Dissemination Policy, 2013, there is a ban on reproduction of the classified data in any report or publication or detailed project report.

"Only result of analysis and inferences drawn thereof should be published," says the policy prepared by the Ministry of Water Resources.

In a bid to make the process of disseminating the classified data stringent, the policy has proposed a two-stage process.

Those seeking to use the data will have to approach a designated chief engineer of the Central Water Commission (CWC) with a secrecy undertaking.

The official would first verify the authenticity of the user, the purpose for which the data has been requested and the minimum amount of data required for the purpose.
He will forward the request along with his recommendations to the 'Classified Data Release Committee' which will take a final call on the issue.

The committee will have four senior officials of the Water Resources ministry and one representative of the Ministry of External Affairs Ministry.

The policy admits that one of the reasons behind sharing data is the "increasing demand" by the community that statistics collected using public funds should be made "more readily available to all for facilitating rational debate, better decision making and in meeting society's needs".

From the point of view of data dissemination, the nation has been divided into three regions: Region-I: Indus basin and other rivers and their tributaries discharging into Pakistan; Region-II: Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna basin and other rivers and their tributaries discharging into Bangladesh/Myanmar; and Region-III: Remaining other rivers and their tributaries.

According to the policy, while the data of Region-I and II are classified, the data of Region-III is unclassified.

The reservoir water level, live storage position, water quality, groundwater and meteorological data for all regions are also unclassified.

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