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DH Exclusive | Karnataka ready to monetise public data

With its own policy, Karnataka joins a select club of states — Telangana, Odisha, Sikkim and Punjab — in having an open data regime
harath Joshi
Last Updated : 19 October 2021, 09:10 IST
Last Updated : 19 October 2021, 09:10 IST
Last Updated : 19 October 2021, 09:10 IST
Last Updated : 19 October 2021, 09:10 IST

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Karnataka will allow monetisation of a treasure trove of citizen data available at its disposal by anonymising personal details under its new open data policy, as the government looks to take advantage of increasing digitalisation to provide "effective governance".

Notified recently and reviewed by DH, the Karnataka Open Data Policy governs the use of public data. The policy classifies name, address, ID details and religion as personal data. “Only anonymised data could be shared and monetised,” the policy states.

What this means is: any organisation, institution (educational or research), corporate body, the private agency registered in India and operational for 24 months can ink an agreement with the government, including a non-disclosure pact, and buy data to make business decisions.

“In Karnataka, we know where schools and hospitals are located," Shreevyas HM, project director of the Karnataka Open Data Interface at the Centre for e-Governance, told DH, explaining how monetisation works.

"We also know the literacy rates, disease and patient details. So, data on an area with a high population but low literacy where there aren’t good schools may be purchased to identify where a school or hospital can be opened."

Giving an example, he pointed out how the Ministry of Transport had monetised information on vehicles that Ola and Uber have purchased.

With its own policy, Karnataka joins a select club of states — Telangana, Odisha, Sikkim and Punjab — in having an open data regime.

The state government is sitting on a vast collection of citizen data. The new policy classifies data based on its intended usage: shareable data, sensitive data (that can be disclosed only on a need-to-know basis) and restricted data (that can cause a threat to life or loss of public assets, accessible only through a prescribed process of registration and authorisation).

“...growing digitalisation in Karnataka has increased the quantities of different forms of data and information being generated...Sharing of data is imperative to facilitate effective and transparent governance,” the policy states, adding that the government aims to “tap the power of data”.

The policy requires every department to have a chief data officer (CDO), who will be the owner of departmental data. “All heads of departments have been told to strictly direct the CDOs to publish datasets in the Karnataka Open Data Interface portal,” Shreevyas said.

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Published 18 October 2021, 18:56 IST

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