Karnataka govt forms panels as companies line up for citizen data

To allay fears of possible misuse, the government has formed two committees to regulate who can share and who can access the treasure trove of data
Last Updated 18 June 2022, 02:59 IST

Wipro, IBM and the country’s largest lender SBI are among companies that have approached the Karnataka government seeking access to citizen data through the e-Sahamati platform, which authorities are looking to popularise.

Launched in December 2021, state-owned e-Sahamati is said to be India’s first consent management platform that allows citizens to share their data with private or public companies and nonprofits using Aadhaar authentication.

To allay fears of possible misuse, the government has formed two committees to regulate who can share and who can access the treasure trove of data.

The first committee will approve the inclusion of data fiduciaries — any government organisation that collects and maintains citizen data — into the e-Sahamati platform.

The other committee will “scrutinise and approve” proposals seeking access to citizen data to make sure that private entities have the right “intent”.

Both committees have the power to revoke approvals given to data fiduciaries and data seekers.

At present, five Third Party Service Providers (TPSP) — Vasudhaika Software Pvt. Ltd (Kalgudi), 63ideas Infolabs Pvt Ltd (Ninjacart), Boomitra O2C Tech India Pvt Ltd, Hello Verify India Pvt Ltd and the Union Bank of India — have citizen data access approval on the platform.

According to the government's Centre for e-Governance, more are waiting in the wings, with Reliance, Canara Bank, UCO Bank and the Bank of India looking to become data seekers.

“We are now active with five TPSPs approved till date. The remaining are pending for approval,” e-Sahamati project director Shreevyas HM said.

Data seekers have to pay a one-time, non-refundable fee of Rs 50,000 to access citizen information.

Since its launch, the e-Sahamati platform has recorded 195 consents given by citizens, mostly farmers and students, to have their data accessed.

For farmers, the e-Sahamati uses the Farmer Registration & Unified Beneficiary Information System (FRUITS) database. And for students, the platform is linked to the National Academic Depository (NAD) so that they can share degrees and certificates with recruiters.

"While several companies are interested in e-Sahamati, we want to make the platform more known. We're considering working with farmers in one village and making them understand consent. Also, we're thinking of simplifying the consent mechanism itself," Shreevyas said.

The government is planning a public consultation next month to discuss citizen data-sharing.

(Published 17 June 2022, 20:17 IST)

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