Large volumes and different types of data, including some of scientific and technical relevance are generated and compiled by various arms of the Government of India and various State Governments for meeting their specific requirements. Scientific organizations generate data and develop scientific data bases deploying huge public funds. Since such data are not generated under any standardized format, inter-operability of both scientific and technical data poses a serious challenge. Global experience has demonstrated convincingly that access to data leads to breakthroughs in scientific understanding as well as to economic and public good, in addition to several benefits to civil society. Given the deployment of substantial level of investment of public funds in collection of data and the untapped potentials of benefits to social society, it has become important to make available non-sensitive data for legitimate and registered use.
Keeping in view the emphasis of the Government on engaging citizens in Governance Reforms, placing of non-strategic data in public domain and the provisions of RTI Act 2005 for empowering the citizens to secure access to information under the control of public authority leading to the transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority, the National Policy on Data Sharing and Accessibility (NPDSA) is being brought out. The National Policy will increase the accessibility and easier sharing of non-sensitive data amongst the registered users and their availability for scientific, economic and social developmental purposes. Detailed Policy document will be prepared within six months. All the data holding organizations will be re-classifying their data and prepare a negative list of sensitive data, keeping in view, the broad guidelines delineated in the RTI Act 2005. This list will be periodically reviewed to see whether the data should remain in the restricted category or not. Efforts will also be made to convert the analogue data into digital domain within the set time frame.
Department of Science & Technology (DST) would be the Nodal Department for all matters connected with overall co-ordination, formulation, implementation and monitoring of the policy. For Geospatial Data, existing National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) mechanism involving both Department of Space and Department of Science & Technology would be used for any conflict resolution. Ministries/Departments of Government of India while releasing funds to State Governments and other Institutions including Central/State Universities put down a condition, the data generated using such funds would come under the purview of this Policy.