The Indian government is taking steps to establish a separate entity called the National Data Management Office, as outlined in a draft Digital India Bill. This move is in response to the increasing importance of data, which is considered the new oil. With India being the world’s second-largest internet market, the government aims to effectively manage the data it generates while setting rules and regulations for non-personal and anonymized personal data.
The Indian government is proposing the establishment of a National Data Management Office to effectively manage and regulate non-personal and anonymized personal data. This entity will be responsible for developing data governance rules and ensuring inter-governmental data access. The office aims to standardize data management practices, collaborate with government ministries, and implement measures to protect citizen data.
Setting Up the National Data Management Office
The proposed National Data Management Office will operate under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and will be responsible for developing data governance rules in the country. The office will include separate data management units for different government departments and ministries that handle non-personal and anonymized data.
A major objective of the National Data Management Office is to establish a “standard mechanism” for inter-governmental data access. This will facilitate the sharing of data among government departments and ministries, enhancing efficiency and collaboration. The office will also collaborate with central government ministries and state governments to standardize data management practices.
Furthermore, the National Data Management Office will oversee the India Datasets program, which aims to collect large sets of non-personal and anonymized personal data from government ministries, departments, and private entities.
Ensuring Data Protection and Security
The proposed entity will address concerns raised by digital advocacy groups regarding interdepartmental data sharing. It is committed to formulating disclosure norms for data collection, storage, and access to safeguard citizen data. Standardization of technology adoption, online interfaces, cloud security, emerging technologies, and performance indicators will also be specified by the National Data Management Office.
The approach being taken by the Indian government with the National Data Management Office aligns with that of Saudi Arabia, where a similar entity exists under the Saudi Data & AI Authority (SDAIA) to manage data at the country level.
Replacing the Existing Legislation
While the proposed National Data Management Office will focus on data management and regulations for non-personal and anonymized personal data, the Indian government recently passed the Digital Personal Data Protection Act (PDF). This act aims to regulate digital personal data access and processing in the country.
If approved, the Digital India Bill will replace the Information Technology Act of 2000 and become a law. The government plans to table the bill in the parliament during the winter session later this year, following the necessary consultation process.