The Narendra Modi-led Indian government has time and again emphasised that India needs to leverage the power of data to unlock innovations and push the digital economy forward. Taking it a step further, the Indian government has been working on a National Data and Analytics Platform (NDAP) to let stakeholders access government data in a democratic and open manner.
The Niti Aayog has released the vision document for the NDAP, which specifies that the platform will contain the latest datasets from several government departments and will also provide tools for analytics and visualisation of the said data.
During the launch, Niti Aayog’s vice-chairman, Rajiv Kumar, said that the National Data and Analytics Platform will ensure that the data is “assured, consistent, coherent and credible.” Reiterating Prime Minister Modi’s line, Kumar added that as data has become the new gold, therefore, Niti Aayog has decided to modernise the data system.
As per the vision document, “The NDAP shall be designed and operated such that it functions as a search engine for retrieving the data hosted on it. The retrieval and display of data shall be in accordance with good industry practices followed by other eminent websites operating in India and abroad.”
Moreover, it also highlighted that the users will be able to search for content across several categories — sector, indicator and location — from text search to map-based search and datasets. Moreover, the platform will also be enabled to optimise searches for the users based on their search history on the platform and datasets they have accessed.
The National Data and Analytics Platform website will be open to the public and will have accessibility features for visually-impaired users, audio and video tutorials in Hindi and English and datasets in multiple languages. Moreover, the NDAP will allow users to “follow” a sector, dataset and location they’re interested in. Whenever there is an update in any of these datasets, users will receive an alert.
The vision document also noted, “The [appointed] consultant shall ensure that the NDAP system is protected against natural disasters, software failures, human error, and other contingencies that could interrupt services.” To ensure this, Niti Aayog will include a disaster recovery plan along with setting up other security mechanisms to do so.
Besides this, Niti Aayog is also pushing for data accuracy and legitimacy. This is especially crucial as the Indian government scrapped several reports on various economic indicators citing data inaccuracy.
As per media reports from December 2019, Niti Aayog’s Kumar has held at least two meetings with the ministry of statistics and programme implementation (MoSPI), to discuss preventing leaks and establishing a strong data collection system.