In 2012 the Federal Government of India signed the National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy (NSDAP). The purpose of this document was to ensure that the vast amount of data collected by the government can be utilised for the socio-economic transformation of India.This was a step towards create more government transparency and accountability and engagement of citizens. The Department of Science & Technology (DST) is the nodal Department for overall co-ordination, formulation, implementation and monitoring of the policy.

Alk Mishra, Senior Technical Director of the National Informatics Center, INDIA, explaining the success factors for the Open Government Data (OGD) Platform India

As a first step Open Government Data Platform India (OGD) was created by the National Information Center (NIC), in collaboration with the US government. OGD is an open source portal, for Indian government departments and ministries to publish their datasets for easy and open access by citizens. The sources code is there to be reused by other governments and can be found at GitHub.

In order to start the data flow into the platform an implementation guideline was created in collaboration with the different platforms. Soon it was realized that having the guideline in place would not be enough to make the open data policy work. In each department a small open data team was founded, with a senior officer being in the lead. Each of these teams had to screen their own department for potential datasets that were meant to be published on the portal. For each data set workflows and data formats needed to be defined and security risks checked. The senior officer signs off the process and the data can be published at the portal using an API.

Due course 2013 the first datasets started to emerge on the portal. To stress the importance of the portal and to stimulate colleagues to publish more data hackathons were organised, with start-ups industries and other stakeholders to show the departments how their data could be used. Nowadays every 6 months workshops are being held to stimulate the impact of the portal and to codesign applications between industry and government people. Upcoming events can be found here. The fruits of these efforts after finalization can be found at the app gallery of the open data portal.

The initiation of ‘Open Data Champion’ category as part of the Digital India awards has provided the Open Data stakeholders, i.e. the various Departments and Ministries of Government, further impetus to contribute datasets to the OGD platform on a regular basis to enhance value and public service delivery.

The next step to is to provide visualization tools on top of the data portal to allow policy makers and citizens to use the data easily without having to learn complex data analysis techniques.