Open Data in India

These days my work mainly involves around government data (or the data that I assume govt should provide). You must have already seen the open data initiatives by both USA (Data.Gov) and UK( governments. I am not sure how good or the bad the data is but the initiative as such is a great move. For that matter it is not just countries but the cities like London have opened up their data. I think its high time for democracies like India to open up the data. Well at least the govt bodies of so called silicon valley of India, Bangalore's BBMP or GOK to begin with.

Imagine raw data you will get to play around, its programmers heaven. Imagine the kind of mashups we can build with election results and geo data. As of today even though we have some kind of data on-line. Its very distributed, not open and of course not developer friendly.

What we need today is an open data initiative, where GOI and state/local govts can publish data in a developer friendly format. Even though I am not an expert, by developer friendly I mean, open standard, online, search-able, semantic data. Unfortunately in India it might take years for Govt to come up with such a plan. So as active citizens, how can we force the govt to that? or should it be taken up by an NGO or Society? or should we the citizens start a simple community project of collecting and publishing data?

Btw as an interim solution I am bookmarking all the Govt related data on delicious with #open-data-india. Feel free to tag/comment more about available data.

1. Paper on Open government data study: India is an interesting read. I was interviewed for this paper.
2. Check for data enthusiasts and also google group for related discussions.

13 Responses

  1. Hari says:

    Having open data is a good idea, but privacy is something that is a concern. Even the sites in US or UK need to have some form of a privacy control so that not too much individual information is exposed. In a country like India, we should be careful even about the kind of data we expose because it can be used by anti social and terrorist elements.

    I remember seeing a website that showed the position of a train in near real time, this was owned or affiliated with the railways mind you, and that kind of info makes sense – we all have used such sites when we are abroad. But put it in the indian context of security concerns and misuse and it suddenly sounds scary.

    I dont mean to be a scaremonger but i feel perhaps we should first educate people on the importance of handling such data carefully and then put in place trip wires that can detect and mitigate possible threats arising out of the same.

  2. S Anand says:

    Two friends of mine are meeting someone in the Govt in a couple of days, and I’ll see if we can start it off with at least one Ministry.

    In the meantime, why not set up a website and start off with it? To begin with, just adding links and organising it like a portal might do the job. And then we can add actual content.

  3. Thanks for this post guru. Keep updating delicious.

    Citizens / community may not always help in data collection of advanced form.

  4. Good effort!

    The Ministry of Statistics has a “National Data Bank”:

  5. Akshay Surve says:

    Thej, do take a look at :) We are a group of programmers unlocking gov data for other programmers!

  6. Thejesh GN says:

    @Akshay Surve : Thanks for the tip @akshay, we are looking at it. I will update you about it.

  7. Bruce says:

    Thej, do take a look at :) We are a group of programmers unlocking gov data for other programmers!

  8. Rahul says:

    Open Governance Initiative for India – is an effort led by leading public policy professionals, data scientists and researches to enable participatory governance in India.

    This site keeps getting update with new data and more datasets are being added as we speak.

    Need I say more, Here are the links. Enjoy :)

  9. neeta verma says:

    government of india has notified its national data sharing and accessibility policy.. can be accessed at following

  10. Chandrashekhar says:

    Great to see a group of open data enthusiasts in India.. Is anyone familiar with where the Open Government Platform being advocated by Sam Pitroda is headed.. appreciate any pointers

  11. Hi,
    Gr8 post been trying to dig some historical posts like these . @chandrasekhar yes the is doing good and hope to see it grow more in near future .


  1. February 24, 2010

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