Report

Open government data study: India
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India provides one of the most fascinating examples of the use of open government data in a developing country context. It has one of the best right to information laws in the world and the government’s approach to open data builds on this legacy of making open data relevant to Indian citizens. An estimated 456 million Indians live on less than $1.25 a day and a key issue for India, and other developing countries, is how open data can be accessible to them.

This paper reviews the progress being made towards open government data in India. Using case studies, it examines some of the pressing challenges facing the adoption of OGD in India. These include infrastructural problems, privacy concerns and the power imbalances that improved transparency can unwittingly create. It also examines government attitudes towards open data and related policies and reviews the relationships between open government data, the media and civil society

The authors argue that the Indian Government’s responsibility should not stop short at just providing information, but also extend to making it available and accessible in a way that facilitates analysis and enhances offline usability – and ultimately makes it accessible to the poorest.

The paper concludes by suggesting technical and policy strategies to develop, promote, implement and maintain a robust open government data policy in India.

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Report insights + takeaways

Government duty
The duty of the government cannot end merely at providing information, but must extend to making that information available in a form that facilitates analysis and enhances usability.
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Right to Information Act
Open data can be seen as a step in delivering the promises of the Right to Information Act, and a step towards greater transparency and, importantly, accountability.
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