Glimpses of the Workshop on Open Government Data & Civic Engagement

Thursday, April 4, 2013 to Thursday, April 4, 2013
Closed

NIC (National Informatics Centre) conducted a one-day Workshop for Data Controllers on April 4, 2013 at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. All nominated Nodal Officers (Data Controllers) from Ministries and Departments were invited. There was a panel discussion on NDSAP implementation issues with the following distinguished panelists:-

  • Dr. Pronab Sen, Chairman NSC
  • Shri J. Satyanarayana, Secretary (DeitY)
  • Dr. Y.K. Sharma, DG, NIC
  • Dr. R Siva Kumar, CEO, NSDI

The recommendations of the Panel Discussions are elaborated below:-

  • In order to acknowledge the ministries/departments to proactively release their datasets in an open format on the Data Portal India, “Contributor Award” for the Ministries/Departments should be conferred.
  • Launch the Challenges and Civic Engagement for potential Apps around Government Data.
  • Roll-out, hand-holding could be carried out for the Ministries/Departments in a Project Mode.
  • Promotion of this initiative at different forums to be carried out to reach out to the targeted audience.
  • Establishment of NDSAP Cell should be expedited by departments.
  • The Data Controllers on transfer/retirement should hand over the responsibility of Open Government Data Program also to his/her successor as well as inform about the change to the NDSAP PMU.
  • Regular Review every month at department level and quarterly review at intra-departmental level.
  • Community Developed Apps could be published on the Data Portal India, http://data.gov.in 
  • Data Controller henceforth would be termed as Data Manager.

NIC (National Informatics Centre) conducted a one-day Workshop for Data Controllers on April 4, 2013 at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. All nominated Nodal Officers (Data Controllers) from Ministries and Departments were invited.

The workshop began with a welcome address by Ms. Alka Mishra, Sr. TD, NIC followed by an address by Dr. Y. K. Sharma, Director General, NIC, highlighting about the NDSAP Policy, the Data Portal India, responsibilities of the stakeholders and the community engagement for the development of Apps. Dr. T. Ramasami, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology (DST) delivered the inaugural speech. The issues faced by Ministries/Departments in publishing of data and the benefits of Open Data to the society at large were briefly discussed. As a part of the NDSAP requirement, Data Controllers were advised to submit the Negative List to the Department of Science & Technology; else it would be considered that all datasets of the Department could be shared in Open Format. Importance of Importance of Open Government Data, Community Engagement with Open Government Data was also highlighted.

Shri Rajiv Gauba, Additional Secretary, DeitY and Dr. B.K. Gairola, Mission Director, e-Gov delivered the keynote addresses on the occasion. Shri Gauba quoted “Data is the new Raw Materials in this Century” and global scenario on Open Government Data during his keynote address. He stressed upon more and more datasets to be published barring those concerning national security and individual’s privacy; Open Data policy, its global importance and implementation among all government departments; need for awareness and sensitization within the ministry and department to change the mindset by Data Controllers for open data sharing and accessibility; importance of quality data for the research and development and public at large. He also cited the example on the launch of 12th Five Year Plan Hackathon, organized by Planning Commission, which should encourage stakeholders viz. Government, Entrepreneurs, Civic Societies, Academia’s, etc. for development of different applications and suggest innovative ideas for public good. Dr. B.K. Gairola emphasized on the key role of social media and community participation in strengthening the Open Government initiative.  He emphasized that engaging communities would create a back pressure to the government to release good datasets.

The overview of Data Portal India as well as its status was presented by Mrs. Neeta Verma, Deputy Director General, NIC. She talked about building a mechanism for the Ministry/Department to push their new datasets to the Data Portal directly from their websites and eGov applications. The importance of Open Government platform was highlighted.

The Process and Procedure of publishing Datasets on the Data Portal was demonstrated by Ms. Alka Mishra & Mr. D. P. Misra, NIC. Various features and functionalities as well as capability of visualization, sharing modes, feedback provisions etc. were highlighted.

The best practices for geospatial data was explained by Dr. R Siva Kumar, CEO, NSDI.  Dr. Pronab Sen, Chairman, National Statistical Commission talked about statistical open data benefits that can be reaped from it. Dr. Sen emphasized capacity building and said similar workshops should be regularly conducted at the department level.

It was followed by the keynote address by Shri J. Satyanarayana, Secretary (DeitY) providing various suggestions around improving the quality and quantity of the datasets viz.

  • Performance of departments, programs and its trends
  • Engagement of civil societies
  • Contributor Award  to be initiated to promote release of datasets by the Ministries/Departments
  • Launch of Challenges and Civic  Engagement  on public usage for community developed Apps and services
  • Promotion of this initiative at different forums to make the portal reach out to the targeted audience

There was a panel discussion on NDSAP implementation issues with the following distinguished panelists

  • Dr. Pronab Sen, Chairman NSC
  • Shri J. Satyanarayana, Secretary (DeitY)
  • Dr. Y.K. Sharma, DG, NIC
  • Dr. R Siva Kumar, CEO, NSDI

The panel enlightened the Data Controllers on various steps to be taken to drive the initiative to success and also addressed the various implementation issues faced and highlighted by different participants during the workshop. Issues around budgeting and resourcing were also discussed.  It was recommended that in project mode the roll-out, hand-holding as well as promoting the Open Government Data initiative should be carried out for the departments. The department should review the Open Government Data initiative monthly and there should be quarterly intra-departmental review. The Data Controllers on transfer/retirement should hand over the responsibility of Open Government Data Program also to his/her successor as well as inform about the change to the NDSAP PMU. The nomenclature “data controller” should be termed as “Data Manager”.

This session was followed by an interactive session with various stakeholders from the communities from diverge backgrounds viz. entrepreneurs, journalists, academia, researchers, application developers, students and representatives from various sectors of the government. Mr. A. K. Mathur, Deputy Director General and Data Controller for the D/o Chemicals and Petrochemicals gave a brief demonstration on the datasets published by the department and its potential for usage for public good. An overview on the different kinds of datasets published on the Data Portal and its potential usage was provided by Mr. D. P. Misra, NIC who also explained the various features imparted in the portal to enhance its utilization for all stakeholders. There was a 360 degree discussion around what more could be provided on the portal and what is expected as a contribution from the community.

Program Schedule of Open Government Data & Civic Engagement
Date: 4th April ’13 (Thursday)
Venue : Gulmohar Hall, Entry Gate No 3, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi
1 09.30–09.55 AM Registration
2 09.55–10.00 AM Welcome Address:

Alka Mishra, Sr. TD, NIC

3 10.00–10.15 AM Address:

Dr. Y. K. Sharma, Director General, NIC

Inaugural Address:

Dr. T. Ramasami, Secretary (DST)

4 10.15–10.45 AM Keynote Address:

Shri Rajiv Gauba, Additional Secretary, DeitY

Dr. B. K. Gairola, Mission Director, e-Gov

5 10.45–11.00 AM Tea Break
6 11.00–11.20 AM Data Portal India: An Overview & Status:

Neeta Verma, DDG, NIC

7 11.20–11.45 AM Release of Datasets: Process & Procedure

Alka Mishra, Sr. TD, NIC & Durga Prasad Misra, PSA, NIC

8 11.45–12.00 PM Open Geospatial Data:

Dr. R Siva Kumar, CEO, NSDI

9 12.00–12.15 PM Open Statistical Data:

Dr. Pronab Sen, Chairman, National Statistical Commission

10 12.15–01.15 PM Panel Discussion – NDSAP Implementation Issues

  • Dr. Pronab Sen, Chairman NSC
  • Shri J. Satyanarayana, Secretary (DeitY)
  • Dr. Y.K. Sharma, DG, NIC
  • Dr. R Siva Kumar, CEO, NSDI
11 01.15–01.30 PM Keynote Address:

Shri J. Satyanarayana, Secretary (DeitY)

12 01.30–02.30 PM Lunch
13 03.00–04.00 PM Community Interaction : Potential Apps around Government Data
14 04.00–04.30 PM Tea

Participants from Community having affiliations to TISS, IBM, JUXT, CyberMedia, DataMeet Group, FOSS Events, Centre for Internet Society, AKVO, GMID among others actively participated during the Civic Engagement Session of the NDSAP Workshop for Data Controllers.

Discussion on Promotion:

  • There is an immediate need for promotion of the Data Portal
  • Data cannot be used to its potential unless involvement of communities are encouraged
  • There is a need to communicate the concept of open data sharing in various forums
  • An overview on the different kinds of datasets uploaded on the Data Portal was given
  • Linked open data utilization and use cases on Heath Dataset were presented by one of the participant
  • Business/Economic Perspective should be promoted to Open Government Data through tie-up with start-ups entrepreneurs.

Discussion on Data Controllers:

  • Community people should be able to get prompt response from the Data Controllers regarding any query on their datasets on Data Portal.
  • Developers should be encouraged to build applications around the datasets through competitions/ challenges.  Ministries/Departments should actively participate in this activity. 
  • Good quality datasets uploaded to Data Portal would add interest and value to the community
  • It would be a good practice to add new dataset or update the uploaded file whenever required, in case published datasets. There is no need to remove the older version of the published dataset from the portal.
  • Opening up of the complete and quality government data and its proper use can have several socio-economic advantages
  • Openness of the data creates the medium for openness

Discussion on Data Portal Features:

  • Developers/Visualizers/Programmers/Researchers would initiate online discussions on Data Portal India through its Community Forums.
  • There should be a platform on Data Portal to showcase apps/visualizations developed by the people
  • It would be a good practice to assign a timestamp in the metadata element while updating/ adding a new column or a new row or a value to convey about the changes made to data file. The developer to deal with the changes while building updates to his/her application.
  • An idea to include “Data Request” instead of “Suggestion” on the Data Portal.

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