Digital page: Policy to ease non-personal data access

Tech thrust to simplify compliances, secure sharing of documents

Digital page Policy to ease non-personal data access
The minister also said the government would reduce 39,000 compliances and decriminalise 3,400 legal provisions to make it easier to do business and set up new companies in India. (File/Pixabay)

The Budget on Wednesday announced a slew of measures to ease data gathering by leveraging systems like Digilocker, Aadhaar and permanent account number (PAN). Steps have been taken to reduce compliance and smoothen know your customer (KYC) checks.

The finance minister announced ‘Entity Digilocker’ extending the app’s offering to MSMEs, charitable trusts and large organisations. So far, Digilocker was available only to individuals.

“An Entity Digilocker will be… towards storing and sharing documents online securely, whenever needed, with various authorities, regulators, banks and other business entities. To enable more fintech innovative services, the scope of documents available in Digilocker for individuals will be expanded,” the FM  said. 

Anurag Jain, co-founder, KredX, and executive committee member, Digital Lenders Association of India, said, “The move will reduce KYC costs significantly. Enterprise-level Digilocker has to be looked at from two angles. One, it’s a convergence of the digital rails like JAM Trinity  and  UPI.  Accessing authentic data will not only reduce the processing cost, but also reduce the probability of financial frauds. Next, this is also likely to give a push to fintech innovations under embedded finance.”

The minister also said the government would reduce 39,000 compliances and decriminalise 3,400 legal provisions to make it easier to do business and set up new companies in India.

The idea will also be furthered by the government’s plan to use PAN as a single identifier for all digital systems of government agencies, instead of having different identifiers like the goods and services tax identification number (GSTIN), taxpayer identification number (TIN), tax deduction account number (TDA), employees’ provident fund organisation (EPFO).

“Other than simplifying the KYC process, the move is also expected to enhance financial inclusion for individuals and business owners. With a vision to make Digital India, it’s a win-win, one-size-fits-all solution,” said Kumar Shekhar, deputy country manager, TIDE, a London-based fintech platform.

Providing some support to startups, the minister, in her speech on Wednesday, said the government would also be implementing a National Data Governance Policy  “to unleash innovation and research by startups and academia”. Essentially, a portal to provide access to non-personal and/ or anonymised data to Indian researchers and startups will be put in place.

“The big challenge with AI/ML is access to data, for you to be able to run algorithms and validate the outcomes, you need humongous amounts of data. For startups in this space you do not have wherewithal to get access to data. The ability to have access to anonymised data will be a phenomenal capability that really should help overall AI/ML research, outcomes, solutions, companies,” said Pankit Desai, CEO and co-founder, Sequretek, a cybersecurity firm.

In September last year, the ministry of electronics and information technology, had also sought fresh inter-ministerial consultations on its data anonymisation guidelines. The new draft does not have provisions for data monetisation.

The government will also build the India datasets programme, consisting of non-personal and anonymised data points collected from its own entities. Even private entities will be encouraged to share such data.

The minister also said the government will chalk out plans for a National Digital Library  (NDL) for children and adolescents. “A National Digital Library will be set up for facilitating availability of quality books across geographies, languages, genres and levels, and device agnostic accessibility. States will be encouraged to set up physical libraries for them at panchayat and ward levels and provide infrastructure for accessing the resources,” the FM said.

Mayank Kumar, co-founder and managing director of edtech startup upGrad, welcomed the move. “The NDL has the potential of accelerating the adoption of digital learning significantly, especially across Tier 3 cities, rural or remote regions. It is aptly timed…”

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First published on: 02-02-2023 at 02:40 IST