Indo-German discussion round on data policy


Dr Rudolf Gridl, Director General of the Central Department at the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV), recently visited India. On March 6, he participated in a roundtable discussion on current data policy frameworks. The Secretariat for the Indo-German Digital Dialogue and the German Embassy New Delhi jointly organised the event. Participants from think tanks, academia and the private sector painted a holistic picture on the state of data policy in India and related opportunities and challenges.

The participants exchanged on data policy frameworks in India and Germany. © Digital Dialogues-GIZ

Data policy is one of the core cooperation topics within the Indo-German Digital Dialogue. Thus, the roundtable contributed to the ongoing exchange between interested stakeholders.

Right at the beginning of the discussion, the participants stressed that adequate digital literacy and data protection measures are important when accelerating data collection and access. Those measures can mitigate the risks of a data-driven governance and economy. The lively discussion then evolved around digital public platforms, digital policy architectures and the role of the Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) bill for future data management in India.

Digital public platforms for better service delivery

The Indian government has developed a variety of digital public platforms in recent years. They offer a simplified and improved management of data and help to deliver services to citizens. The roundtable participants discussed how these platforms have developed and might develop in the future.

Dr Gridl elaborates on the data policy architecture in Germany. © Digital Dialogues-GIZ

The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and blockchain technologies for digital public platforms were of particular interest. These technologies have enhanced efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery. At the same time, policymakers are aware of privacy and cybersecurity issues. The experts agreed that a privacy-by-design approach is imperative in the development of digital public platforms.

The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill – new rules, new game?

India has set a remarkable pace in developing and implementing digital innovations and becoming a digital economy. The participants mentioned that regulation needs to keep up. Therefore, the DPDP bill as well as an updated cybersecurity legislation are in the works in India.

Dr Gridl pointed out that Germany has a resilient legal framework with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). However, it must be ensured that it remains innovation friendly.

The experts agreed that the DPDP bill will significantly impact how India manages digital personal data. It will be part of the overall Indian digital policy architecture and will affect the set-up of digital public platforms. The roundtable provided the opportunity to discuss how access, processing and security of data will change.

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