Tamil Nadu reaches another milestone, introduces Data Policy 2022

Tamil Nadu government recently introduced the state Data Policy 2022 with the theme of using “data for the public good.”
Tamil Nadu data policy

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Tamil Nadu government recently introduced the state Data Policy 2022 with the theme of using “data for the public good.” The policy aims to provide a framework for data owners within the Tamil Nadu government to make data accessible to all the stakeholders in a transparent manner while ensuring privacy and confidentiality that is in line with the existing laws. The execution and implementation of the policy would be watched over by a data governance committee headed by the chief secretary, who would provide strategic guidance for the policy framework. Further, the operational-level decisions will be made by the data inter-departmental committee, headed by the chief executive officer of Tamil Nadu e-Governance Agency (TNeGA), who would also act as the state’s chief data officer.

It may be noted that in February, the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) had released the draft data policy. Under the draft policy, the government-mandated the creation of a common searchable database; all government bodies would be liable to share data with each other. Another feature of this document was the proposal of the India Data Office (IDO) for streamlining and consolidating data access and sharing between stakeholders.

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Tamil Nadu Data Policy 2022

The policy document mentions that while the traditional paper-based governance systems have been replaced by e-Governance systems, a lot remains to be done when it comes to realising the true potential of data. This is mainly due to the limited access to systems and data in government, lack of a common guideline on data sharing and accessibility, limited use of data for impact assessment, monitoring, and mid-course corrections, difficulty in adopting a data-driven culture due to the absence of data-based governance.

Currently, the planning, service delivery, and policymaking are not data-driven; on the innovation and development side, this means that there isn’t enough data for public-private partnerships and also for carrying out cutting-edge research and academic excellence.

The state government will be carrying out the following tasks under this policy:

  • Developing protocols for sharing non-aggregate and anonymised data for specific situations
  • Prescribing a Metadata Catalogue for all data stored in government databases with ownerships clearly defined.
  • Devising a data architecture to permit and encourage cross-department data exchange
  • Addressing privacy and confidentiality concerns with respect to data sharing with non-governmental parties
  • Building standard processes for streamlining

TN’s AI Policy 2020

In 2020, the Edapaddi K Palaniswami-led Tamil Nadu government launched the Safe and Ethical Artificial Intelligence Policy 2020. With this, Tamil Nadu became the first state to have its AI policy. This framework was aimed towards building inclusive, safe and ethical use of AI in the government domain. It laid down the guidelines for evaluating AI systems before they are released for public use. 

Under the policy, the state government planned to create an AI sandbox for startups to encourage innovation in the field, which would otherwise deal with challenges like the high cost of computing and infrastructure for experimentation and algorithm development.

Under this policy, the state government recommended the Six-Dimensional TAM-DEF Framework to evaluate AI-based systems. Under this, the systems were audited under criteria like transparency, accountability and legal issues, misuse protection, fairness and equity, and data deficiency. All the AI solutions would be rated by the DEEP-MAX scorecard. 

In the past, too, the Tamil Nadu government has taken several measures to promote and encourage emerging technologies. In 2021, the government launched the Data Purity Initiative, under which all the data with the government departments were mandated to be shared with TNeGA. 

In 2019, the then TN CM Palaniswami announced the creation of the Centre of Excellence in Emerging Technologies in TNeGA for sharing and data exchange between government departments.

Tamil Nadu is one of the most progressive states in the country, which have been at the forefront of adopting and implementing emerging technologies like AI, blockchain, and data-based systems. Other states could take a leaf out of its book.

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Shraddha Goled
I am a technology journalist with AIM. I write stories focused on the AI landscape in India and around the world with a special interest in analysing its long term impact on individuals and societies. Reach out to me at shraddha.goled@analyticsindiamag.com.

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