The UK-India Business Council’s (UKIBC) latest report titled ‘Data: The foundation of intelligent economies. India’s data protection and the future of the UK-India Tech partnership’ calls for a Common Data Agreement (CDA) within the UK-India Tech Partnership. The partnership should include a business-led ‘data garage’ with data pooled from both countries exploring AI and associated technologies.

The UKIBC report suggests that business initiatives could be used to develop Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies in the priority sectors from NITI Aayog’s National Data Strategy: education, agriculture, healthcare, smart cities and infrastructure, and transportation.

Highlights from the UKIBC report

1. Recommendations for India’s draft Personal Data Protection Bill, including:

  • Cutting the power of the executive and moving exemption powers to the legislative
  • Separating the regulator from the enforcer and ensuring it is ‘fairly funded, truly independent, and tech-savvy’
  • An explicit reassurance that significant data localisation will only apply to sensitive data important to an individual’s personal identity or national security.

2. The governments of India and the UK must prioritise a Common Data Agreement that enables both countries to pool and transfer de-identified and anonymous big data freely; build shared infrastructure to house a ‘data garage’ that businesses, universities, charities, and authorities can access; and use sandbox protocols to encourage sharing and innovation.

3. AI in healthcare is a good starting point for collaboration as India needs 7.4 million healthcare professionals by 2022 – more than double the current workforce. The adoption of AI can significantly improve the efficiency, quality, cost, and reach of healthcare.

4. AI can deliver India’s healthcare through the use of descriptive, predictive and prescriptive AI. Most commonly used today, descriptive AI, is useful for monitoring trends in a patient’s condition that are otherwise hard to detect. Predictive AI uses descriptive data to make predictions about a patient’s condition and identify conditions early. Prescriptive AI furthers predictive AI by detecting trends that may not be predicted by humans, and suggests treatments. It can replace the need for a human decision maker whilst being subject to review by practitioners.

5. The main challenges for healthcare providers using data in India are consent for collection, ensuring clean and uniform data, and transfer across borders.

6. Cluster-to-cluster partnerships should be expanded to include leading states in technology such as Telangana and West Bengal, as well as current partnerships with Maharashtra and Karnataka.