The government is planning to make health, education and financial data  collected from more than 4,000 urban local bodies under its Smart Cities Mission  public by 2024 and eventually monetising it, reports The Hindu. The government will start with an open data platform for 100 cities under the mission and expand it to cover data from 500 cities by 2022, the report said. By 2024, all urban centres would be covered in this platform. Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs’ (MoHUA) India Urban Data Exchange – set up for the Smart Cities project – will be expanded, and eventually become a “marketplace”, the report continues.

The open data platform right now: Currently, the open data platform has 2,783 data catalogues from 99 Smart Cities, and by 2020, all data sets for the smart cities would be available, per the report. By 2024, cities will have data officers and data coordinators as well, according to the report.

The open data platform in the future: The India Urban Data Exchange will eventually be used as a means of transferring data between urban local bodies, private sector, academia and civil society, according to the report. A non-disclosure agreement would have to be signed by these stakeholders for the same, the report continues.

How can this data be used? MoHUA suggested that anonymised bulk data on mobility can be used by advertisers to put up advertisement hoardings at areas where there’s more traffic congestion as a possible use case of the data collected, the report said. For now, the ministry is ensuring that cities become “mature” in dealing with this kind of data, adds the report. It also said that datasets are already being used by companies.

What’s up with the Smart Cities project? As of now, Smart Cities’ projects worth Rs 19,041 crore have been completed, and tenders for new projects would be issued by March 2020, the report said; by June 2020, projects worth ₹50,000 crore would be completed.

Data as a commercial asset: The government has proposed creating a central database repository in the Economic Survey 2018-19 – where several ministries would be responsible for making available the data they hold as a data provider. Select data from this repository will also be sold to private companies and analytics agencies, according to the Survey.

  • The Road Transport ministry has already sold vehicle registration data to 142 public and private entities. Read our coverage here.