What’s the news: India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) wants to set up a National Government Cloud to store sensitive government and defence-related data locally, MoneyControl reported on November 14.
Why does this matter: The government has been pushing for data localisation in recent years citing the economic benefits as well as the security advantages. The National Government Cloud will be the first major effort by the government towards the localisation of government data.
“India’s average data consumption per user per month increased from 0.8 GB in 2015 to 17 GB in 2022. The massive amount of data being generated can have benefits as well as security and privacy concerns. Data-gathering practices are often opaque and complicated, with users having little control over them. In addition, misuse of sensitive data such as, Government and defence-related data has led to working on solutions for data localization.” — National Informatics Centre (NIC) remarked in the request for proposal (RFP) document
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How will the National Government Cloud work: According to MoneyControl, the government will build a network of hyper-scale data centres to create the National Government Cloud. “These data centre campuses, each with a capacity of 200 MW, will be set up in various locations across the country through a public-private partnership (PPP) model. The NIC will serve as the project’s technical partner,” the report stated.
The data centres are expected to support the following functions:
- Personal data management
- Email and file sharing
- Productivity applications
- Customer relationship management
- Enterprise resource planning and databases
- Big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning
- Virtual desktops, communications, and collaboration
What next: MeitY is looking for a Program Management Agency to undertake this project. The agency will have to submit a detailed project report, following which an international bidding process to select a PPP partner to build the infrastructure will begin.
Data localisation and the PDP Bill: The Personal Data Protection Bill, which was withdrawn in August, included various provisions on data localisation and was the government’s best effort at mandating data localisation. But tech companies asked the government to relax the data localisation rules, and the eventually the government withdrew the Bill acknowledging that data localisation, among other provisions, went beyond the scope of data protection.
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