What do you understand by Data Monetisation? What are the potential challenges posed by it? In your opinion, should governments monetise data?

Mentors Comments:
1. Define data monetisation – why it’s done and its benefits
2. Challenges posed by monetising data
3. Your opinion on sovereign role – both for and against the action
4. Any case studies, if available
5. Conclusion

Data monetization, a form of monetization, may refer to the act of generating measurable economic benefits from available data sources (analytics). Less commonly, it may also refer to the act of monetizing data services. Data monetization leverages data generated through business operations, available exogenous data or content, as well as data associated with individual actors such as that collected via electronic devices and sensors participating in the internet of things. 

The Economic Survey 2018-19 has highlighted the benefits-
Improved decision-making that leads to real time crowd sourced research, improved profits, decreased costs, reduced risk and improved compliance
 Being able to retrieve authentic data and documents instantly, governments can improve targeting in welfare schemes and subsidies by reducing both inclusion and exclusion errors.
 Datasets that utilise information across various datasets can also improve public service delivery. For example, cross-verification of the income tax return with the GST return can highlight possible tax evasion.
 The government can earn benefit from the private sector by levying a fee for access to datasets.

 Datasets may be sold to analytics agencies that process the data, generate insights, and sell the insights further to the corporate sector, which may in turn use these insights to predict demand, discover untapped markets or innovate new products.

 Citizens are the largest group of beneficiaries of the proposed data revolution. Consider the case of Digital Locker. Citizens no longer need to run from pillar to post to get “original” documents from the state such as their driving licence, Aadhaar card, PAN card, CBSE results, etc. These documents are critical in the life of every resident of India.

 Non-Banking Financial Company – Account Aggregator (NBFC-AA) announced by RBI, simply enables citizens to demand their data from various financial institutions in a machine-readable format, so that it can be used by them meaningfully.

 At present, there is no law that explicitly deals with monetisation of government or other data. The proposed Personal Data Protection Bill, in its last draft, does not deal with this issue comprehensively.
 Data collection is highly decentralised as different ministries collect this data separately. Therefore, each ministry only has a small piece of the jigsaw puzzle that is the individual/firm. The lack of a common identifier makes it difficult to consolidate information.
 Legal and social implications- The suggestion to sell data has not received with much enthusiasm by legal experts.
 Governments usually do not monetise citizen data, however such measures have been implemented. For instance, the Ministry of Road and Highways announced a policy for sale of vehicular registration data. This is concerning as India does not have any meaningful data protection law.
 Currently there are no specific provisions that prevent the government from granting private sector access to select public databases for commercial use.
 However there are two proposed legislations (Digital Information Security In Healthcare Bill, 2018, and the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018) pending in the Parliament which, if implemented in their current form, could have direct bearing on the proposed activity and the same could lead to a situation where the government may be directly violating its own laws by engaging in such activities, at least from the commercial perspective.
 It has been proved by research that there is no fully secure way of data anonymisation and it is possible to re-identify data, this means data of minors can get re-identified or misused.


Integration of Data: The government can deliver a better experience to the citizen by bringing disparate datasets scattered across various ministries together. If the information embedded in these datasets is utilised together, data offers potential to reduce targeting error in welfare schemes.
Privacy: It is very important to consider the privacy implications and inherent fairness of data being used. It is to be noted that different type of data requires different level of privacy process. Citizens must be given the options to opt out of divulging data to the government, where possible.
 The Justice A.P. Shah Committee has recommended a set of principles for a legal framework for protecting privacy.
Real Time Update: Updating of data should happen in real time and in such a way that one ministry’s engagement with the database does not affect other ministries’ access.
PPP: The government may also consider opening certain kinds of data to private players with all the necessary security safeguards.
 The private sector may be granted access to select databases for commercial use. Consistent with the notion of data as a public good, there is no reason to preclude commercial use of this data for profit.
 The datasets may be sold to analytics agencies that process the data, generate insights, and sell the insights further to the corporate sector, which may in turn use these insights to predict demand, discover untapped markets or innovate new product.

India has been at the forefront of the data and technology revolution that is unfolding. The benefits of creating data as public good can be generated within the legal framework of data privacy. Going forward, the data and information highway must be viewed as equally important infrastructure as the physical highways.

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sourav singh
sourav singh
3 years ago

Not checked

Kunal Aggarwal
3 years ago


3 years ago

Please check

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Murari Jha
Murari Jha
3 years ago


Vishwanath Pratap Singh
Vishwanath Pratap Singh
3 years ago

Question 2, Sir Please Review My Answer.

Prakhar Bharadwaj
Prakhar Bharadwaj
3 years ago


sahithya kasiraju
sahithya kasiraju
3 years ago

Payment ID: MOJO9802W00A98715356
Please review.

Amandeep Kaur
Amandeep Kaur
3 years ago


Ayush M
Ayush M
3 years ago