Published on Digital Development

Using Open Data to drive innovation, collaboration and change in India

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ImageOpen Data has the potential to be a game-changing tool in poverty reduction and economic growth. The World Bank has been actively encouraging governments to become more transparent, more accountable to their citizens, less susceptible to corruption and better at delivering services.  

We often consult various partners – including governments, organizations and other implementers – on Open Data and its critical role in economic development and growth. The World Bank’s team of information and communication technology (ICT) and open data experts help explore the potential for forecasting national and global trends, while also unlocking opportunities for innovation and improved performance. These consultations serve as a crucial starting point in planning, implementation and correction of many government, private sector and civil society initiatives.

Since 2012, the Bank has organized a series of trainings on open data tools and online resources for users in government, economic research institutes, media, civil society, academia and the private sector. More than 3,000 stakeholders have been trained already in 10+ major cities of India. There is need to take this agenda forward especially in the low-income states where exposure to the Bank's resources is lower.

The latest workshop, titled “Open Data for Economic Growth and Prosperity”, was held on June 20 in India. The workshop convened 50 leading experts from the Government of India, national industries, academic institutions, prominent civil society organizations and the World Bank. Over the course of the day, we brainstormed ways to accelerate the adoption of Open Data in public works, as well as developing a robust ecosystem to foster innovation in the Open Data and Big Data domains.

While our team of experts presented best practice examples, the Indian government and industry representatives deliberated on ways to contextualize these practices for use in local and national contexts. During deliberations, the World Bank highlighted its commitment in the domain of Open Data through examples of how we’ve supported client governments, as well as ways we’ve disseminated knowledge and data to a wide variety of stakeholders.

At the workshop’s conclusion, participants agreed to catalyze the following activities in order to take the initiative to the next stage:

  • Create a virtual group for all workshop participants to discuss and finalize future courses of action, open to other stakeholders who wish to join this initiative;
  • Explore collaboration on assessment studies in selected Indian regions and sectors for opening up government data;
  • Evolve a framework, in collaboration with investor networks, to encourage innovation around Open Data and Big Data, as well as explore financing options in partnership with IFC and World Bank;
  • Work in tandem with key departments in the Government of India to host a national-level conference in the coming months to discuss a long-term strategy on Open Data.
Open Data can support and contribute to a government’s ambitious development goals, because it enables better understanding of government efforts among the citizens and enhances accountability. This workshop highlighted the Indian government’s commitment to working with the World Bank and other international and local partners to accelerate innovation around Open Data and Big Data for boosting shared prosperity and reducing poverty. 


Vikas Kanungo

Senior e-Government Consultant

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