IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 2nd Sep 2020

If you can’t, you must. If you must, you can.– Tony Robbins

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Editorial Hunt is an initiative to dilute major Editorials of leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Here we choose two editorials on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC MAINS 2020.

EDITORIAL HUNT #121 :“Gopalakrishnan Committee Report | UPSC

Gopalakrishnan Committee Report | UPSC

Parminder Jeet Singh

Gopalakrishnan Committee Report | UPSC

Parminder Jeet Singh works with the Bangalore-based NGO IT for Change. He is a member of the Gopalakrishnan Committee.


Treating data as commons


If everyone gets greater access to non-personal data, they can develop their digital businesses or other activities with it

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : 3 : Right to Privacy : Technology : Data Infrastructure : Big Data : AI : Information and Technology



  • Importance of data
  • Competition and Digital War
  • Gopalakrishnan Committee Recommendations


The Gopalakrishnan Committee set up by the government on developing a governance framework for non-personal data recently put out its draft report for public consultation.

  • AIM  : The report’s main purpose is to ensure wide sharing and availability of data in society.
  • OBLIGATIONS : To ensure that companies share the required data, it was found necessary to develop strong conceptual and legal basis for data-sharing requirements.

UNDERSTANDING BASICS : To understand why data sharing is needed we must first recognise the infrastructural nature of data.

  • FAIR DIGITISATION : The idea was to ensure widespread availability of such infrastructural elements to all, and avoid wasteful duplications.



  • SUBSIDISED SERVICES : The digital age came with useful digital services that everyone lapped up with free services .
  • DOMINANT GROUPS : Digital corporations have begin to dominate all sectors, including important ones such as education and health.
  • GLOBAL MONOPOLIES : Very few corporations have vertically integrated all the digital components involved in delivery of any digital service is the reason for their becoming such huge global monopolies.

Seven out of the top 10 companies globally today have a data-centric model.

  • UNSUSTAINABLE CONCENTRATION : Such unsustainable concentration of digital power has a significant geopolitical dimension, with complete domination globally of U.S. and Chinese companies.
  • CHOKING COMPETITION : At the national level its deleterious effect is of exploitation of consumers and small economic actors, and of strangulating competition and innovation.

There are calls worldwide to break up Big Tech; to moderate their monopoly power

  • KEY COMPONENTS : There are two key infrastructural components of a digital economy: data and cloud computing.


  • The Gopalakrishnan report focuses on the infrastructural element of data.

Infrastructures are to be equitably provided for all businesses.

  • Data have similar characteristics.
  • Today, dominant digital corporations are building exclusive control over any sector’s data as their key business advantage.
  • Start-ups try to ape the same mode.

What is needed, however, is to treat data as infrastructure, or ‘commons’, so that data are widely available for all businesses.

  • The digital businesses then shift their key business advantage from exclusive access to devising digital services for consumers’ benefit.


  • VISION : The Gopalakrishnan committee takes such an infrastructural view of data.
  • OWNERS OF DATA : Data collected from various communities are considered to be ‘owned’ by the relevant community.
  • DATA OWNERSHIP : Such ‘community ownership’ means that the data should be shared back with all those who need it in society, whether to develop domestic digital businesses or for producing important digital public goods.

With a robust domestic data/AI industry, dependence on U.S. and Chinese companies will reduce.

      IASbhai Windup: 


  • CONCEPT : It is for these purposes that the Gopalakrishnan committee proposes the concept of ‘community data’.
  • SHARING BASIS : Only the data collected from non-privately owned sources, from society or community sources, have to be shared when requested for.
  • PRIVATE SECTOR : Data from privately owned sources remain private.
  • COMMUNITY TRUSTEES : Since a community requires a legally recognisable body to articulate its data ownership claim, the committee introduces the concept of community trustees that could be various bodies representative of the community.

India is the first country to come up with a comprehensive framework in this area.

  • DATA CUSTODY : Data collectors are considered as data custodians that will use and secure data as per the best interests of the community concerned.
  • DATA INFRASTRUCTURE : Data trusts are data infrastructures that will enable data sharing, sector-wise, or across sectors, and which can be run by various kinds of third-party bodies.
  • LEGAL BACK UP : The committee recommends a new legislation, because ensuring and enforcing data sharing will require sufficient legal backing.
  • REGULATING DATA : A Non-Personal Data Authority is also envisaged to enable and regulate all the envisaged data-sharing activities.

Starting early is so important in digital age and governance area may just provide a formidable first move .

       SOURCES:   THE HINDU EDITORIAL| Gopalakrishnan Committee Report | UPSC

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