Data are critical to change the world we live in. Data play a pivotal role to generate evidence as well as to take decision in both public and private sector. In the context of Bangladesh, open government data is critical to ensure effective public services. There are huge government and private sector data that can contribute in decision making for policy makers as well as for common citizen. Also, open data and open government data can support policy reform and ensure transparency and citizen participation. The release of data in open data formats has been established to be a driver in terms of better public service, economic growth, job creation, research and innovation, which itself has been identified as one of the primary drivers of development. In this regard, the initiative of developing open data portal has been taken and the open government portal was launched in 2016. In this portal, there are publicly available datasets from more than 35 Ministries and related agencies.
An OGD Initiative is a supportive initiative to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 16, ‘to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels’ and its targets. It is indeed, access to more and better data is a crosscutting issue and a pre-condition for the achievement of all 17 SDGs and their targets. Considering the importance of data openness, the government of Bangladesh with the technical support of a2i programme has taken the initiative to establish a portal for opening the government data to the citizen. By making the government data open to all, the government aims to: encourage the development of innovative solutions for better public service delivery; enhance scope of research to identify and develop innovative solutions; create opportunities for new jobs and more investment; and make government more transparent and accountable.
However, the aim of this portal are to:
- Provide one-stop access to the government’s publicly-available data,
- Communicate government data and analysis through visualizations,
- Create value by catalyzing application development, and
- Facilitate analysis and research.
This Portal is an initiative by the Prime Minister’s Office, Cabinet Division, Bangladesh Computer Council, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, and Statistics and Informatics Division. The following data sharing principles aim to guide the Government’s Open Data efforts;
- Data shall be made easily accessible,
- Data shall be made available for co-creation,
- Data shall be released in a timely manner,
- Data shall be shared in machine-readable format, and
- Data shall be as raw as possible.