State agencies and organisations pledged to share data on the National Data Portal at the launch ceremony of the portal on August 31 in Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Quyết
Đỗ Công Anh, deputy head of the Authority of Information Technology Application under the Ministry of Information and Communications, talks to the Việt Nam Government Portal (VGP) about the transparency benefits of the recently launched National Data Portal.
Could you tell us about the development and operation of the National Data Portal for the public, businesses and State agencies?
The national data portal is a unified interface used to access information and data with open database sharing between State agencies. The portal also provides documents, services, tools and applications to process and use data published by state agencies.
The national data portal is available at https://data.gov.vn, while the open data portal is available at https://open.data.gov.vn.
The national data portal will be a shared platform on which State agencies can publish information and inventories to ensure transparency. It will also have sharing methods, tools and skills to achieve sustainable data infrastructure development goals, while supervising data sharing and tackling issues arising from data sharing between State agencies.
The portal will also provide new digital services as part of e-Government development, allowing citizens and businesses to access their own data that is recorded by State agencies, along with access to digital services regarding data synthesis from multiple sources.
Citizens, businesses and communities will have the opportunity to use the data kept by State agencies for research, study and product creation, contributing to the development of the country. Providing open data is also a part of the efforts being made to enhance transparency at State agencies.
The portal can also be used as an information channel to receive feedback and information from agencies, organisations, businesses and individuals by State agencies to have accurate and updated data to operate more effectively.
How many State agencies and local governments have uploaded data to the portal?
The Ministry of Information and Communications, with State management units in charge of e-Government and information technology development, have collaborated with ministries, sectors and localities to establish their demands as well as the current status of national databases.
At the launch of the National Data Portal in August, the Ministry of Information and Communications, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Training, and Việt Nam Social Security, along with the Hà Nội National University and Việt Nam Post, all pledged to upload their data on the National Data Portal, promote data management and encourage open data on the portal.
HCM City, Cần Thơ, Đà Nẵng and Huế have all signed up for the plan.
However, the portal is just an “outer shell” and the launch is just the very first step, but the data it holds is what’s important.
As the agency in charge of the National Data Portal, how would you evaluate the participation of ministries, sectors, localities and businesses?
Many years ago it was very difficult to promote data collection and sharing, and most agencies generally did not intend to share their data with others.
However, that has changed. Thanks to a strong push for digital government and a digital economy, agencies share data, so they understand now they need to make their own data accessible for others to use.
The Authority of Information Technology Application developed the National Data Portal to promote the sharing, exploitation and efficient use of data nationwide.
We will continue to work with relevant parties – especially large technology firms – to push them to share data on the portal soon.
What has the Ministry of Information and Communications learnt from other countries and adapted into the building and operating of the Vietnamese portal?
About 80 per cent of countries have their own national data portals, so there are plenty we can learn from.
On Việt Nam’s portal, there is open data like many other countries, and also transparency available for data and databases in the process of being developed under the management of State agencies.
The issue of data transparency still quite sticky, because one ministry does not know whether the other ministry already has that data or has shared it yet. Or let’s say a local government has the need to use data from ministries, it has to send a request or organise working sessions to access the data they want, which is very time consuming and not cost-effective.
The National Data Portal will have open data accessible to all individuals, organisations, businesses and customers. Of course, personal information will not be disclosed.
What are the expectations from the portal?
The latest United Nations report on e-Government 2020 mentioned that the development of digital government “supports the Decade of Action [to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals] through its growing role in delivering sustainable, inclusive and equitable services to everyone, everywhere – leaving no one behind.”
The development of the National Data Portal, other than transparency and placing Việt Nam higher on the international e-Government rankings, is also an irreversible trend. Open government means activities are transparent.
In an open government, people and businesses can also participate and contribute to the administration of State agencies and the Government, which should elevate Việt Nam’s standing in the international arena. — VNS