Various stakeholders have insisted the need of open data for parliamentarians to boost up their performance in law and policy making.

Openness of data in useful and understandable format enables Members of Parliament to ask question to the executives in policy formulation process, speakers said at a programme ‘Open Data, Right to Information and Role of Parliament’ organized by Freedom Forum and Journalists’ Society for Parliamentary Affairs. in Kathmandu on July 5, 2019.

The parliamentarians attending the programme also univocally agreed to legislate data openness in Nepal for public good. “The concerned thematic committees of the parliament should take leadership to enact open data law through intra-party consultation if the government did not heed on the need”, said Rajendra Shrestha, lawmaker from Socialist Forum Nepal.

Open data is a tool for materializing the campaign of digital Nepal so the legislators should require working for the progressive agenda on fast track, he stressed.
Likewise, Rajendra Lingden, lawmaker from Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) also echoed the need of bringing open data law for better and improved access to information, which was already guaranteed by the Constitution and law. “Let us engage our efforts for amendment to RTI law to incorporate provisions of open data or moot to being new open data law in keeping with its best practices:’ he added.

Sher Bahadur Kunwar, another parliamentarian, also underlined the importance of new law on data openness and protection in consultation with thematic experts and campaigners.

Presenting a working paper on the ‘Need of Open Government Data Law in Nepal’ Krishna Hari Baskota, Chief, National Information Commission asserted that Nepal would reap much benefits in raising the profile of the country by adopting open data practices.

He also called for the government to enforce the NIC-prepared National Action Plan of Open Government Data and pledged to provide technical assistance to the parliamentary committees on the preparation of open data related bill.

Taranath Dahal, Executive Chief of Freedom Forum, presented the amendment proposal to include open data provisions in the existing Right to Information Act. The RTI should embrace the changes surfaced in the information and technology regime to improve its practice for better governance”.

Lawmakers Rangamati Shahi, Ram Bahadur Bista, Udaya Sharma Poudel and Gaurishanker Chaudhary, Secretary of Parliamentary Committee on Development and Technology Banshi Poudel and Kathmandu University teacher Dr Sushamshu Dahal also underscored the need for the parliament to increase dialogue among stakeholders for introducing laws to address growing need of data openness.

Journalist Krishna Sapkota had presented a review of best laws and practices of Right to Information around the globe from open data perspectives.

Society’s general secretary Ashok Dahal also urged the lawmakers to enhance sensitization on data to demand accountability from executives and make their own performance in the parliament effective.

Total 35 participants representing parliamentary committees, civil society organizations, media and advocates of openness took part in the deliberation calling for legislating open data in Nepal.