Environment

Committee recommends monetising weather data

Jairam Ramesh

Jairam Ramesh  

The government must explore ways to make money out of the weather data it generates, a Parliamentary committee on science, technology and environment, headed by former Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, has recommended.

“The Committee is of the view that the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) should explore monetisation of the data and information generated through a well-thought out policy, which does not compromise the public interest nature of its original mandate,” stated the report made public on Friday. The India Meteorological Department, an organisation under the MoES, is tasked with gathering, analysing and disseminating meteorological data.

The Committee said that while the MoES was providing a “public service”, it could charge private users such as insurance companies that rely on data and information put out by the Ministry. This could be used to help weather agencies tide over the “financial crunch” that the Ministry annually faced and restricted it from financing projects.

The Ministry earned ₹120 crore from the Airports Authority of India by providing meteorological services to 70 airports.

Private weather companies said that charging for weather data would be useful only if the MoES had a proper commercial wing and licensed data of commercial value.

“Raw data from radar or lightning detectors is what would be valuable,” said Jatin Singh, founder and managing director, Skymet Weather, one of India's largest private weather companies. “However, observational weather data—like rain, temperature—isn't (valuable) because we (Skymet) have our own weather stations,” he said.

European public weather agencies charged for data whereas the United States' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration gave away data for free and in the process incubated several companies, said Mr. Singh.

The MoES had been allotted ₹2070 crore for the current financial year up from the ₹1901 crore last year. It didn't have funds to acquire a Polar Research Vessel, as well as kickstart the Deep Ocean Mission, it said in its comments to the Committee.

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 10:07:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/committee-recommends-monetising-weather-data/article31003585.ece

Next Story