Presently most of the e-Governance applications are operating in silos. For a successful e- Governance system there is a need for seamless sharing and exchange of data among departmental applications. Semantic interoperability among e-Governance applications requires that precise meaning of exchanged information is understood across applications. There is a need for commonly accepted data definitions for the various elements used in Governance systems. Hence, standardization of data elements is the prerequisite for systematic development of e-Governance applications.

Data Standards may be defined as the agreed upon terms for defining and sharing data. Data Standards promote the consistent recording of information and are fundamental to the efficient exchange of information. They provide the rules for structuring information, so that the data entered into a system can be reliably read, sorted, indexed, retrieved, communicated between systems, and shared. They help protect the long-term value of data.

Once the data standards are in place, there is a need to manage data, information, and knowledge. Metadata of standardized data elements can be used for this purpose.

Metadata is structured information that describes, explains, locates or otherwise makes it easier to retrieve, use or manage an information resource. Metadata is often called data about data or information about information. A metadata is a matter of context or perspective -what is metadata to one person or application can be data to another person or application.

In other words, Metadata facilitates the user by providing access to the raw data through which the user can have an understanding of the actual data. Hence, Metadata is an abstraction layer that masks the underlying technologies, making the data access friendlier to the user.

The initial report prepared by Working group on Data and Metadata Standards for Application Domains, under the Chairmanship of Prof. C.R. Muthukrishnan, IIT-M, Chennai was used as a base document by the Expert Committee on Data and Metadata Standards.


The data elements can be categorized in two categories - Generic data elements and Custom data elements. The Generic data elements are usually defined as commonly used data elements in e-Governance applications across different domains. Custom data elements are derived from generic data elements, specific to the requirements of an application within a domain. In the present version of the Data and Metadata Standards (MDDS), generic data elements common across all domain applications, generic data elements for Person Identification and generic data elements for Land Region Codification have been identified and standardized.

In this document, the nomenclature of Generic data elements and their business formats have been specified. Also, the Metadata for each of these elements has been specified.

Further, the values of certain generic data elements need to be controlled and defined in advance, for using them uniformly across the domain applications. The values of such generic data elements are specified in their respective **Code directories*. In this document, the code directories relevant to the generic data elements for Person Identification and

Land Region Codification have been identified. The owners, attributes, formats and values of codes in these code directories are also included.

The e-Governance applications would adopt metadata of these data elements for designing the databases / forms to ensure seamless interoperability while interchanging data.


The adoption of Data Standards for use across e-Governance systems will enable easier, efficient exchange and processing of data. It will also remove ambiguities and inconsistencies in the use of data. Inevitably the migration to these new Standards may appear at the outset to be costly and time-consuming to some parts of government. However this burden should be outweighed by reduced development costs through the use of the agreed XML schemas that use these Standards. It will also be easier and cheaper to use these Standards from the outset in systems development rather than making changes during the lifetime of the systems.

Data and Metadata Standards provide a way for information resources in electronic form to communicate their existence and their nature to other electronic applications (e.g. via HTML or XML) or search tools and to permit exchange of information between applications.

The objective of this document is to define the data Standards to enable semantic interoperability and management of this data with the help of Metadata Standards.


The present document “Data and Metadata Standards- Demographic” focuses on Person Identification and Land Region codifications. It includes the following:

  1. Mechanism for allocation of reference no. to the identified Generic data elements, and their grouping
  2. Generic data elements specifications like:
    • Generic data elements, common across all Domain applications
    • Generic data elements for Person identification
    • Generic data elements for Land Region Codification
    • Data elements to describe Address of a Premises, where a Person resides
  3. Specifications of Code Directories like:
    • Ownership with rights to update
    • Identification of attributes of the Code directories
    • Standardization of values in the Code directories
  4. Metadata of Generic Data Elements
    • Identification of Metadata Qualifiers
    • Metadata of the data elements
  5. Illustration of data elements to describe:
    • A Person identification
    • Address of a premises


This Standard would be applicable to all e-Governance applications in India as per the Government’s Policy on Open Standards (refer open-standards-for-e-governance/)