New Delhi: Extensive deliberations are on over various aspects and suggestions related to the draft data protection Bill, and the government hopes to resolve certain complex issues soon and get Parliament’s approval on the legislation latest by the monsoon session, according to IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.
He said there is no plan to scrap the current draft data protection legislation that has undergone detailed consultation and parliamentary panel deliberations.
The data protection Bill seeks to provide for the protection of the personal data of individuals and establish a Data Protection Authority for the same. It proposes to put restrictions on the use of personal data without the explicit consent of citizens. On December 16, 2021, the Joint Committee on Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, tabled its report in both the Houses of Parliament, giving its views on various provisions.
Vaishnaw told PTI in an interview that “the consultations which happened were very comprehensive and the report which has come out is again very comprehensive report. It definitely is a complex subject…which has matters that need to be resolved.” The minister said he was hopeful those aspects and points will be resolved “soon”.
“I think we should be able to resolve them very soon and bring it…our target was actually this budget session itself. But, definitely, by the monsoon session, we should be able to do that,” he said.
On whether the government is hopeful of getting Parliament’s approval on the draft Bill latest by the monsoon session, the minister said, “Yes, that is the target”.
The data protection Bill proposes to specify the flow and usage of personal data, protect the rights of individuals whose personal data are processed, as it works out the framework for the cross-border transfer, accountability of entities processing data, and moots remedies for unauthorised and harmful processing.
The data protection Bill also seeks to provide the government with powers to give exemptions to its probe agencies from the provisions of the Act, a move that has been strongly opposed by the opposition MPs who had filed their dissent notes.
In December, a parliamentary panel recommended tougher norms to regulate social media platforms by holding them accountable for the content they host and said that the Centre must ensure data localisation norms are duly followed by all local and foreign entities, with the establishment of Data Protection Authority.
The panel also recommended widening the scope of proposed data protection legislation to include both personal and non-personal data with “a single administration and regulatory body”, and sought greater accountability for social media platforms by treating them as ‘publishers’.
The committee, however, did not recommend any major dilution of the contentious exemption clause, which gives powers to the government to keep any of its agencies outside the purview of the data protection legislation.