Panel studying Data Bill seeks extension till Monsoon session

Economic Times, March  24, 2020

The Joint Parliamentary Committee studying the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 has sought an extension till the second week of the Monsoon session of the Parliament to submit its report on the landmark legislation. The committee headed by Bhartiya Janata Party MP Meenakshi Lekhi was supposed to submit the report by end of the Budget session which concluded on Monday.

After the PDP Bill was tabled in Parliament in December last year, it was referred to the joint parliamentary committee, which had asked stakeholders to send feedback by February 25. The committee had also expressed its willingness to get stakeholders present to the committee in person to understand their concerns. The process however has not begun yet.

The important legislation which will require Indian as well as global companies operating in India to completely overhaul their data practices is being keenly awaited. ET had reported earlier this month that more than a dozen technology and business trade groupings from the US, Europe and Japan have jointly the parliamentary panel examining the bill to reconsider some of the clauses in the Bill to protect the “privacy of Indian citizens” and “remove barriers” to the growth of the country’s economy.

The groups include the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), the Business Software Alliance (BSA), CompTIA, DIGITALEUROPE, and Japan Electronics and Information Technology Association (JEITA).

Some of the issues of concern pertain to inclusion of non-personal data in the Bill, exemptions that the government has granted for itself, voluntary verification of users by social media companies and weakening of the Data Protection Authority. The lack of clarity on data localisation is another area of concern for the industry.

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