Parliamentary panel finalises draft report on data protection bill

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Money Control, November 22, 2021

A joint parliamentary committee has finalised the draft report on the Data Protection Bill after two years of deliberations and five extensions. The report with recommendations is now likely to be placed before the Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.

The draft of the Data Protection Bill was referred to the parliamentary panel in December 2019. It has called for storing sensitive personal data in India, obligations of data fiduciaries to deploy safeguards, and grievance redressal mechanism.

Personal data protection (PDP) bill

The proposal for the bill came after the Supreme Court declared in 2017 privacy a fundamental right and directed the government to come up with the data protection regime.

In July 2017, an expert committee on data protection was set up by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY). Former Surpeme Court judge Justice BN Srikrishna headed the panel that proposed a personal data protection bill and submitted its report in July 2018.

The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha as the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019, on December 11, 2019.

Soon after, it was referred to a joint parliamentary committee which to submit a report by the end of the budget session in 2020. Since then five extensions have been granted to the committee.

What is the PDP Bill’s aim?

The bill’s aim is to protect privacy of individuals by regulating how their data can be used and processed. It aimed to create a framework around how governments, private companies and individuals, can process the data.

It mandates storing sensitive personal data in India. The bill also gives consumers the right to withdraw consent at any point in time. It calls for a Data Protection Authority to be established to protect individual rights, and also ensure compliance. Any failure to comply with the law will attract penalty of 4 percent of annual turnover for the companies.

It also has a provision to exempt the government in matters of national security.

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