New Delhi [India]: Union Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Thursday explained the reason behind withdrawing the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, asserting that the aim is to bring new compressive legislation at par with technology landscape which is changing rapidly.
He further said that the Joint Committee of Parliament recommended 81 amendments in a Bill that was of 99 sections which practically, suggested for overhauling the Bill.
The government on Wednesday withdrew the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 and has decided to come up with new legislation in view of a large number of amendments suggested by the Joint Committee of Parliament towards a comprehensive legal framework on the digital ecosystem.
Speaking to ANI, the Union Minister said, the Joint Parliamentary Committee recommended major changes in the Bill, which was like rewriting the entire Bill.
“The Joint Parliamentary Committee did very extensive work. They consulted a very large number of stakeholders. After it, the Joint Committee of Parliament gave a very comprehensive report which recommended 81 amendments in a Bill that was of 99 sections, it was practically rewriting the entire bill. Apart from the amendments, they were some 12 major suggestions were there from the committee,” said Vaishnaw.
He said that it was important to withdraw the old Bill to come up with a contemporary and modern legal framework to tackle the challenges of coping with the rapidly changing technology.
“To make sure that we do a compressive Bill it was important to do withdraw the old Bill and very soon we will be coming out with a new Bill. With the whole digital economy that we have and the way the technology landscape is changing rapidly, we need a very contemporary and modern legal framework. Today telecom is the primary method by which data is consumed,” he said.
The Union Minister said that the government is working on it and Personal Data Protection Bill will be a part of that. So, there is an overhaul of the legal framework.
“Our focus on making social media accountable has given good results. There is a good response to any law enforcement agency request which comes. No question of coming under any pressure, it is a very conscious decision (of withdrawal) and a well-thought-out process,” added Vaishnaw.
Ashwini Vaishnaw moved the motion for withdrawal of the Bill in Lok Sabha.
“The Data Protection Bill 2021 as reported by the Joint Committee may be withdrawn,” he said. The House adopted the motion.
The Government had July 31, 2017, constituted a “committee of Experts on Data Protection” chaired by Justice BN Srikrishna to examine the issues relating to data protection. The committee examined the issues on data protection and submitted its report on July 27, 2018.
The 2019 Bill sought to bring a strong and robust data protection framework for India and to set up an Authority for protecting personal data and empowering the citizens’ with rights relating to their personal data ensuring their fundamental right to “privacy and protection of personal data”.
The bill was sent to a Joint Committee of Parliament which gave its report on December 16, 2021.