India Union Cabinet approves Digital Personal Data Protection Bill

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India’s Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Bill has received cabinet approval and is set to be presented in the Parliament during the upcoming monsoon session, scheduled between July 20 and August 11. With support from both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress, the bill is expected to be swiftly implemented.

Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, Ashwini Vaishnav, believes that the bill will have a smooth passage as it addresses a long-standing demand of citizens over the past decade. The bill ensures that the government cannot utilize individual data without the consent of the citizen. It also provides a platform for citizens to address their concerns regarding the privacy and security of their data, while establishing strict guidelines for information handling, sharing, and storage.

In 2011, during the Congress government led by Shri Sonia Gandhi, the opposition raised concerns about the processing and storage of Aadhaar data. In 2018, as concerns about the protection of private data grew, the Narendra Modi-led government drafted a bill under the guidance of a special committee led by Justice BN Srikrishna.

Despite extensive discussions with privacy advocates and the opposition, a consensus could not be reached, delaying the introduction of the bill in the Parliament for approval. The central government attempted to expedite the approval process but faced opposition from the Congress and certain sections of the media, leading to the bill being put on hold. In 2019-20, the bill was referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee, which proposed amendments and produced a revised version.

However, the Union Cabinet failed to approve the redrafted Digital Personal Data Protection bill due to concerns that it gave private companies excessive leeway in handling data. After significant deliberation and debates, the BJP-led government managed to secure consensus for the bill’s approval. It has now reached the desk of the Parliament speaker, who will review the draft based on the interests of various stakeholders after a thorough debate on the implications and potential breaches of consumer privacy rights.

It is worth noting that countries like the UK and the USA are already ahead in terms of data protection laws. They have enacted legislation and are implementing penalties for both public and private companies found guilty of breaching these laws. However, it remains uncertain whether these countries are effectively implementing the regulations as outlined on paper. In contrast, India, now the world’s most populous country, is in the process of drafting and approving its data protection bill.

NOTE- The monsoon session of the Indian Parliament will be held in the newly constructed Sansad Bhavan, a hexagonal structure completed by Tata Projects Ltd under the Central Vista plan. With a construction budget of Rs 900 crores, the building was inaugurated on May 28, 2023, by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. The new parliament, spanning approximately 23,000 square meters, is 10% smaller than the existing circular building and features three entrances: Gyan Dwar (Knowledge Gate), Shakti Dwar (Power Gate), and Karma Dwar (Karma Gate).

 

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Naveen Goud
Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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