A parliamentary committee Wednesday suggested that the government should come out with a legislation on data privacy at the earliest, as the country moves towards digitalisation of economy. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, headed by senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily, also suggested to create a coordinating authority, reporting directly to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), to deal with issues related to information infrastructure.
The report titled Transformation Towards A Digital Economy, which was tabled in Parliament, also expressed concern over lack of trained professionals to deal with rising cyber challenges. The report said that India should have a sound consumer privacy and data protection law “lest we become a digital colony with global entities having virtual control over data”.
The committee said the country “now urgently needs a data minimisation, data privacy and data residency law to ensure security of public and private data”. The panel has urged the the government to bring such a data protection legislation before Parliament at the earliest.
The committee also found it “rather disconcerting” that even as the country moves towards a digital economy, transactional hassles and grievances of users, including ATM frauds such as cloning, have also been increasing manifold. “Ordinary customers are then left high and dry, extremely helpless and clueless about the next course of action for a remedy and redressal of grievance,” the report said.
It suggested that customer/user should be provided with an “empowered and responsive” common helpline (SOS) number, which he or she can approach whenever required. The report further said as the cyber space expands and intensifies with implications for national security, monitoring/ surveillance and protecting the national information infrastructure needs to be included in the national agenda on priority basis.
“The Committee, therefore recommended due consultations with domain experts and industry and creation of a duly empowered coordinating authority, with status at par with Space and Atomic Energy Departments with adequate budget, reporting directly to the PMO,” the report said. It also stressed that government needs to substantially rationalise digital transaction costs and provide incentives, especially for the lower value of transactions.