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Regulators in certain areas should not be government officials: Niti CEO

The comments also shed light on the way the Data Protection Bill is taking shape and how selectors of the regulatory body have changed between the two drafts.

Written by Karishma Mehrotra | New Delhi | Published: February 26, 2020 3:39:48 am
Data Protection Agency, Online Data Protection, cyber laws India, Data Protection Bill, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, Amitabh Kant, Aruna Sundararajan, indian express NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant. (Express file photo)

As a new Data Protection Agency is being debated in a Parliament committee as part of the Data Protection Bill, NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant and former Department of Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan remarked that regulators in certain areas should not be government or IAS officials.

“My first suggestion is don’t have IAS officers as regulators. Don’t have guys who have government experience as regulators. Have people who have a very free wheeling mind and can absorb technology … If a regulator is not abreast (of technology), he will never be on the side of innovation. A regulator must push for disruption … It can’t be that Uber and Ola have moved all over the world and beaten the markets and the transport guys in Bengaluru say that we don’t permit Ola and Uber. How can that happen? That means they are frozen in time,” Kant said at a US-India strategic partnership event by the Observer Research Foundation.

Sundararajan agreed with the position, saying, “One of the issues in India is that we often believe that one transgression means that the entire set of regulations must be completely redone … Just as innovation begins to come in, it meets regulation norms … We must distinguish between regulating mature sectors and regulating emerging sectors. In some areas, technology is so dynamic that regulators should not rush in.”

The comments also shed light on the way the Data Protection Bill is taking shape and how selectors of the regulatory body have changed between the two drafts. As per the 2018 draft by the Justice BN Srikrishna committee, the Centre appoints a selection committee consisting of a chairperson who is the Chief Justice of India or a Supreme Court judge nominated by the Chief Justice, the Cabinet Secretary, and one expert of repute to be nominated by the chairperson of the selection committee in consultation with the Cabinet Secretary.

The new Bill, reworked by the IT Ministry, changes the composition of the selection committee to comprise of Cabinet Secretary as its chairperson, the Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry dealing with the Legal Affairs, and the Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry dealing with the Electronics and Information Technology.

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