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Thursday, April 15, 2021

JPC report may stress on localised storage, handling of minors’ data

The joint parliamentary committee report on Personal Data Protection Bill is likely to be tabled on or before March 12.

Written by Aashish Aryan | New Delhi |
March 1, 2021 4:12:51 am
The latest version of the Bill, in complete contrast to earlier 2018 draft, says that a committee for selection of Data Protection Authority (DPA), will include the Cabinet Secretary, the Law Secretary and the IT ministry secretary.

The joint parliamentary committee (JPC) on Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill is likely to submit its recommendations and final report on or before March 12, according to sources in the know.

The final report of the JPC is likely to contain extensive recommendations on norms for strict compliance of localised storage of sensitive personal information, handling of children’s and minors’ data, anonymisation of financial and other sensitive data, one of the sources said.

“The final meetings of the JPC that started from November discussed all these issues clause by clause and the members felt the need to clearly lay down the norms so that the Bill is exhaustive in its approach of how data is handled in India,” a source said.

The report, said to contain about 98 clauses, was referred to the JPC headed by Meenakshi Lekhi in December 2019 and has had over 65 sittings till date. Officials from the ministries of IT, law and home affairs, the Unique Identification Authority of India, the National Investigation Agency, the Narcotics Control Bureau and the Reserve Bank of India, among others have deposed before the panel.

From the private sector, executives from MasterCard India, Visa, PayTM, Google India, Facebook India, Twitter India, Amazon Web Services as well as Amazon India, among others have appeared and made their submissions to the panel.

Google’s representatives had in their meeting with the JPC said that India should avoid data localisation requirements, which had irked the members of the JPC, while Paytm had said data generated in India should be parked in the country. Cab aggregators such as Ola and Uber, whose representatives had also appeared before the JPC earlier this month, have supported data localisation norms.

In November last year, before the JPC had started clause by clause consideration of the various aspects of the Bill, several tech policy groups had written to Lekhi, seeking wider consultations on various aspects of the Bill. The JPC had, however, gone ahead with the deliberation on the issue.

The PDP Bill, first proposed by the government in 2018, has been pending for close to three years now. It has seen several changes to the original draft drawn by retired Supreme Court judge Justice B N Srikrishna, who also said that the revised Bill was “a blank cheque to the state”.

The latest version of the Bill, in complete contrast to earlier 2018 draft, says that a committee for selection of Data Protection Authority (DPA), will include the Cabinet Secretary, the Law Secretary and the IT ministry secretary.

The 2018 draft had proposed that either the Chief Justice of India (CJI) or a Supreme Court judge nominated by the CJI should chair the committee for selection of the DPA.

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