Personal Data Protection Bill: Government likely to release new draft of data protection bill in a week for public comments


The government is likely to release new draft of data protection bill for public comments in a week, according to two government sources. The government had in early August withdrawn the personal data protection bill, which was first presented in late 2019.

“The draft is expected to be issued in a week for public comment,” an official source told PTI.

Union telecom and IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had said that the joint parliamentary committee which went through the original draft suggested 88 amendments to a bill of 91 sections, which led the government to decide that there was “no option” but to withdraw the original bill completely.

He added that a lot of changes had taken place during the Covid pandemic, leading to newer learnings, which had to be incorporated in the laws.

Non-profit Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) had said that the Data Protection Bill 2021 gave large exemptions to government departments, prioritises the interests of big corporations, and did not adequately respect people’s fundamental right to privacy.

“This move, when taken with the lack of literacy around data protection in India, may be dangerous on an individual level — where your everyday privacy is threatened — and on a collective level, given how it makes allowances for mass surveillance,” IFF had alleged.

US-based ITI, whose members include all tech firms like Google, Meta, and Amazon, appreciated the government’s move to withdraw the parliamentary panel version of the bill.

ITI was among the global industry bodies that had opposed the joint committee version of the bill. These global industry bodies included JEITA, TechUK, US India Business Council, and Business Europe which represent thousands of companies and technology majors like Google, Amazon, Cisco, Dell, SoftBank and Microsoft.

Around a dozen of industry bodies had written to Vaishnaw that implementation of the proposed Data Protection Bill, as recommended by a parliamentary panel, will significantly degrade India’s business environment and reduce foreign investment inflows.


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