‘Government working on strong legal frameworks for data handling’

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on September 15, 2020 Published on September 15, 2020

India is working on strong frameworks on both personal data and non-personal data to ensure that there is a comprehensive and cutting-edge legal framework for dealing with data and data handling, said Rajendra Kumar, Additional Secretary, Union Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, at a round table session on ‘Role of government in the new digital age’ at CII Connect 2020.

A Personal Data Protection Bill was brought in Parliament, which is now under active consideration by the Joint Parliamentary Committee. “We hope to bring the Bill into a reality soon in the form of an Act,” he said. With such a Data Protection, India will join a select few countries to have a strong legal framework for data protection and privacy, he added.

Also, the non-personal data framework has been brought under public domain for consultation. “We are going to consider all the suggestions from various stakeholders and will come out with a draft legal framework for this as well,” he said.

A key enabler

On why such a legal framework is important for India, Kumar said that with data as a key enabler for innovation, India would be really able to push economic growth and innovation capability to newer heights. For this, enabling a framework for data handling is critical and important.

“With the two frameworks, we are not putting any barriers in using data but ensuring that data is handled in a more responsible fashion by the industry and data should be handled in a legal framework so that the innovation by start-ups and small firms can take place,” he said.

European Union and many countries have imposed data adequacy norms on countries to which their firms can send data. In this environment, the two frameworks in place, India could meet the norms. “We should help our IT industry to gain more business from abroad. With the support of the industry, we would have a sound legal framework in place,” he said.

Digital goal

On the digital economy, Kumar said the goal is to take it from the current $220 billion to $1 trillion by 2025 and the share of digital in the overall GDP from 7-8 per cent to over 20 per cent. That’s a massive goal. Maybe the timeframe may get extended by a year or so due to Covid-19 pandemic in the current year on the overall economic performance but the goal remains. This requires a massive infusion of digital in all spheres of activities of the economy and all domains of governance, he said.

For instance, the National Public Digital Platform is a new initiative launched with ten ministries.

All the current programmes of ministries concerned should be brought on one common digital platform to realise the vision of One Government to provide a seamless experience in delivering services to citizens and businesses.

This is a transformative concept where the idea is to enhance the Ease of Doing Business and Ease of Living of citizens, the experience that they have with the government should be seamless and that should be as easy to obtain as possible. This is possible only when all the schemes and programmes of the ministries concerned are brought into one common digital platform and delivery is through a seamless mechanism, he said.

“States and UTs have to come on board and take part in the shared vision for the entire country. We are working with all the ministries in the Government of India,” he said.

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Published on September 15, 2020
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