Cabinet approves Personal Data Protection Bill, to be introduced in Parliament

Our Bureau/PTI | Updated on December 04, 2019

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar address the media after a Union Cabinet meeting, in New Delhi, on December 4, 2019.   -  Kamal Narang

The Cabinet on Wednesday gave its nod for the Personal Data Protection Bill in a move that will be watched closely by other nations looking at similar laws.

The passing of the Bill in Parliament — likely to happen in the ongoing Winter Session — will bring in clarity on not only the nitty-gritty of how to protect one’s personal and sensitive data, but also on the penalties that a company/agency/person would face for tampering with such data.


Sensitive and general data

The Bill says personal data classified as sensitive — such as information on financial matters, sexual orientation, health, biometrics, genetics, transgender status and religious or political beliefs and affiliation — cannot be stored by public and private entities outside the country. But these can be processed abroad with the consent of the persons concerned, says the Bill.

“The Bill further says that critical data, to be defined from time to time by the government but mostly related to security and defence matters, will have to be processed and stored within the country,” said a senior government official.

‘General’ data, on the other hand, can be both processed and stored abroad. “Entities will be given up to two years to make changes in their operations to adhere to the provisions of the Data Protection Bill,” said the official.

For investigative purposes, certain agencies will be exempted from the provisions of the Bill, he said. “Data can be processed without consent for security purposes, compliance with court order and for the purpose of investigative offences,” he explained.

“In the case of major violations, the Personal Data Protection Bill proposes a penalty of up to ₹15 crore or 4 per cent of the global turnover, whichever is higher. For minor violations, a penalty of ₹5 crore or 2 per cent of the global turnover is proposed,” said the official.

At present, RBI orders stipulate that private entities should not store payments data outside the country. They can take it out of the country for processing but have to bring it back within 24 hours.


The other two bills passed nclude The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and the Central Sanskrit Universities Bill to convert  three Sanskrit “Deemed to be Universities “into Central Universities.

It also approved the withdrawal of Jammu & Kashmir  Reservation (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019.

In other decisions, the Cabinet gave its nod to a land monetisation proposal at Pragati Maidan to build a 5-star hotel.

It has authorised,”India Trade Promotion Organisation to transfer 3.7 acres of land at Pragati Maidan on a 99 year fixed leasehold basis at a price of Rs. 611 crore in favour of the SPV, which will be formed by India Tourism Development Corporation and Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation  for development and operation of a five-star hotel,” an official statement added.

This is part of the development plan of the Exhibition and Convention Centre (IECC) project , which is in full swing and slated to be completed in the year 2020-21.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet also approved the proposal of the Election Commission to enter into a MoU with the Election Commission of Maldives on cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration. 

“The Union Cabinet was apprised of the Joint Declaration of Intent between India and Germany regarding cooperation on strategic projects in the field of Railways.  The Joint Declaration of Intent was signed last month,” the official statement added.

PTI adds

Bond ETF scheme approved

After exchange traded fund for equities, the Union Cabinet has also approved launch of a exchange traded fund for bonds.

The fund will provide additional money for state-owned firms and other government organisations, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said. Bharat Bond Exchange Traded Fund would be the first corporate bond ETF in the country.

ETF will be basket of bonds issued by state firms or any government organisation, and bonds will be tradable on exchange, she said adding that the unit size will be of Rs 1,000, allowing small investors to invest. Each ETF to have fixed maturity date and will track underlying index on risk replication basis, she said adding that for now it will have two maturity series: 3 and 10 years

Published on December 04, 2019

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