Policy

Data Protection Bill applicable to govt and its agencies too: Prasad

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on August 15, 2018 Published on August 15, 2018

Ravi Shankar Prasad   -  The Hindu

IT Minister seeks comments from CMs

The government is leaving no stone unturned as it goes about working on the Data Protection Bill. With a view that the norms are not limited to corporates and individuals alone, and will be applicable to government and its agencies too, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Electronics and IT (MeitY), has written to all the State Chief Ministers to give their feed back on the Bill.

“The proposed Personal Data Protection Bill will be applicable to government and its agencies in addition to private agencies. Thus, there is added responsibility on government agencies to realise the adverse implications of not handling citizen's data in a responsible manner and thereby become liable to face penalties and even criminal action in respect of serious violations,” Prasad wrote in the letter to all the CMs.

Prasad has informed the CMs that ‘this will be a path breaking legislation’ that will have a significant impact on various aspects of protection and privacy of personality identifiable data by governments and businesses. In his letter, a copy of which was seen by BusinessLine, he has requested all the CMs to send their feedbacks individually to the Ministry portal by September 10, the slated deadline for the general public as well.

The Minister said there is a need to bring in a culture of responsibility by which entities, including government departments and agencies, start recognising the privacy rights of the individual citizen and ‘accordingly handle the data of the citizens as responsible fiduciaries’.

Recognising the importance of data protection and keeping personal data of citizen secure and protected, MeitY in July 2017 had constituted a committee of experts under the Chairmanship of Justice BN Srikrishna, former judge of the Supreme Court, to study various issues relating to data protection in India.

The committee was asked to make specific suggestions for consideration of the Central government on principles to be considered for data protection in India and to suggest a draft data protection Bill.

The committee published a white paper in the public domain and sought feedback from stakeholders, and also conducted stakeholder consultation meetings at various locations across the country. And, after receiving the feedback, the committee had submitted its report, along with the draft Personal Data Protection Bill (with contents of more than 200 pages), to the Minister on July 27.

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Published on August 15, 2018
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