India’s Data Protection Bill is being presently worked on by the government to update it to the latest technology standards, and keep it flexible towards future updates. Speaking at National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom)’s Technology & Leadership Forum, 2022, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, union minister of state for electronics and information technology, skill development and entrepreneurship, stated that the government is looking at all the feedback and recommendations that industry bodies, experts and stakeholders have offered – in order to make the Bill amenable towards evolutions in the field of technology.
“We have a draft legislation (of the Data Protection Bill) that has already gone to the Parliament, which has then sent it back to the government with their comments. But, the origins of the Bill are about three years old, and a significant amount of changes have happened since then,” Chandrasekhar said.
To take this into account, Chandrasekhar stated that inputs are being considered to understand how the Bill needs to be updated, all of which the government is presently working on in order to account for the evolutionary nature of technology.
“It is important to get the next bit of legislation very right – not just in terms of the details it covers, but for it to be flexible and evolutionary. We would be making a big mistake if we move into legislation that is very hard-coded and embedded in principles that are not necessarily evolvable or current,” the union minister added.
On December 16, 2021, a Joint Parliamentary Committee submitted its report on the Data Protection Bill in Parliament. As part of its suggestions, the Committee brought ‘non-personal data’ and anonymised personal data under the ambit of the Bill, and also sought to extensively localise data within India. The Bill also looks to regulate cross-border data sharing – something that global technology companies have raised concerns against.
Mentioning this, Chandrasekhar said that while the Data Privacy Bill will focus on safety of users on the internet, it will also take into account the ease of doing business for startups in India. “We want to make sure that the momentum of India’s startup ecosystem is not blunted by even one percentage point, if the regime hints at higher degrees of compliance costs and bureaucracy.”
The minister concluded by stating that the Bill will therefore be under discussions for “a little bit longer,” but refrained from issuing a timeline for the same. Chandrasekhar also stated during the session that by 2030, the Indian government hopes to see the technology industry grow to around $600 billion.
The Nasscom Strategic Review 2022 report, published Tuesday, February 15, stated that India’s technology industry crossed $200 billion for the first time in 2021. By 2026, the industry body expects to see the technology sector grow to $350 billion.