The Union Cabinet may take up the Personal Data Protection Bill on Wednesday to lay down a framework for processing of personal and private data by public and private entities.
Telecom and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad recently informed the Upper House that the work on Data Protection law is on progress and would be introduced very soon in Parliament.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) is moving the Bill in the Cabinet.
The proposed law may have a considerable impact on MNCs operating in India, whether with or without a physical presence, due to its data localization requirements and cross-border data transfer restrictions.
The Reserve Bank of India had, in April last year, issued a data localization directive, mandating all authorized payment system operators and banks to store payment systems data only in India. This led to various ambiguities in the requirements as well as industry pushback on the strict requirements imposed, especially by global payment companies.
Recently, data privacy came under scrutiny after it came to light that some WhatsApp users in India have been snooped by the Israel-based tech firm NSO that developed Pegasus spyware to spy on 1,400 users across the world, including 121 Indian journalists, activists. Last week, Opposition also sought the government”s reply from Prasad if the government has made unauthorized use of the spyware.
Toeing the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the government had last year introduced a draft personal data protection bill to regulate the use of individual”s data by the government and private companies.
The draft bill, titled The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018, was prepared by an expert group headed by former Supreme Court judge B. N. Srikrishna. Now there will be norms on the collection, storage, and processing of personal data, consent of individuals, penalties and compensation, code of conduct and an enforcement model is likely to be a part of the law.
After cabinet approval, the Bill thereafter will be introduced in Parliament.
Last week, Prasad said that the government will soon introduce a robust and balanced Personal Data Protection law in Parliament, adding that India will never compromise on data sovereignty.