LS takes up Bill to extend political reservation to SCs, STs; Prasad says deliberating on Anglo-Indians' quota
The Personal Data Protection Bill was referred to a Joint Committee on Wednesday with the Lok Sabha adopting a motion moved by Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad who had earlier introduced the bill and said that "anonymized data" should be available for policymaking.
Moving the motion, Prasad said the "joint committee of the House" will have 20 members from the Lok Sabha and 10 members from the Rajya Sabha and would give its report on the first day of the last week of the next budget session.
While introducing the bill, Prasad had proposed that it should be referred to the select committee of the two Houses amid demands from the opposition members that it should be sent to the Standing Committee on Information Technology headed by Congress member Shashi Tharoor.
As Prasad took the names of Lok Sabha members in the joint committee, Trinamool Congress leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay said that they wanted to replace Sugata Roy with Mahua Moitra.
Bandyopadhyay said that Sugata Roy was handling a lot of works and the party cannot spare him. As Speaker Om Birla asked the Parliamentary Affairs Minister about his views on the suggestion, Prasad proposed that the name of the Trinamool Congress member may be added later. He urged Bandyopadhyay to let Roy remain in the committee as he had a vast experience but Bandyopadhyay said it was the party's decision.
"If you ask me, he (Roy) is the best person in parliament. You can't change my party's decision," he said, adding that the name will be given by the party.
Prasad said the joint committee to examine the bill will have 20 members from the Lok Sabha - Meenakshi Lekhi, PP Chaudhary, SS Ahluwalia, Tejasvi Surya, Ajay Bhatt, Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Sanjay Jaiswal, Uday Pratap Singh, Kirit Premjibhai Solanki, Arvind Dharampuri, Heena Gavit, Rajeev Ranjan Singh, Gaurav Gogoi, Jothimani, Saugata Roy, Kanimozhi, PV Midhun Reddy, Shrikant Eknath Shinde, Bhartruhari Mahtab and Ritesh Pandey. Congress member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that only two members of the party were on the panel and said the party should have more representation.
The Bill seeks to provide for the protection of the individual in relation to personal data and to establish a Data Protection Authority of India.
Earlier introducing the bill, Prasad said India's digital economy is rising and data is sought to be divided into three categories.
"We have got 130 crore population and 121 crore mobile phones. We generate a lot of data, but a lot of data is also important for the development of the economy. We are also making a provision that anonymized data must be available for policymaking, for innovation and others," he said.
"One is critical data -- the Government will notify it from time to time; the second is sensitive data which relates to income, medical records, sexual preferences and a whole lot of things. Critical data cannot go out of India at all. Sensitive data can go out of India only with the consent of the individual and with the approval of the authority," he added.
The bill provides for the protection of privacy of individuals relating to their personal data, specify the flow and usage of personal data, create a relationship of trust between persons and entities processing the personal data and protect the rights of individuals whose personal data are processed.
It also seeks to create a framework for organisational and technical measures in the processing of data, laying down norms for social media intermediary, cross-border transfer, accountability of entities processing personal data, remedies for unauthorised and harmful processing, and to establish a Data Protection Authority of India.
The minister said that the Supreme Court had held that privacy is a fundamental right. "But the Supreme Court has also added that any terrorist and a corrupt person has no right to privacy," he said.
Prasad said that the Supreme Court in the Aadhaar case has emphasised that they must come up with the data protection law.
"There is a mandate of the Supreme Court also that they must come up with data protection law. Another thing which is very important is that we have not come up with this Bill suddenly. We set up a Committee headed by very distinguished retired Supreme Court Judge Justice Srikrishna," he said.
Prasad said the committee had held wide consultations and 2000 recommendations were made.
"Thereafter, we discussed and we have come here," he said.
Referring to concerns of opposition about surveillance, he said the architecture of the Bill is that without the consent of the individual if his data is taken, there will be the penalty.
"What has been said (about surveillance) is completely wrong, unsustainable, malicious and misleading. If one misuses the data beyond the permissible consent, he will face consequences. We have given provision of the penalty of crores of rupees. Through this Data Protection Bill, we are safeguarding the rights of Indians," he said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)