The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2021 was withdrawn by the Indian government on Wednesday, August 3, following the submission of 81 amendments by a joint parliamentary committee (JCP). The administration is now preparing to present a new Bill in response to the withdrawal.
Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, proposed a motion in the Lok Sabha to withdraw the Bill. The parliamentary committee had included 12 recommendations for “a comprehensive legal framework” in addition to the revisions.
“Considering the report of the JCP, a comprehensive legal framework is being worked upon. Hence, in the circumstances, it is proposed to withdraw The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 and present a new bill that fits into the comprehensive legal framework,” Vaishnaw said.
The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, which was first drafted in 2017 by a group under the direction of retired Supreme Court Judge BN Srikrishna, was introduced in December 2019. It then received harsh criticism from several opposition party leaders and was sent to the JCP for review.
When a draft of the Data Protection Bill, 2021 was also submitted to the Lok Sabha in December of last year, the committee’s report was also made available. Later this year, it was anticipated that the Parliament will approve the new Bill.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Skill Development and IT, discussed the withdrawal of the Bill and the presentation of a new Bill on Twitter. “This will soon be replaced by a comprehensive framework of Global std laws including Digital Privacy laws for contemporary & future challenges,” Chandrasekhar wrote.
The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2021, recommended rules for social media platforms and data localization, and it covered a wide range of processing activities including personal data, sensitive personal data, and non-personal data.
The innovation occurs at a time when the nation’s technological landscape is rapidly changing.
Although the Indian government and numerous other private organizations gather and store public data, Indian citizens are not covered by any laws that can prevent data misuse.
While it remains to be seen how the nation’s legal and business experts, in general, respond to the draft’s withdrawal, MP Manish Tewari took to Twitter to call this incident “most unfortunate.”
“For full two years during the height of waves 1 & 2 of COVID-19 MP’s across parties worked to better it. Big Tech never wanted this Law. Big Tech won. India lost,” he said.