Data privacy law, electronics hub among Vaishnaw’s priorities in second stint as Union IT minister

  • Framing of rules under the digital personal data protection (DPDP) law is in an advanced stage and industry consultations will begin shortly, said IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw

Gulveen Aulakh
First Published15 Jun 2024, 08:51 PM IST
Union IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. (PTI)
Union IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. (PTI)

Framing of rules for the digital personal data protection law is at an advanced stage and industry consultations will begin shortly, Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Saturday, laying out his priorities in his second term at the ministry of electronics and information technology.

Among Meity’s other focus areas for the next five years are developing India into a global electronics manufacturing hub and self-reliance in semiconductor chips and laptops and servers, he said.

Vaishnaw is also in charge of the railways, and the information and broadcasting ministries.

Execution of the DPDP rules will be digital by design and an online platform will be created by the National Informatics Centre or the Digital India Corporation, both of which operate under Meity.

“Our thought process of creating a new digital regulatory framework… stays absolutely intact,” Vaishnaw said. “We have seen the destructive power of AI, so should we recalibrate our strategy? That is a question that we need to answer.”

A digital framework

The DPDP law is one of the three legislations that the government had taken up for revamp in its previous term. The other two were the Telecommunications Bill 2023, which became an Act in December, and the Digital India Bill, which is yet to be taken up for public consultation.

The DPDP law aims to protect the privacy of Indian citizens with penalties of up to 250 crore on entities failing to prevent data breaches or misuse of the personal data of individuals. The Act was notified last year but rules under the law are yet to be finalised.

“We will go as extensive as we can. We will not rush through, and prefer a consultative process,” Vaishnaw said. “In parallel, we are working on creating a digital-by-design platform, so that the implementation can be done in a digital form. That exercise is also going on in parallel.”

Global electronics hub

Among his other priorities, Vaishnaw indicated steeper targets for electronics production as India aims to become an electronics manufacturing hub for local consumption as well as exports. 

“In the last four months, queries have come from large players wanting to come in, on the process and modalities of setting up plants, and we have been directing them to (original equipment manufacturers) so that OEMS and component manufacturers can have a synergy,” Vaishnaw said.

Electronics production should double to $200-300 billion over the next five years, of which a significant portion will be exports, he said, adding that this can more than double employment in the sector to nearly 5 million in that time frame. 

India’s electronics production is currently pegged at $125-130 billion, employing 2.25 million people.

“In this term we should be easily doubling it, about 50 lakh in terms of employment number, and $200-300 billion as total production,” Vaishnaw said. “In fact, I think we should be taking a more aggressive target, which I think we should do once we talk with the industry.”

Laptops, EVs and chips

On laptop and server production, India is in the process of becoming self-reliant and most of the companies that were granted permission have started production, Vaishnaw said, adding that India will also have a massive ecosystem for electric vehicles in 3-4 years. 

Construction of the semiconductor packaging units of Micron and Tata Electronics is on track, he said, adding that production from their plants will be for local consumption and exports. 

Manpower training is also moving in tandem as India looks to build a formidable skill base in the areas of chip manufacturing, Vaishnaw said, adding that some universities are being empanelled by manufacturers themselves to build a skilled talent pool.

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First Published:15 Jun 2024, 08:51 PM IST
HomeNewsData privacy law, electronics hub among Vaishnaw’s priorities in second stint as Union IT minister

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