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A Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) has finalised and adopted, after more than two years of deliberations, the draft report on The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 by a majority in the meeting today.

The Bill will be soon tabled in the upcoming Winter Session of Parliament, that is expected to start by this month-end. The JPC has got five extensions to submit report on the Bill in two years.

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh his dissent note to the panel on the Bill after the committee adopted its report.

The former Union minister also lauded the democratic manner in which the committee functioned under the chairmanship of PP Chaudhuri for the past four months.

Ramesh, who is also the chief whip of the Congress party in Rajya Sabha, in his dissent note said he had suggested amendments to Section 35, which is the most crucial provision of the Bill as well as to Section 12.

He has argued that Section 35 gives almost unbridled powers to the central government to exempt any government agency from the entire Act itself.

"Under the amendment I had suggested, the central government will have to get Parliamentary approval for exempting any of its agencies from the purview of the law. Even then, the government must always comply with the Bill's requirement of fair and reasonable processing and implementing the necessary security safeguards," Ramesh said.

The Data Protection Bill was first brought to the Parliament in 2019 and was referred to the JPC for examination at the time.

The Bill is landmark legislation meant to regulate how various companies and organizations use individuals’ data inside India. The 2019 draft of the Bill proposed the formation of a Data Protection Authority (DPA), which would regulate the use of users’ personal data by social media companies and other organizations within the country.

It is also expected to set data localization norms for companies that retain user data.

The draft Bill proposed in 2019 had been opposed by social media firms, experts and even ministers, who said that it had too many loopholes to be effective and beneficial for both users and companies.

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