OPEN APP
Home / News / India /  Comprehensive legal framework is in the works: Ashwini Vaishnaw

Comprehensive legal framework is in the works: Ashwini Vaishnaw

Ashwini Vaishnaw, minister for communications, electronics and IT (Photo: PTI)Premium
Ashwini Vaishnaw, minister for communications, electronics and IT (Photo: PTI)

The govt aims to replace the personal data protection bill with a comprehensive legal framework for the digital ecosystem that will encompass a new telecom law, information technology law, and user privacy law, Ashwini Vaishnaw, minister for electronics, information technology and communications, said in an interview.

Listen to this article

NEW DELHI : The government aims to replace the personal data protection bill with a comprehensive legal framework for the digital ecosystem that will encompass a new telecom law, information technology law, and user privacy law, Ashwini Vaishnaw, minister for electronics, information technology and communications, said in an interview. The minister said the comprehensive law would have to be in sync with today’s digital economy, where data consumption is primarily through mobile phones. He noted that media protection from Big Tech and revamping IT intermediary rules would form part of the comprehensive framework. The government will soon begin consultations with stakeholders. Edited excerpts:

What was the trigger for withdrawing the bill?

We have withdrawn the data protection bill from the Parliament today because the JCP had detailed discussions with stakeholders, and after a long process of three years, there were 81 amendments in a bill of 99 sections and more recommendations for other incorporations. With that as the background, we have to have a new draft.

Why scrap the law now and not earlier?

After the JCP presented the report, it took us a few months. That was the only time we could have even started on a new draft or think what to do with it (old draft). Our intent is absolutely crystal clear. What we are doing is basically in line with what the Supreme Court has told us to do. I fully understand that there has been a delay in this, but the subject was too complex. We could have withdrawn it, let’s say, four months back, but we needed a little bit of deliberation before biting the bullet.

When do you want to begin consultations?

Very soon.

When did you decide that a new bill should come?

We are in a digital economy. What are the four or five big components of it—telecom (Act) of 1885, Information Technology Act of 2000, they’re vintage. And here is a joint committee of Parliament report, which is asking us to do many things which are needed. So how do we put everything in a very clear, comprehensive framework? So this is the starting point. The full comprehensive framework that we are working on, in parallel, (is) on all these activities. We are fully committed to the right to privacy; it is absolutely in sync with the Supreme Court judgment, and very rapidly now, we’ll be able to do it because the parliamentary process is now over. Otherwise, it would become a privilege issue that there is a bill already running in the Parliament and officially we do a new one; it becomes very wrong.

What are the core pillars of the new comprehensive law? Will the 2019 draft bill be a reference point at all?

So, the basic principles of data privacy are already in place, accepted all over the world, and fully understood by the whole global community. So, there’s no change in that. The fundamental point is how do we put it in a comprehensive picture so that each (telecom, IT, data) within that framework properly resonate with the others. Telecom is a major way by which we consume data today, and that is where the big privacy concerns are. The consultation paper that is floated has to have the elements which are reflected in data protection. It has to again be in sync with what we are drafting in the revamp of the IT Act. So, all these things have to be properly synchronized with each other.

Elements of protecting consumer rights, rules for social media, and removing fake news. How would those be addressed?

There has to be social media accountability. Parliament also has a good consensus around it now that there has to be accountability. So, which of these three pieces, it would fit in, is something that we are working on. As and when we complete the work, we should be able to upload it for public consultations. We are in an advanced stage. We should be able to bring you the new version very soon.

Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.
More Less
Subscribe to Mint Newsletters
* Enter a valid email
* Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.
Close

Recommended For You

×
Edit Profile
Get alerts on WhatsApp
Set Preferences My ReadsWatchlistFeedbackRedeem a Gift CardLogout