Data rules may debut in graded manner



Under this approach, micro, small and medium enterprises will get longer time frames to comply, while larger corporations will get less.

NEW DELHI : The central government is planning a “graded" transition regarding compliance with rules under the Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Act, an official of the plans said. Under this approach, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) will get longer time frames to comply, while larger corporations will get less.

“We may do this at graded levels, where the vast majority of Big Tech, as well as companies, can transition quicker. MSMEs, government bodies and smaller companies can take a little bit more time," the official at the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) said on condition of anonymity. The transition timeline will also indicate the final date from which rules under the DPDP Act will be notified. However, the official added that the government has not decided on the time frames yet.

Meity has received varying feedback on the matter, with large companies seeking more time to transition than smaller ones. However, the Centre feels MSMEs and smaller firms need more time for compliance, as larger companies have more resources and are hence better equipped for the change.

Answering a question on when the final rules under the DPDP Act will be notified, the official said, “The broad rules are ready, and the draft is getting prepared."

Under the rules of the DPDP Act, the appellate body in the grievance redressal mechanism, called Data Protection Board, will begin with setting up a digital platform through which complainants can interact with the body.

The first self-regulatory body (SRBs) in online gaming will be approved by the end of the month, the official added. SRBs were mandated by the Centre under the amendment of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 in April this year. Meity has so far received “three to four proposals," but the latter were “yet to be scrutinized and approved," the official added.

“If in case any of them don’t meet the cut (for approval), then the government will come in and begin regulating, even though that is not the intent. However, we have to ensure that industry capture of the SRBs does not take place," he said, adding that equal representation from legal, industry and consumer groups would be preferred.

An industry consultant, who has worked with more than one of the SRB applicants, agreed.

“The overall approval structure and the general idea has been worked out. However, the government is concerned about the kind of influence that various significant gaming companies have on each of the applicants—which has so far delayed the process. The Centre is presently in the process of reviewing the same," he said.

On 5 September, Mint reported that approval of SRBs had stalled due to Meity’s concerns regarding industry influence on the applicants.

At least two industry executives, who requested anonymity, said that the Centre is closer to approving one of the four bodies that have applied for the role of being an SRB.

Applicants vying for the role of SRBs include industry bodies All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), Esports Players Welfare Association (EPWA), a consortium of the E-Gaming Federation (EGF) and the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS), and of late, All-India Gaming Regulator (AIGR) Foundation.

Without the approval of SRBs, online gaming companies are presently liable to face penalties for activities such as advertisements, Mint reported on 25 August.

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