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Centre may junk Personal Data Protection Bill for a new law: Report

Centre may junk Personal Data Protection Bill for a new law: Report

Centre may junk Personal Data Protection Bill for a new law: Report
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By CNBCTV18.com Feb 17, 2022 5:32:07 PM IST (Updated)

A fresh legislation is being considered because some provisions of the current Personal Data Protection Bill, such as data minimisation, may hurt the startup ecosystem.

The Centre may junk the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019, which was almost five years in the making, and draft a completely new privacy Bill. One of the proposals being considered is the introduction of fresh legislation that can address concerns over the current provisions being unsuitable for the startup ecosystem, The Economic Times reported, quoting people aware of the matter.

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When the structure of the Bill was envisaged, the startup ecosystem did not have the kind of  momentum it enjoys right now. In the past one year, a record 42 unicorns were created in the country.

The Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill 2019 was originally mooted in 2017 and drafted by a panel led by retired Supreme Court Judge B.N. Srikrishna. Former IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad introduced the Bill, which aims to regulate data collection and storage procedures in India, in 2019.

It was then reviewed by a Joint Committee of parliament and after two years of deliberations and five extensions, the JCP adopted the draft report on the Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill 2019 in November last year.

Several stakeholders had criticised the proposed regulation, flagging concerns over the structure of the Data Protection Bill, and provisions on inclusion of non-personal data and treating social media as publishers.

Under the present rules, the government can only tweak clauses in a JCP draft Bill, but cannot change the provisions. For any major change, the government would have to consult the industry, which would be a time-consuming affair.

“A better option is to bring a new Bill altogether which is aligned with the current times," The Economic Times quoted on official as saying.

The current Bill has provisions such as data minimisation, where companies will have to collect minimal data. This will impact the way startups have functioned in the past, Nikhil Narendran, partner for telecom, media & technology at Trilegal, told CNBC-TV18 earlier. Startups will face a lot of compliance burden, which will also require a lot of investment, he said.

“The compliance requirements from the industry as per this draft Bill will completely cripple it," ET quoted a source as saying.

The revised version of the draft Data Protection Bill was due to be presented in Parliament in the second leg of the Budget session, starting March 14. However, the Cabinet is yet to discuss the Bill.

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