India works on robust data protection law

The government is working on a robust data protection law which will set a global benchmark, Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said.

“We will come up with data protection law that will set a global benchmark like the way we have done for Aadhaar,” Prasad reportedly said at a session organised by Biju Janata Dal MP Baijayant Panda on privacy and data protection.

The minister reportedly said the government has formed a committee to give a structured report on data utility, data privacy and data availability.

“That committee is to give a report in coming three months. I want to assure you that we respect data sovereignty of Indians but we also appeal to Indians that your data must be made available also for legitimate concerns, legitimate interest and for development of India,” media reports quoted Prasad as saying.

He reportedly said data of people should be available for innovation and research.

The minister said India’s digital economy is going to be $1 trillion and stakeholders of the economy have said it will become $2 trillion in the next 5-7 years.

“The projection is 50-75 lakh jobs will be created only in digital economy in coming 5-7 years apart from giving taxes,” Prasad reportedly said.

The minister said digital transactions increased from 3,700 per day in November 2016 to 54 lakh per day at present.
Enumerating achievements of the government in the last three years, he said 93 mobile manufacturing companies have come in India and there is scope for medical, defence, automobile electronics in the country.

“The reason why I very briefly gave the(information on) whole digital ecosystem is how should we go forward? Should we go forward in the name of privacy to kill it? Should we stop it or should we not stop it? That is indeed a challenge,” PTI quoted Prasad as saying.

He reportedly said the information technology revolution is also to be respected, accelerated and in this larger framework issue of privacy has to be considered.

“In a strict sense, in a conservative sense…since I am also law minister and the matter is pending (before court), I will be guarded in my comment but in strict sense what you do in your house is your privacy,” Prasad said.

The minister said the Supreme Court judgement has said Right to privacy is not an absolute right.

“On behalf of the government we also said it (privacy) is not an an absolute right but part of Article 21,” Prasad said.

The minister quoted from the apex court judgement that “Like the right to life and liberty, privacy is not absolute. The limitations which operate on the right to life and personal liberty would operate on the right to privacy”.

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