Union Minister of State for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship and Electronics & IT, Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, participated in an interaction with students, startups, and prominent citizens from the state in Bengaluru on Saturday. During the session, he recounted the journey behind the creation of the historic Data Personal Data Protection Act, charting its course from inception to its present status as a law. He shared his journey, which commenced in 2010 when he initially introduced the concept of privacy as a subject of parliamentary debate during the UPA era.
“The Digital Personal Data Protection Act is a world-class legislation. On August 15, 2021, our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi introduced the term ‘techade,’ reflecting his vision of a future full of technological opportunities for students, young Indians who will be part of the workforce tomorrow. Looking back to 2010, when I was an MP, I introduced a private members’ bill in the Parliament, asking for privacy to be recognized as a fundamental right. Unfortunately, the government at that time did not feel it was a necessary debate. Essentially personal data of citizens of this country was available for exploitation,” the Minister said during his interaction.
Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar elaborated on how this law integrates into a broader mission aligned with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision. This vision aims to establish contemporary and relevant laws tailored to Indian requirements along with platform obligations.
“The forthcoming companion legislation is known as the Digital India Act, which is set to replace the 22-year-old IT Act. The Digital India Act will deal with the whole ecosystem of technology. Previously, data privacy conversations in our country used to start and end with the GDPR. It was almost a trend to regard anything foreign as the best. But we decided to design an Indian bill ground up instead of deriving inspiration from the GDPR. We have looked at the Indian internet with the 830 million Indians who use the internet and by 2025-26 it will be 1.2 billion Indians. We are the largest connected country in the world. We deserve to be setting our own standards in any conversation about technology for the future rather than borrowing anything from the EU or US,” the Minister added.
In highlighting the Government’s commitment to treating citizens’ personal digital data with utmost importance, the Minister emphasized the significance of imposing substantial penalties. These penalties serve a vital purpose — to ensure industries and platforms adhere to this law.
Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar said, “This law is creating a new regime. We will allow companies and industries a transitional period. The era of misuse, the era of exploitation, the era of believing that Indian citizens don’t have rights comes to an end with this law. This bill is an important marker to catalyze the innovation ecosystem because it removes any ambiguity of what an entity is supposed to do when privacy is being declared as a fundamental right. In case of a citizen’s data breach, they simply need to visit the website, provide the data protection board with details, and the board will initiate an inquiry, imposing penalties on the breaching platforms. We want the penalties to be punitive so that it incentivises platforms to be responsible.”
The event, named “SansadDhvani,” is a citizen engagement initiative spearheaded by Shri Tejasvi Surya, Member of Parliament from Bengaluru South and National President of The Bharatiya Janata YuvaMorcha.