Better late than never: the government of India has finally set up Parliamentary Standing Committees, with Congress MP Shashi Tharoor heading the committee on Information Technology. In the last term of Parliament, the committee had been chaired by Anuragh Thakur, who is currently the Minister of State for Finance. The last committee looked into issues including Net Neutrality* and started discussions on Privacy, but reports on neither subject were submitted or published.

Parliamentary Standing Committees are bipartisan committees, with representatives from both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. IT Minister RS Prasad has said that the Personal Data Protection Bill may be sent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on IT, or to a “select committee”.

Tharoor is a great choice: Tharoor is a great pick for heading this committee, given that he has often raised technology policy issues in Parliament, including submitting a Private Members Bill related to Privacy and data protection, submitting a bill for regulation of online gambling in India, and asking for a review of Internet Shutdown rules. He hasn’t been very keen on TikTok, though.

Other noteworthy inclusions:

Who is in the committee?

From the Lok Sabha:

  1. Locket Chatterjee
  2. Karti P. Chidambaram
  3. Sunny Deol
  4. Dr. Nishikant Dubey
  5. Vijay Kumar Dubey
  6. Choudhary Memboob Ali Kaiser
  7. Raksha Nikhil Khadse
  8. Dr Sukanta Majumdar
  9. Dhairyasheel Sambhajirao Mane
  10. Mahua Moitra
  11. P. R. Natarajan
  12. Santosh Pandey
  13. Nisith Pramanik
  14. Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore
  15. Dr. Gaddam Ranjith Reddy
  16. MVV Satyanarayana
  17. Sanjay Seth
  18. L.S. Tejasvi Surya
  19. T.Sumathy (A) Thamizahachi Thangapandian
  20. Dr. Shashi Tharoor
  21. Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma

    From the Rajya Sabha

  22. Dr. Anil Agrawal
  23. Dr. Subhash Chandra
  24. Y.S. Chowdhary
  25. Suresh Gopi
  26. Md. Nadimul Haque
  27. Dyed Nasir Hussain
  28. Dr. Narendra Jadhav
  29. D. Kupendra Reddy
  30. Ronald Sapa Tlau
  31. Beni Prasad Verma

Disclosure: I had deposed before the committee on Net Neutrality