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Parliamentary Committee focusses on exemptions for govt agency under Data Protection Bill

Parliament House

After a four-month-long pandemic-induced hiatus and a false start, the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Personal Data Protection Bill convened on July 27. The two-and-a-half-hour meeting, that saw attendance from 18 of the 30 MPs, largely focussed on Sections 35 and 36 of the Bill, the ones that allow the central government to exempt any government agency from any or all provisions of the Bill, four sources, on the condition of anonymity, who were present at the meeting told MediaNama. The next meeting is scheduled for August 10, two other people told us. In addition to Sections 35 and 36, Section 96, as per which the Personal Data Protection Bill would override any other conflicting Act, was also discussed. In the five meetings that have happened thus far, “[Section] 96 is always referred along with [Sections] 35 and 36 because the three of them together negate everything in the Bill,” a source told us. The Registrar General and Census Commissioner Vivek Joshi, though not listed in the schedule, also made an oral presentation. Both the NCRB and the Census Commissioner argued in favour of the necessity of exemptions under Sections 35 and 36, a source told us. The Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, under the Home Ministry, is responsible for carrying out the census, and for acting as the “National Registration Authority” for the controversial National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) and National Population Register (NPR), and the Commissioner argued for exemptions for creation of NPR and…

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