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Here’s what the IT Parliamentary Standing Committee is set to discuss in 2021-22

The Committee has had a busy year with hearings ranging from the Pegasus controversy to online intermediary regulations.

Reviewing the cyber security scenario in India, preventing the misuse of social media platforms, promoting locally made technology hardware, and studying the impact of internet shutdowns are among the many issues that the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology will discuss in its third year, as per a bulletin issued by the Lok Sabha.

Most of the issues are a continuation of the agenda stated for last year (2020-2021). New items have been marked with an asterisk (*). Among the new items are reviews of the functioning of IT Act 2000, functioning of Indian Telegraph Act 1885, and postal services in North Eastern Region.

Complete list of Committee’s agenda for 2021-22

Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology

  1. Citizens’ data security and privacy
  2. Digital Payment and Online Security measures for data protection
  3. Review of functioning of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI)
  4. Safeguarding citizens’ rights and prevention of misuse of social/online news media platforms including special emphasis on women security in the digital space
  5. Promotion of Electronics/IT Hardware/telecom equipment manufacturing sector under Make in India and measures for reduction of imports
  6. Technology initiatives taken by MeitY in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic
  7. Review of cyber security scenario in India
  8. Review of functioning of CSC-SPV *
  9. Review of functioning of Information Technology Act, 2000 *

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting

  1. Review of functioning of Prasar Bharati Organization
  2. Ethical standards in media coverage
  3. Indian Film Industry: Problems and Challenges
  4. Review of functioning of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC)
  5. Review of functioning and outreach of Doordarshan Channels
  6. Review of functioning of Bureau of Outreach and Communication (BOC) *
  7. Community Radio Stations: Growth, Opportunities and Challenges *

Ministry of Communications (Department of Telecommunications)

  1. Review of functioning of BSNL and MTNL and plan for enhancing their performance
  2. Review of functioning of TRAI
  3. Review of the performance of schemes under Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) with special emphasis on North East and LWE affected areas
  4. Suspension of Telecom Services/Internet and its impact
  5. Issues confronting Telecom Sector including Telecom Service Providers (TSPs)
  6. Inter-sectoral review of challenges of emerging and converging technologies, entities and practices
  7. Review of functioning of Indian Telegraph Act, 1885*

Ministry of Communications (Department of Posts)

  1. Real Estate Management in the Department of Posts
  2. Department of Posts – Initiatives and Challenges
  3. Review of postal services in North Eastern Region*

What happened in 2020-2021?

In December 2019 and January this year, the Standing Committee held a hearing with Facebook and Twitter on the subject of “safeguarding citizen rights’ and misuse of social media/news platforms.” Later in June, the Committee summoned Facebook, Twitter, and Google for further hearings on the same subject.

In July, the Committee called for a meeting to discuss the Pegasus Spyware controversy under the subject “citizen’s data security and privacy,” however officials from MeitY, MHA, and DoT did not appear for the meeting, prompting committee Chairman Shashi Tharoor to write to the Lok Sabha speaker saying that the act was “in clear contempt of the house.”

You can find a complete list of hearings held by the Committee here.

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