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Government agencies ask panel to be excused from India’s Data Protection Bill: Report

With a report on the bill coming, the parliamentary panel studying it has been reportedly taking inputs from various stakeholders.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and the Income Tax (IT) department have asked the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) reviewing India's draft Data Protection Bill to be exempt from it, according to reports in The Hindu and Hindustan Times. This comes despite the 2019 draft of the same bill being criticised for providing broad exemptions to government bodies under some clauses. The UIDAI asked for blanket exemptions from the draft bill since it was already being governed by the Aadhaar Act, reported The Hindu. The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 lays down how the unique ID will be used for welfare delivery, also covering how data will be collected and shared, although, it has been criticised for not having enough privacy safeguards. The data protection bill is expected to govern how Indian citizens’ data can be used and processed and lays down provisions on setting up a data protection regulator, data localisation requirements, exemptions for government authorities, and so on. Our fear is that the Bill, if implemented in the present form, may create two distinct ecosystems. One with the government agencies who will be completely out of the ambit of the law, giving them complete freedom to deal with the personal data. And the second will be private data fiduciaries who will have to deal with every letter in the law. — A committee member as quoted in the HT report Interestingly, it was Aadhaar which had led to the Right to Privacy judgement…

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I cover health technology for MediaNama but, really, love all things tech policy. Always willing to chat with a reader! Reach me at anushka@medianama.com

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