A parliamentary committee should have been given oversight over exemptions given to government bodies, MP Gaurav Gogoi said in his dissent note on the Data Protection Bill 2021. He also highlighted issues in the report related to non-personal data and the appointment of the Data Protection Authority. The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) report, which was recently tabled in Parliament, could significantly shape the final iteration of India's Data Protection Act. Dissent notes from JPC members, however, highlight areas where it may have failed to be effective. On government access to data The committee's report adds that the Union Government has the power to exempt any government agency from all or any of the provisions of the Data Protection Act under 'just, fair, reasonable and proportionate procedure.' Recommendation: Provisions related to prohibition on processing data, purpose of processing data, limitation on collection, retention and security safeguards for data should also be applied to State agencies, Gogoi recommends. There should be oversight by the parliament or a committee of the parliament on such exemptions and the agencies exempted. Reasons for recommendation: According to him, in such cases there should be higher standards of data protection and inspiration can be taken from the United Kingdom's General Data Protection Act where principles of lawful and fairness, adequacy and limitation, accuracy and retention have been applied on law enforcement agencies. On Parliamentary oversight, Gogoi refers to practices in the UK and Germany, where such agencies are subject to oversight by Parliamentary committees. UK: In case…
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