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India’s IT Minister on DPDP Bill: Law should be kept ‘simple’, subordinate rules won’t exceed Act

Ashwini Vaishnaw was interviewed by HT and responded to criticisms of the draft Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022

Several aspects of the draft Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Bill, 2022 were clarified by Union Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, Ashwini Vaishnaw, in an interview with the Hindustan Times. We summarise his major comments on the various provisions, which give an idea of the government's mindset while formulating the bill and what lies ahead for citizens' data protection rights. Here are the edited excerpts: Want to make the laws "saral": Vaishnaw said, the Prime Minister has given us a clear mandate that all the laws that we make should have the saral (simple) framework. He added that common citizens should be able to understand this and not just the lawyers; and that all of the stuff that makes it difficult to interpret should not be included (in the law). The telecom bill follows a similar structure, he said. Context: The previous version of the data protection bill had over ninety provisions whereas the new draft has only thirty. Plus, several aspects have either been removed or left to be prescribed later. Sub-ordinate legislation cannot go beyond the boundaries of the legislation: When asked about the criticism received for leaving out several aspects of the Bill to be prescribed later, the minister said that no subordinate legislation can be beyond the boundary of the main legislation. Vaishnaw said: Why do you need to write what will be the qualification of the member (of the Data Protection Board)? In the bill we say it will be an independent body, now the…

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I cover privacy, surveillance and tech policy. In my reporting, I try my best to present the most relevant facts, and sometimes add in a pinch of my thoughts.

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