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The Centre on Wednesday withdrew the long-awaited Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill, 2019 to replace it with a new bill with a ‘comprehensive framework’ and ‘contemporary digital privacy laws’. After four years of deliberations, many in the industry are disappointed. But some see hope.

The Data Protection Bill as proposed by the JPC had become an omnibus, going much beyond the remit of the original Bill. Given the number of outstanding questions around issues like non personal data, data localisation, cross border data flows, exemptions to central government, the government’s intent to bring a fresh Bill that incorporates all the feedback could be a positive step

After the PDP Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 11, 2019, it roused a debate over proposing a single law to handle personal as well as non-personal datasets and mandating a complete local storage of data. The Bill became a worry for big tech, and other experts had stated it gave too much control to the government in some areas.

Amol Kulkarni, director (research), CUTS International, told Business Standard, “This is a setback not only for big tech or the corporate world but also for individuals and consumers and privacy-first organisations that had worked hard on engaging with the government and consumers and other stakeholders.”

Aparajita Bharti, Founding Partner at TQH Consulting, sees a positive side.


Read more: What challenges does the metaverse pose? Developers say data privacy security, disinformation & hate speech


“The Data Protection Bill as proposed by the JPC had become an omnibus, going much beyond the remit of the original Bill. Given the number of outstanding questions around issues like non personal data, data localisation, cross border data flows, exemptions to central government, the government’s intent to bring a fresh Bill that incorporates all the feedback could be a positive step. One hopes that the new Bill will be circulated for consultation in the near future,” she said.

As per a statement given by Electronics and IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, the government withdrew the Bill on grounds that the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) had recommended 81 amendments in it, which contains 99 sections. The JPC had made 12 recommendations.

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