“Rajya Sabha Passes Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, Safeguarding Citizens’ Privacy in Digital India”

"Rajya Sabha Passes Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, Safeguarding Citizens' Privacy in Digital India"

In a major stride towards ensuring digital privacy for citizens, the Rajya Sabha has successfully passed the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill (DPDPB) through a voice vote. The bill, designed to regulate the collection and use of personal data in the digital realm, seeks to safeguard users’ privacy while considering the interests of private firms and government entities.

Originally introduced in the Lok Sabha, the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill (DPDPB), 2023, garnered attention from both proponents and critics as it made its way through the legislative process. The Lower House passed the bill on Monday, August 7, following its presentation and acceptance for consideration on Thursday. However, the bill’s journey has been marked by debates, particularly with the Opposition demanding further review by a standing committee.

At its core, the bill addresses concerns related to the collection, processing, and misuse of personal information by online platforms. With a focus on data privacy, the legislation presents a comprehensive framework for the governance of digital personal data, striking a balance between individual rights and business operations.

Union Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, Ashwini Vaishnaw, hailed the passage of the bill as a landmark achievement in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a Digital India. Emphasizing the significance of the legislation, Vaishnaw highlighted that it places several obligations on both private entities and government bodies regarding the handling of citizens’ data.

The bill aligns with global data protection principles, drawing inspiration from frameworks like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It emphasizes key tenets such as lawfulness, fairness, transparency, data minimization, accuracy, integrity, and accountability. The legislation strives to maintain data privacy without overly burdening businesses, ensuring a harmonious coexistence between user protection and industry interests.

While the bill strengthens data privacy rights, it also carries implications for the Right to Information Act (RTI) of 2005. By removing exemptions for disclosing personal information in the public interest, the bill amends the RTI Act. Previously, officials’ salaries and other personal details could be disclosed under public interest exemptions, but the new bill prohibits such disclosures entirely.

The development of the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill has been a collaborative effort, involving extensive public consultation. Released for feedback on November 18, the bill received around 20,000 comments from experts and industry stakeholders. Remarkably, the final version of the bill presented in Parliament remained largely unchanged from the draft circulated for public review.

As the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill moves closer to becoming law, its enactment is poised to create a significant impact on India’s digital landscape. By offering enhanced data protection and privacy provisions, the legislation reflects the nation’s commitment to fostering a secure and responsible digital environment.

Sources By Agencies

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