P.S: This series of articles is an attempt to place some issues before the Government of India which promises to bring a new Data Protection Law that is futuristic, comprehensive and Perfect.
There is an interesting headline appearing in inc42.com today which is a media considered as an anti-Government media. It says “Govt May Drop Centralised Data Protection Authority From New Privacy Bill: Report .
The article confidently proclaims that the concept of DPA as was proposed in the Data Protection Bill would be scrapped and in its place Government is planning to introduce a “Grievance Redressal Mechanism”.
The logic for the same is also provided in the news report which says.. “A lot of the functions that were allotted to DPA were out of its remit; the collection, storage and sharing of personal data will either be worked into the law itself or be included in the rules that will be made under the law, the report quoted an official as saying.”
It proceeds further to say
” According to the official, the government does not want to not overwhelm one authority and increase compliance costs for small companies.”
..and also that “Another official was quoted as saying that the government is looking at making the bill as uncomplicated as possible.”
It appears that there were more than one official who was perhaps sitting across a pub table and talking to journalists at inc42.com and Hindustan Times about what is being contemplated.
I wonder who are the officials who are leaking such views to inc42.com. If any official from Meity is providing such information, the Government should be seriously concerned how such information is leaking out before it is officially announced. Probably an investigation has to be conducted to know if there is any violation of the official secrets act.
A thought however occurs…are these reports being planted…?
Because the Government wants to test the reaction of the public on such suggestions? or
Is inc42.com which is asking the MeitY to act as suggested and behaving like a super minister?
Either way, the honour of MeitY and that of the Ministers are at stake since it is clear that decisions are being taken by vested interests in the market on what kind of law is required.
I am reminded of the Nirav Modi -PNB fraud case where it is reported that Letters of Guarantee were being issued by the clerks in Nirav Modi’s office instead of the Bank Officers from their Bank servers.
It appears that inc42.com is the Nirav Modi for the Ministry.
There is a fair possibility that inc42.com may be bluffing just to create an opinion on what is suggested and the reporter could have confused himself/herself with the grievance redressal system suggested under the Intermediary Guidelines under ITA 2000.
It must be stated that this proposition under Intermediary Guidelines is itself ultra-vires ITA 2000 and it was a reflection of the quality of advisors who had finalized the idea. The same set of un-informed persons must be suggesting that the Data Protection Authority can be scrapped and the “Grievance Redressal Mechanism” can take over all the responsibilities of the proposed DPA.
It should be noted that the article of inc42.com quotes Mr Rajeev Chandrashekar and gives the impression that these thoughts including that “Bill would hurt Start ups” are his thoughts. I am sure that Mr Rajeev Chandrashekar who sat through the JPC is aware that PDPB 2019 provided 3 years of Sand Box provision which could be used by Start ups to postpone the implementation of the provisions.
If a further two years were given for implementation, then a total of five years time would have been available for start ups to implement PDPB 2019 after its passage. So it is unlikely that Mr Rajeev Chandrashekar would have held such a view.
It is however necessary that Mr Rajeev Chandrashekar should clear his name and disown the press reports which are being leaked apparently from his office.
For the information of all, we would like to say that the functions of the DPA are not limited to “Grievance Redressal” which is taken care of by the Adjudicator and the Appellate Tribunal. There are other functions of the DPA which perhaps the Inc42.com reporter is not aware.
It is clear that the PR mechanism of the Anti Government lobby is at work and trying to plant such stories from time to time to create a ground for the Government to create a draft which will embarrass the Modi Government.
It is unfortunate that the Ministers are not serious in preventing such fake reports quoting their names.
This is part of the Information Warfare which the Government is trying to address through the Intermediary Guidelines.
I hope better senses will prevail with the Ministry which should take steps to curb “Quotes” from their officials. If inc42.com has any suggestions, it is free to make them as their suggestions and not drag the names of ghost employees of the Ministry.
At the same time, if the officials of the Ministry donot openly disown the statements attributed to the officials, it should be considered as an admission that it is correct and there is a conspiracy to let the draft be prepared by the media than the real experts.
We therefore demand that the Secretary of MeitY provides a public clarification about the names of the officials who have been leaking the draft under preparation.
P.S: These discussions are presently for a debate and is a work in progress awaiting more inputs for further refinement. It is understood that the Government may already have a draft and may completely ignore all these recommendations. However, it is considered that these suggestions will assist in the development of “Jurisprudence” in the field of Data Governance in India and hence these discussions will continue until the Government releases its own version for further debate. Other professionals who are interested in participating in this exercise and particularly the Research and Academic organizations are invited to participate. Since this exercise is too complex to institutionalize, it is being presented at this stage as only the thoughts of Naavi. Views expressed here may be considered as personal views of Naavi and not that of FDPPI or any other organization that Naavi may be associated with.