Cabinet clears Data Protection Bill, likely to be tabled in Parliament soon

The long-awaited Data Protection Bill got a nod from the Union Cabinet on Wednesday, paving the way for it to be tabled in the Parliament in the ongoing Winter Session. 

"Very important subject how data protection will be done. It is an important subject the world over. The Bill will be keeping India's and people's rights in mind,"  said Prakash Javadekar, the Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, while addressing the press after a cabinet meeting which took place in the morning. 

The Personal Data Protection Bill has been in the works for nearly a year now, and has been giving the technology industry jitters because the final draft has not been made public. Once cleared by the Parliament, the Bill will have repercussions for industries across the board - from retail to aviation, manufacturing to automobiles, and even your local grocer if he stores your details in a digital format.

Data localisation, data fiduciary responsibility, steep fines and classification of personal and sensitive personal data were thorny issues in the first draft. 

A draft of the Personal Data Protection Bill was made public by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on July 27 last year. It detailed the rules and obligations for different entities who process personal data in the country, and came under a lot of criticism for the way it proposed handling cross-border data flows.

It was opened for public consultation last year, but the Bill in its final form was not made pubic. The ministry reportedly received over 600 submissions, but none of them were made public.

The government has held several rounds of consultations with different stakeholders post the first draft, but the Bill or any modifications were not opened up for further comments.

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