Data Protection Bill should be discussed widely in Parliament: Prasad

Ravi Shankar Prasad

IT and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday said that Personal Data Protection Bill should go through widest discussions within the parliamentary process. India is a democracy and deliberations on this Bill in Parliament will be beneficial, he added.

"I am grateful to PM that when I went with this Bill to the Cabinet he told me regardless of all the consultation you have done, allow the further widest consultation also in the parliament process. We have given them time till April-May and we hope they do it and next session we will bring it," the minister said at an event by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).

Responding to a specific question on the movement of data protection legislation that was taking time, Prasad said time must be given for parliamentary deliberations and added that "what comes out, will be good".

The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 -- which outlines framework for handling of personal data including its processing by public and private entities -- as introduced in the Lok Sabha has been referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee of both the Houses.

The minister also parried a direct question on his stance on investments announced by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, an issue that had hit the headlines after Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal termed the fund infusion "not a favour" (Goyal had later clarified that his statement had been taken out of context).

"I don't want to comment on an individual (Bezos). I only want to say India is a good place of doing business. Of the USD 5 trillion economy we are aiming for, and USD 1 trillion will come from digital," Prasad said.

The minister also pointed out that India is a huge market for Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter and has attracted substantial investments in electronics manufacturing and attributed this to the country's young demographics and "ordinary Indians' passion for technology". "Come and do business here but follow the law of India," he said.

The minister lauded the Indian origin CEOs who are helming global companies like IBM and Google. "It shows new dimensions of India's talent in the area of technology. Startup movement globally including India is going to bring great degree of democracy," the minister said.

Prasad said that he was not unduly worried about the concentration of power in places like Silicon Valley (US). "I am not worried because Silicon Valley has done it with their hard work, imagination and innovation. I feel very proud that there are so many IT giants being headed by Indians," the minister said.

Last month, IBM appointed Arvind Krishna as the company's chief executive officer. Krishna joins the likes of Nadella (Microsoft), Pichai (Google), adding to the growing roster of Indian-origin CEOs who are heading global businesses.

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