As India moves towards growing digitisation of the economy against the backdrop of rising cyber crime, a parliamentary committee has suggested that the government should expeditiously bring in a legislation on data privacy. The recommendation was made by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, headed by Congress leader M. Veerappa Moily, in its report titled “Transformation Towards A Digital Economy”, which was tabled in both the Houses on Wednesday. “The country now urgently needs a data minimisation, data privacy and data residency law to ensure security of public and private data,” the report said. “The Committee would, therefore, urge upon the government to bring such a data protection legislation before Parliament at the earliest.” The report said that India should have a sound consumer privacy and data protection law “lest we become a digital colony with global entities having virtual control over data”.
The committee said it found “rather disconcerting” that even as the country moves towards a digital economy, transactional hassles and grievances of users, including ATM card frauds like cloning, have been greatly on the rise. “Ordinary customers are then left high and dry, extremely helpless and clueless about the next course of action for a remedy and redressal of grievance,” it said. It suggested that customers should be provided with an “empowered and responsive” common helpline (SOS) number, for recourse whenever required. The committee also said that as cyber space expands and intensifies with implications for national security, monitoring and surveillance, protecting the national information infrastructure needs to be included in the national agenda on a priority basis.
“The Committee, therefore, recommended due consultations with domain experts and industry and creation of a duly empowered coordinating authority, with status at par with the Space and Atomic Energy Departments with adequate budget, reporting directly to the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office),” the report said. Moreover, the report also expressed concern over lack of trained professionals to deal with the rising cyber challenges.