IT Minister briefed on intentions behind decision to withdraw Data Protection Bill: Tharoor

Congress leader and Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Communications and Information Technology Shashi Tharoor was briefed by IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnu on Thursday about the intentions behind the government’s decision to withdraw the Data Protection Bill from the Lok Sabha.

Tharoor said Vishnu had also discussed with him the principles that would trigger a future bill, which has been promised for the winter session of Parliament.

The government on Wednesday withdrew the Personal Data Protection Bill from the Lok Sabha and said it would come out with “fresh legislation” that would fit into a comprehensive legal framework. “The government will bring in a set of new legislations for a comprehensive legal framework for the digital economy,” Vishnu, who appeared in the House to withdraw the bill, said.

Sources said that the government will conduct extensive public consultation before introducing the new legislation in Parliament. “I welcome Minister Ashwini Vaishno’s initiative to inform me of the intentions behind the GOI’s decision to withdraw the Data Protection Bill, and to engage with me on the principles that will underpin a future Bill, What has been promised in the winter session of Parliament, Tharoor tweeted along with pictures of his meeting with Vishnu.

The government circulated a statement among members of parliament containing reasons for withdrawing the bill, which was tabled on 11 December 2019 and referred to a joint committee of the Houses for scrutiny. The JCP report was tabled in the Lok Sabha in December last year. The withdrawal of the bill was made part of the supplementary agenda of the Lok Sabha on Wednesday afternoon.

The bill proposed restrictions on the use of personal data without the express consent of citizens. It had also sought to provide the government with powers to exempt its investigative agencies from the provisions of the Act, a move strongly opposed by opposition MPs who filed dissenting notes.

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