What the future holds for India’s technology regulation

India’s upcoming technology regulations are back in the spotlight with new ministers taking over the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity). They will have their work cut out for them to ease tensions between the government and big tech companies. Mint explains:

What technology regulations is India working on?

With IT rules out of the way, India has three major technology regulations in the works. These include a draft law on the protection of personal data (PDP) which is akin to the European General Data Privacy Regulation and will pave the way for the operation of large technology companies in the country; a national cybersecurity strategy with 80 deliverables that ensure data security and can also have an impact on the country’s telecommunications sector; and a cryptocurrency bill that regulates the future of digital currencies in the country. The Cryptocurrency Bill may also set the framework for a central bank digital currency in India.

What is the status of these regulations?

A PDP bill was considered in 2019. A data protection authority will be formed and take action to protect the interests of individuals in India, according to the draft. But the bill has been criticized for giving too much power to government agencies, which could be misused. New Minister of State Rajeev Chandrasekhar said in December that the bill would not be approved in its current form. On the flip side, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said the government will take a “calibrated” approach to crypto, although fears remain that the upcoming bill will ban crypto trading in India.

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In the works

Is the Internet the only part of India’s technology regulation?

India has also tried to attract electronics manufacturers to India. It has already introduced production-linked incentive programs (PLIs) for manufacturing mobile and computer hardware and is working on a plan to attract semiconductor and display manufacturers to India. These could have a significant impact on electronics exports.

When could these rules be introduced?

The IT rules are already in force, but the other three are yet to come. National cybersecurity coordinator Rajesh Pant said the cybersecurity strategy will be presented later this year, while the finance minister said the cabinet note on the crypto bill is ready, which lets hope that it will be tabled during the monsoon session of Parliament. A parliamentary panel has long deliberated on the PDP bill and called for an extension in the March budget session. He received the extension until the monsoon session.

What does the cabinet reshuffle mean?

Many industry experts say the cabinet shuffle could be a good thing for the future of regulation. Chandrasekhar has been close to the tech industry during his career and is said to understand its intricacies well. He also founded BPL Mobile in 1994, which was the largest mobile network operator at the time. Ashwini Vaishnaw, the Minister of Informatics, is an alumnus of IIT Kanpur. Its first task is believed to be to ease tensions between the Union government and big tech companies.

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