Senior Congress leader M Veerappa Moily on Friday, August 11, 2023 hit out at the government over the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill passed by Parliament this week, and alleged that the legislation was "regressive" and intended to impose an "emergency on a permanent basis".
The Bill introduces several compliance requirements for the collection and processing of personal data and provisions for up to ₹250 crore penalty for any data breach. It was passed by Parliament on Wednesday, August 9, 2023.
Mr. Moily said the legislation proposes to amend the Right to Information (RTI) Act to exempt all personal data about individuals which would also mean that government officials and ministers can choose not to make disclosures in answers to RTI applications.
The BJP government at the Centre has taken away the transparency brought by the law of RTI and defeated its very purpose, the former law minister alleged.
"This retrograde amendment has been pushed through despite advice against it received from legal and technical experts," Mr. Moily said.
The government has already included many provisions earlier to insulate itself from most of the data protection under the pretext of protecting national security, managing foreign relations, maintaining public order, and even prevention of crimes, he said.
It is ironic that the government wants the citizens of this country and their data to be completely transparent, while the government exempts itself completely from this requirement, the Congress leader said.
"This makes the government less transparent and accountable. The Bill is regressive in its present form. The Bill takes away the liberty of the people and it is intended to permanently impose emergency," Mr. Moily alleged.