The Indian government finally introduced its Personal Data Protection Bill in Parliament on Dec. 11, 2019, after more than two years of fierce debate on the bill’s provisions. India’s minister of information technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad, referred it for scrutiny to a joint parliamentary committee. This bill has implications far beyond India, as the country seeks to develop a comprehensive data governance framework that would affect virtually any company attempting to do business in India. The bill’s preamble identifies three key focal points:
- “[T]he right to privacy is a fundamental right and it is necessary to protect personal data as an essential facet of informational privacy[.]”
- “[T]he growth of the digital economy has expanded the use of data as a critical means of communication between persons[.]”
- “[I]t is necessary to create a collective culture that fosters a free and fair digital economy, respecting the informational privacy of individuals, and ensuring empowerment, progress and innovation through digital governance and inclusion.”
India is an important player in the global internet policy space. Indian government leadership is eager to position India as a global leader on democratic data regulation and has largely succeeded. India has high levels of global internet policy participation—that is, activity in the UN General Assembly and elsewhere on internet issues—and analysts have rated the nation high on its ability to influence international policy.