Days after Amazon refused to appear before the parliamentary panel on data protection bill, its top executives in India on Wednesday deposed before the committee and were questioned about the company’s revenue model and how much tax it pays in the country. The Joint Committee on Data Protection Bill, 2019 chaired by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi questioned Amazon India and Amazon Web Services representatives separately for nearly two hours each. Amazon India was represented by its vice-presidents Chetan Krishnaswamy and Rakesh Bakshi while Amazon Web Services was represented by Head Public Policy India Yolynd Lobo, Lead Public Policy Uthara Ganesh and others. Members questioned the e-commerce major about its revenue mode, how much revenue it generates and what per cent of it Amazon reinvests in India. The panel also asked questions about how much tax it pays in India, sources in the committee said.
The committee asked Amazon to give answers to these questions in writing, signed by its top-most officials. A stringent notice was sent to Amazon by the parliament’s committee on data protection bill after the company had last week said its representatives will not appear before it. In view of its non-appearance before the panel, a privilege motion was also under consideration. The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 was introduced in the Lok Sabha by Minister of Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad on December 11, 2019. The bill seeks to provide for protection of personal data of individuals and establishes a Data Protection Authority for the same. The Personal Data Protection Bill was later referred to a joint select committee of both Houses of Parliament. The proposed law seeks a bar on storing and processing of personal data by entities without the explicit consent of an individual.