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Data Protection: India needs differentiated regulations for domestic cos, says Nirupama Soundarajan

Data Protection: India needs differentiated regulations for domestic cos, says Nirupama Soundarajan

Policy and Regulations

Data Protection: India needs differentiated regulations for domestic cos, says Nirupama Soundarajan

“India needs to look at differentiated regulations for domestic companies under the revised Data Protection Bill as painting domestic and foreign cos with same regulatory brush may be counterproductive in the long run, said Nirupama Soundarajan, Head of Research and Senior Fellow at Pahle India Foundation (PIF).

Speaking at a panel discussion on ” Hardware Regulations & Cross Border Data Flow, Soundarajan pointed out that the Data Protection Bill lays down same level of scrutiny for domestic as well as foreign manufacturers.

“We also need to assess its impact on domestic cos considering the massive edge China has in the manufacturing sector. We also need to analyse the outcome that we are hoping to achieve through these regulations,” she said.

Sharing her views on the threat perception from countries like China, Soundarajan suggested India can frame separate policy to deal with products and investments coming from China.

“We need to have separate laws under which we are able to deal with Chinese firms and Chinese investments in India. Even in sectors where FDI is allowed through automatic route, there needs to be case to case approval for China and countries with whom India shares its border”

“We should differentiate between what is being manufactured within India by a Chinese company and origin of capital versus what is being imported directly from China. It’s not very easy to distinguish between what is coming directly from China and what is being routed through other countries, she added.
Soundarajan noted there could be economic fallout of addressing national security concerns adding that it needs to be done in the larger interest of the country.

Stating that the regulatory overlap is not new for India, Soundarajan said that the country has long suffered from the problem of multiple regulators regulating a single sector.

“If you look at the Department of Telecommunications, they already have a procedure in place. The Indian Telegraph Amendment rules 2017 already provides that every telecom equipment must undergo mandatory testing and certification prior to sale or import for use in India. It may not apply perfectly to the huge technological advances that have happened in last four years but we do have a mechanism at place,”

“There is also a new set of guidelines called the essential requirements that the DOT has put out in September last year in which it has mandated that electronics products such as smartwatches, smart cameras, tracking devices and other telecom products should undergo mandatory testing and certification before sale in India. So, we have a department which is already looking at it and allocating labs to avoid disruptions in the supply chain. That infrastructure is currently being created,” she added.

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