Congress MP says Data Protection Bill being classified as money bill; govt refutes charge
Hours after Congress leader Manish Tewari on Thursday said the government might get the Digital Data Protection Bill classified as a money bill, Union IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw refuted the charge and termed it a “normal bill”.
Tewari earlier in the day suggested that the Data Protection Bill should be considered a regular bill while noting that it should again go to a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC).
But as the bill was moved in the Lok Sabha, Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) Vaishnaw rejected the suggestions that it was a money bill and called it a “normal bill”.
The bill aims to make entities such as internet companies, mobile apps, and business houses more accountable and answerable about the collection, storage and processing of data of citizens as part of the Right to Privacy. “How did the Digital Data Protection Bill get classified as a Financial Bill suddenly,” Tewari tweeted. “It needs to be considered as a regular bill and go to a JPC again,” he said.
How Did the Digital Data Protection Bill get classified as a Financial Bill suddenly? If this bill on passage is certified as a money bill by @loksabhaspeaker @ombirlakota which seems to be the intent of getting it classed as a Financial Bill then Rajya Sabha can not vote on it.… pic.twitter.com/u2xdvOz1Vj
— Manish Tewari (@ManishTewari) August 3, 2023
“If this bill on passage is certified as a money bill by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla which seems to be the intent of getting it classed as a Financial Bill then Rajya Sabha cannot vote on it. It can only recommend non-binding changes to Lok Sabha,” the Congress MP from Punjab said.
He also shared a copy of the presidential order classifying the bill as a money bill, and said, “The latest iteration of this bill mocks the efforts put in by the Joint Committee of Parliament on the Data Protection Bill led by two BJP members PP Chaudhary and Meenakshi Lekhi respectively.”
Government sources said the President’s assent had been sought as funds will be earmarked under the proposed law from the Consolidated Fund of India. They said the penalties that will come under the law and the expenditure on the staff required under the law will be under the Consolidated Fund of India.
What is the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill ?
— Rajeev Chandrasekhar 🇮🇳 (@Rajeev_GoI) August 3, 2023
The work on the data protection bill started after the Supreme Court ruled that the Right to Privacy is a fundamental right. The government had in August last year withdrawn the personal data protection bill, which was first presented in late 2019 and issued a new version of the draft bill in November 2022. The draft bill had earned criticism around the government getting the power to exempt entities from various clauses of the bill.
(With agency inputs)