Right to privacy

Apropos of the editorial ‘Dissent over privacy law’, the JPC has finalised its report on the personal data protection Bill. With 900 million Indians expected to have Internet access by 2025, a law that safeguards data privacy is the need of the hour. The Opposition members have argued, rightly so, against the provision of blanket exemptions, more so without the creation of an oversight mechanism. If the Bill gets passed in its current form, it would undermine a landmark 2017 SC judgment that described privacy as a fundamental constitutional right.

SS Paul, Nadia

Exemptions a concern

Reference to the privacy law; the dissenting voices raised by several JPC members are valid. The most contentious parts relate to the extent to which government agencies have been exempted from it. Details such as definitions matter in drafting a law and the state does get exemptions to uphold sovereignty. State agencies are among the biggest collectors of personal data. Also, the committee has made a half-hearted attempt to tighten the screws on social media firms, which tap a huge quantum of personal data. They need to be held to the standard of publishers. This loophole and other shortcomings must be closed in the final version.

N Sadhasiva Reddy, Bengaluru

Data protection Bill

The Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill has finalised its recommendations, but it suffers from loose language and exemptions that practically keep government agencies outside the gambit of the legislation. The JPC has clubbed personal data and non-personal data, which expands the legislation’s scope. It should be avoided as non-personal data raises questions on protecting commercially critical data for firms. A regulator, dealing with both kinds of data, may have too much on its plate. The suggestion that data captured by electronic hardware should also come under the regulator’s purview needs a lot of explanation. Another grey area is the recommendation that the regulator can decide if individuals have to be alerted to a data breach as any individual can lobby the regulator to hold off on announcing the breach. The alerts have to be automatic and unconditional to help victims take precautions, such as changing passwords. It is a complicated issue and needs extensive debate in Parliament.


MSP main issue

Apropos of the article ‘Far removed from reality’, the main hurdle in the whole issue is the MSP. As of now, it has no legal backing and in the absence of a robust MSP regime, farming will not be sustainable economic activity. Farmers should not be exposed to the onslaught of the market forces. Farmers’ leaders and the government should put their heads together to find a lasting solution to the issue. Knee-jerk reactions may not work. Time has come to consider giving a legal backing to the MSP. On their part, the farmers must understand that even the government has its limitations as huge amounts of money would be required to defray the MSP.


Meetings meaningless

Pre-session meetings are held before the start of every Parliament session, and similarly for the forthcoming Winter Session, meetings are lined up. The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs has called an all-party meeting. The Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha Chairman have also called meetings. These meetings are convened to conduct the smooth functioning of Parliament. But during the past many years, session after session — entailing huge public money — are washed out. The Monsoon Session also faced the same fate. Often, due to ruckus, Parliament sessions are adjourned sine die. There has been wastage of public money, energy and time on these meetings, which have proved futile. These customary pre-session meetings should either be stopped or Parliament sessions should be run in their true spirit by the ruling party as well as the Opposition, come what may. It is their joint responsibility.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

Retail market

Refer to ‘Both e-commerce and physical retail need support’; if for convenience and the sake of saving time, online shopping is a boon, physical shopping is also indispensable. Retailing is one of the strongest pillars of our economy and the Indian retail market is one of the biggest such markets of the world by economic value. In India, at no cost, big sharks should be allowed to wipe away all the hatchlings. The rules and regulations should be unequivocal so that both exist and grow harmoniously.

Sunil Chopra, Ludhiana

Letters to the Editor, typed in double space, should not exceed the 200-word limit. These should be cogently written and can be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribunemail.com

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