Nearly a month after closing comments on the draft ecommerce policy, the Department For Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) is now reportedly arranging a stakeholder meeting on January 14 (Tuesday).
The reports have surfaced that DPIIT will discuss the merits and demerits of draft ecommerce policy on data storage. Hence, the representatives from different tech companies, including Accenture, Adobe, Facebook, Genpact, Google, HCL, Infosys, Intel, Microsoft and TCS, are expected to participate in the meeting.
Further, officials from Nasscom, Ecommerce Council of India, Informational Technology Industry Council, CII and FICCI will also attend the meeting. The meeting will be chaired by an additional secretary-level officer of the DPIIT.
In 2019, DPIIT had released a new draft ecommerce policy, proposing data localisation and streamlining of the operations of ecommerce companies in line with FDA rules and regulations in the country. At that time, several ecommerce companies such as Flipkart and Amazon raised concerns over the proposed regulatory guidelines by the department.
DPIIT secretary Guruprasad Mohapatra had earlier said that they have started stakeholder consultations on how to treat non-personal data. “It is a highly sensitive matter as different stakeholders have different views on it. For instance, Nasscom has its set of opinions, while industry body CII has its own views. There are also various studies done on the subject. All these will be examined one by one,” added Mohapatra.
Discussions over the broad’s suggestions of the policy have been going on for more than a year now. The commerce ministry had earlier said that the final document would be out only after other technology policies are mandated to avoid overlaps and contradictions.
The draft ecommerce policy had earlier proposed constituting a dedicated ‘data authority’. The authority would work towards issues related to the sharing of community data with startups and firms to serve the larger public interest.
Data protection has been handled by the IT Ministry for every industry and sector where data storage is involved. The data protection bill, prepared by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), is expected to be in force soon as it was approved by the Parliament last year. Once in force, any current ambiguities regarding handling personal data including its processing by public and private entities will be cleared out.
The government had mentioned regulating cross-border data flows and setting up storage facilities locally in the draft ecommerce policy. According to the draft, sensitive data collected and processed locally but stored abroad cannot be shared with any third party.