India needs to update its Information Technology Act, said Ajay Sawhney, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

Sawhney was speaking at a seminar organised by the Public Affairs Foundation of India.

The world had changed considerably in the last few years, making it necessary to refresh the IT Act, he said. The Act was notified in 2000 and is the primary legislation on issues around electronic governance and cybersecurity.

The IT Act was last amended in 2008 and the issues that the country is dealing with have changed considerably, and companies have grown immensely, he said.

“Completely new segments of operations have taken shape, and globally, there is a huge amount of innovation happening in this space. Laws are coming up in different parts of the world,” Sawhney said.

A new legal framework that does justice to all these developments and strengthen India’s cybersecurity and adjudication process needs to be put in place, he added.

This is on the anvil, but the focus at present was on passing the personal data privacy Bill and the non-personal data Bill.

The ministry, which recently notified the IT Intermediary guidelines, is hoping for some progress on the personal data privacy bill in the next session of Parliament, following which it can push for early processing of the Bill, he said.

A strategy on the non-personal data bill is also taking shape, Sawhney said.

“This creates a very unique kind of ecosystem in India, which will, on the one hand, allow us to promote the growth of non-personal data at a very large scale, and simultaneously provide extensive opportunities through the Indian start-up system and the innovation system to make full use of non-personal data,” he said.

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