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Draft Telecom Bill to be out in a week

The central government is working on a raft of laws to regulate the digital ecosystem in the country, electronics and information technology minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Monday, adding that a draft legislation on telecom will be available for public comments in the next few days.

“The government is working on a new telecom bill, a draft of which will be available in the next five to six day,” he said. “I request everyone to evaluate the bill and come up with suggestions, each of which will be carefully considered.”

Vaishnaw was speaking at the launch of the second batch of Cytrain Setu, a cyber-security programme, under the government’s initiative to build capacity of officials called Mission Karamyogi.

The department of telecommunications is working on a new legislative framework that will keep evolving to keep pace with modern technologies. It is also looking at special provisions for national security, external relations and war.

In a consultation paper released last month, the department said a new law needs to have appropriate provisions to address situations of public emergency and safety, and for taking measures in the interests of national security.

“Such a law needs to provide enabling framework for the Central Government to prescribe relevant standards for telecommunication equipment, telecommunication services, telecommunication network, and telecommunication infrastructure. The aim is to ensure public safety,” the paper said. “This is all the more crucial given the widespread use of telecommunications, whether for education, or entertainment, or tele-medicine, or facilitating e-mandis.”

The government intends to completely overhaul cyber laws, the minister said . “We will also be coming up with a new version of the data protection bill; a digital India Act is also being worked on. We are making the online world more accountable for what is published there,” Vaishnaw said.

The government earlier withdrew the data protection bill, 2021, which had been in the works for the past four years, in order to introduce a “comprehensive framework” for cyberspace. A new version of the data protection legislation will soon be tabled in Parliament, the minister said.

The Cytrain Setu course has trained hundreds of officials in cyber security, said Abhishek Singh, cheif executive of the Karamyogi programme.

“The Cytrain Setu initiative is a part of Prime Minister’s Mission Karmayogi, in which the honourable PM has given a target to all the ministries to come up with innovative programmes,” Vaishnaw said, appreciating the programme. Hindustan Times

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