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PM Modi Won’t Compromise On Data Sovereignty

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not compromise on India’s datasovereignty, said telecom, law and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad at The Economic Times Startup Awards 2019 here on Friday. The statement comes at a time when there has been intense lobbying by US technology giants to ease the data rules being proposed across a host of policies, including the draft e-commerce policyand data protection bill.

“Distinction is needed between personal and impersonal data. Impersonal data can be used for good. Let me make it very clear: Narendra Modi will never compromise on data sovereignty of India,” said Prasad. He added that the government is consulting on the data protection bill with all stakeholders.

The government wants data generated locally to be stored locally, especially critical and sensitive data. But many global tech firms have argued that cross-border data flows are integral to the success of a digital economy. “India must become an important centre of data analytics. We need a balance among data availability, privacy, anonymity,” said the minister.

Prasad — and the minister of commerce & industry and railways, Piyush Goyal — also said that startups and Bengaluru are transforming India, and the country will hopefully have 50,000 startups by 2024, from 21,000 now, making it the largest startup ecosystem in the world. Goyal said that Section 56

(2)(viib) of the I-T Act, also known as Angel Tax, was never meant to hurt startups, but to curb hawala and black money transactions. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced on Friday that the section shall not be applicable to a startup registered with the DPIIT, and that the CBDT will appoint a senior person to deal with startup tax issues. Goyal added things have changed significantly since he was an entrepreneur.

“Even startup is a newly coined word. When I was 17, I started a business and there was no word for it back then. That time I had to visit MIDC (Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation) at least 90 times for a plot of land in Dombivali. Things have changed now,” he said.

The ministers said the corporate sector should not expect quick-fix solutions. “In the context of the fiscal stimulus, we are not here to do a flash sale like e-commerce companies and boost sales. We will not offer a stimulus which will get misused,” said Goyal.―Times of India

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