The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) had in February made public the draft National E-Commerce Policy in which it proposed regulating cross-border data flows, locating computing facilities within the country to ensure job creation and setting up a dedicated ‘data authority’ for issues related to sharing of community data. It has stated that the data generated in the country is a national asset, and citizens and the government have a sovereign right over it.
“No final decision has been taken on moving out data from e-commerce policy. More consultations with MeITY will be needed to decide if data needs to be moved out,” said an official who was part of a meeting that Piyush Goyal had with around 25 e-commerce companies on Monday where the issue was mentioned but not discussed in detail.
“MeitY bill deals with privacy issues while e-commerce policy deals with community data issues. MeitY, Department of Commerce and DPIIT will need to have more consultations,” the official said.
As per an expert on data issues, the bill is based on Justice Sri Krishna committee report that talks of personal data but the e-commerce policy has community data as its core.
“It talks of economic rights of data and should be separate from personal data,” the expert said.
Several foreign e-commerce firms have raised concerns over some points in the draft pertaining to data.
Traders’ body CAIT on Wednesday said that data localisation provisions should form an integral part of the proposed national e-commerce policy. In a communication to Goyal, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said data localisation in the proposed e-commerce policy should be adhered to without any compromise.
The provision of data localisation is fairly spelled out in draft of e-commerce policy and, therefore, it should essentially be made integral part of the e-commerce policy, CAIT Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said.
The government is expected to unveil a national e-commerce policy within 12 months.