Govt to Meet stakeholders again to make Digital India Act more inclusive

The government will meet policy experts and other stakeholders for the second round of consultations on May 3 to draft the much-anticipated Digital India Act (DIA) which is expected in the next 2-3 months.

In March, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) held the first round of pre-drafting consultations with stakeholders on the Digital India Act that aims to catalyse India’s ambition of being in the leading pack of nations that would shape the future technologies.

According to sources, since the first meeting, the IT ministry received few suggestions and now aims to again meet industry representatives, lawyers, social media intermediaries, consumer groups among others and receive more suggestions to make the DIA more inclusive.

For the first time, design, architecture and goals of a Bill are being discussed with stakeholders at its pre-introduction stage as part of the Digital India Dialogues.

According to Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Union Minister of State for Electronics and IT, the proposed Bill aims to help India achieve the goal of becoming a trillion-dollar digital economy and be a significant trusted player in the Global Value Chains for digital products, devices, platforms and solutions.

The tech ecosystem in general and Internet in particular has evolved significantly after the Information Technology Act (IT Act) came into being in 2000, and the new law has to be evolvable and consistent with changing market trends, disruption in technologies, and keep in mind protection of digital nagriks from user harm.

“Internet that began as a force of good has today become vulnerable to various types of complex user harms like catfishing, cyber stalking, cyber trolling, gaslighting, phishing, revenge porn, cyber-flashing, dark web, women and children, defamation, cyber-bullying, doxing, salami slicing, etc and there is an urgent need for a specialised and dedicated adjudicatory mechanism for online civil and criminal offences,” the Minister had said in March.

Some of the principles for the proposed legislation are managing the complexities of the internet and rapid expansion of the types of intermediaries addressing the risks of emerging technologies, protecting citizen rights, managing and setting guardrails for the varied intermediaries on the internet.

After the minister’s presentation, he had an interactive discussion with the various stakeholders who included industry representatives, lawyers, Intermediaries, consumer groups amongst others and invited their inputs on it.

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