Digital India bill after ’24 polls: Officials

The government is of the view that the bill needs more deliberation before the draft is tabled in parliament.
Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar. (Nagaraja Gadekal, EPS)
Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar. (Nagaraja Gadekal, EPS)

NEW DELHI: The Digital India bill will not be presented in the winter session of parliament, as per officials. According to them, chances are high that the bill, which will replace the 23-year-old IT Act of India, will be introduced only after the general election in 2024. Two top officials of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology attributed the delay in presenting the bill in parliament to lack of proper consultation on it.  

The government is of the view that the bill needs more deliberation before the draft is tabled in parliament.
“This is a very important bill, and we can’t introduce it in parliament until we have a proper consultation. Therefore, once we are satisfied with discussion, the government will come up with the final draft and present it in the parliament,” said the official.

The DIA is likely to have several provisions to deal with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing and many other things. It will also have provision to tackle the misuse of AI-driven deepfakes on social media platforms.  It is believed that with the Digital India Act, the government may do away with the immunity provided to social media platforms under Section 79 of the IT Act, 2000. So far, the government already had pre-draft consultations on the Bill across cities such as Mumbai and Bengaluru. “Seeing the current development, I doubt it will be presented even in budget session next year,” said another official.

The Digital India is one of the most important bills. Explaining the importance of the bill, Minister of State IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar, had earlier said that India is soon going to have 1.3 billion people accessing the internet and these Digital Nagriks should approach the internet without any fear and mistrust, especially as many government services also move to the internet. “A safe and trusted internet is a win-win for all stakeholders,” he had said.

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