Op EdsOP. ED.

We are living in a digital age, much more so after the onset of Covid-19. Business, meetings, interaction, banking, even education has shifted to online mode. Every person is accessing and sharing so much of data that it is very scary as one never knows who hands your data lands up in.

With this, concerns about data privacy have become more important than ever before in everyone’s mind.

Data can be classified into two categories as personal and non-personal. With the advancement of digital technology, there is a tremendous upsurge in storage, handling and processing of data by companies and humans in digital format.

It reflects the need to establish distinct regulatory mechanism for handling and processing of personal and non-personal data to preserve the confidentiality and secrecy of such data.

The Central Government is on course to develop a mechanism for regulating the collection, storage and usage of personal data and non-personal data separately.

Work on the non-personal data bill is going in parallel with the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019. The Central Government had constituted a panel to develop a draft report on non-personal data governance.

The prime job of panel is to perform extensive research and to study all vital aspects associated with governance and regulation of non-personal data.

According to the draft report, non-personal data means data which is not personal. The panel has submitted its report to Central Government for review. The Central Government has invited comments from general public along with all stakeholders concerned by 13-8-2020 in this regard.

The idea of seeking comments from public is to give final shape to draft in progress to address all concerns and issues related to non-personal data in a comprehensive method.

An interesting outcome of the research by panel is that companies with largest data pools are unbeatable and have techno-economic advantages over small-medium companies.

According to available statistics, few startups established during the period (1990-2000) has emerged as larger corporations with economic capacity of USD 1 trillion market due to their stronghold in collection and analysis of users’ data.

Some interesting facts about larger corporations:

(a) 60% of internet advertising market in the United States is being dominated by Google and Facebook.

(b) 37% of online e-commerce market controlled by Amazon in United States.

These statistics reflects the power of right collection and processing of data.

According to the draft report, companies which are gathering and collecting data beyond certain limits will come under the ambit of a “data business” and have to register as “data business” in India. Such companies need to report the method of data collection and mode of data usage to regulatory authority.

Development of a data sharing framework is critical to:

(a) address and resolve privacy concerns in a timely manner;

(b) condense the side effects related to non-personal data processing; and

(c) generate social, public and economic value creation.

Establishment of data sharing platform reflects in transparency in data usage and handling, quantify efficiencies and better quality services.

It is expected that sharing of non-personal data could encourage companies to come up with new and innovative services and products to cater the needs of public at large.

Establishment of regulatory authority is a decisive connection in non-personal data governance – such authority should be empowered with the right set of legal and administrative tools to monitor data sharing acts of companies, collection and reviewing of data from companies and to resolve data privacy-related disputes.

Certain companies are misusing the data for their benefit causing considerable data privacy issues to the users — it is about time to develop distinct laws and mechanism for handling, processing and usage of personal and non-personal data to curb misuse of personal and non-personal data by companies.

Inception of separate laws for regulation of personal and non-personal data along with right implementation would result in:

(a) streamline the process of data handling and collection;

(b) make companies collecting and processing data more accountable and responsible;

(c) improve transparency standards in collection and usage of data; and

(d) provide more control to users on the aspect of collection and usage of their data.


*Bhumesh Verma is Managing Partner at Corp Comm Legal and can be contacted at bhumesh.verma@corpcommlegal.in. **Paruchuri Baswanth Mohan, Research Associate and can be contacted at  paruchuribaswanthmohan@gmail.com

Cabinet DecisionsLegislation Updates

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved National Mineral Policy 2019. 

Benefits:

The New National Mineral Policy will ensure more effective regulation.  It will lead to sustainable mining sector development in future while addressing the issues of project affected persons especially those residing in tribal areas

Objective:-

The aim of National Mineral Policy 2019 is to have a more effective, meaningful and implementable policy that brings in further transparency, better regulation, and enforcement, balanced social and economic growth as well as sustainable mining practices.

Details:

The National Mineral Policy 2019 includes provisions which will give boost to mining sector such as

  • introduction of Right of First Refusal for RP/PL holders,
  • encouraging the private sector to take up exploration,
  • auctioning in virgin areas for composite RP cum PL cum ML on revenue share basis,
  • encouragement of merger and acquisition of mining entities and
  • transfer of mining leases and creation of dedicated mineral corridors to boost private sector mining areas.
  • The 2019 Policy proposes to grant status of industry to mining activity to boost financing of mining for private sector and for acquisitions of mineral assets in other countries by private sector
  • It also mentions that Long term import export policy for mineral will help private sector in better planning and stability in business
  • The Policy also mentions rationalize reserved areas given to PSUs which have not been used and to put these areas to auction, which will give more opportunity to private sector for participation
  • The Policy also mentions to make efforts to harmonize taxes, levies & royalty with world benchmarks to help private sector

Among the changes introduced in the National Mineral Policy, 2019 include the focus on make in India initiative and Gender sensitivity in terms of the vision.  In so far as the regulation in Minerals is concerned, E-Governance, IT-enabled systems, awareness and Information campaigns have been incorporated.  Regarding the role of state in mineral development online public portal with provision for generating triggers at higher level in the event of delay of clearances has been put in place.  NMP 2019 aims to attract private investment through incentives while the efforts would be made to maintain a database of mineral resources and tenements under mining tenement systems. The new policy focusses on use coastal waterways and inland shipping for evacuation and transportation of minerals and encourages dedicated mineral corridors to facilitate the transportation of minerals.  The utilization of the district mineral fund for equitable development of project affected persons and areas. NMP 2019 proposes a long term export-import policy for the mineral sector to provide stability and as an incentive for investing in large scale commercial mining activity.

The 2019 Policy also introduces the concept of Inter-Generational Equity that deals with the well-being not only of the present generation but also of the generations to come and also proposes to constitute an inter-ministerial body to institutionalize the mechanism for ensuring sustainable development in mining.

Background:

National Mineral Policy 2019 replaces the extant National Mineral Policy 2008 (“NMP 2008”) which was announced in the year 2008. The impetus to review NMP 2008 came about by way of a direction from the Supreme Court vide its judgment dated 02.08.2017 in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 114/2014 entitled Common Cause v/s Union of India & Others.

In compliance of the directions of the Apex Court, the Ministry of Mines constituted a committee on 14.08.2017 under the chairmanship of Dr. K Rajeswara Rao, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Mines to review NMP 2008. The Committee had members from Central Ministries/ Departments, State Governments, Industry Associations and Subordinate offices of Ministry of Mines. The Committee also invited concerned NGOs and Institutional Bodies to take part in the deliberation of the Committee meetings. The Comments/suggestions from the stakeholders were also sought. Based on the deliberations held at Committee meetings and stakeholders’ comments/ suggestions, the Committee Report was prepared and submitted to the Ministry of Mines.

The Ministry of Mines accepted the committee Report and invited the comments/ suggestions of the stakeholders as part of the PLCP process. Based on the received comments/ suggestions received in PLCP process and the comments/ suggestions from the Central Ministries/ Departments the Ministry of Mines finalized the National Mineral Policy 2019.

[Press Release dt. 28-02-2019]

Cabinet