The government will start pre-draft consultations for the Digital India Act on May 3
In this phase of consultation, lawyers, public policy consultants and other experts will be asked to submit their views
The Centre is looking to replace India’s existing digital law, Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 with the Digital India Act
The Centre is reportedly expected to release the first draft of the Digital India Act (DIA), a policy framework that will replace the IT Act of 2000, by the end of July or in early August.
The government will start pre-draft consultations in the first week of May, ET reported. In this phase of consultation, lawyers, public policy consultants, and other experts will be asked to submit their views on what should be included in the draft.
The stakeholders will be provided with a timeline of 45 days to upload their written submissions.
Before releasing the final draft for public consultation, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) will study the submissions, as well as invite government and private legal experts to vet the draft.
The government is likely to start the public consultations from May 3 in Delhi. The ministry has already conducted internal meetings on the Act. Later, the public consultations will be held in other cities as well.
The Centre is looking to replace India’s existing digital law, Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 with the Digital India Act. Union Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar earlier said that the proposed Act aims to help develop India as a globally competitive innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The government has repeatedly highlighted the need to make the internet open, safe, trusted and accountable. MeitY claims that the Digital India Act will help in attaining these goals and would address the new challenges in today’s fast-evolving and growing internet space.
In March, MeitY released its presentation on the proposed Digital India Act, 2023, which emphasised the “urgent need for a specialised and dedicated adjudicatory mechanism for online civil and criminal offences”.
According to the presentation, the current IT Act needs to be replaced due to several limitations, including a lack of comprehensive provisions on user rights, trust and safety. It also lacks a distinct regulatory approach for “harmful” and “illegal” content, and converged, coordinated, and harmonised institutional regulatory bodies, the presentation said.
For the last couple of years, the government has been focussing on bringing in new laws for the digital space, in line with the requirements of India’s fast-evolving digital ecosystem. It has released multiple new rules, including the Telecommunications Bill and the Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Bill. Both of the bills are yet to be passed and expected to be tabled in monsoon session of parliament.