RBI To Examine Concerns Over Data Localisation Norms, Says Government 
International firms usually store data on global servers. Implementation of RBI data localisation norms would require them to make an additional investment for setting up servers in India. (Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg)

RBI To Examine Concerns Over Data Localisation Norms, Says Government 

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The Reserve Bank of India will examine concerns over its data localisation norms, the government said, a day after commerce minister Piyush Goyal held consultations with the e-commerce and tech industries on data protection and privacy in India.

“All the companies who were represented in this meeting put forth their concerns related to data storage requirements and processing-related guidelines issued by RBI. Deputy Governor of RBI, BP Kanungo, assured the industry representatives that the Reserve Bank of India will look into this,” according to a statement issued by the commerce and industry ministry on Tuesday.

RBI had in April last year asked fintech startups and payments firms to ensure their data are stored exclusively on local servers, setting a tight six-month deadline for compliance. That deadline was said to have been missed by some foreign firms including credit card giants Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc.

International payments firms usually store data on global servers. Any requirement to store data locally would require them to make an additional investment. Policymakers in India, however, believe data localisation would help monitor and conduct investigations if such a need arises.

While domestic companies, such as Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., have spoken up in support RBI data localisation norms, others like Facebook Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp., and Mastercard Inc. have led the way in opposing it.

Monday’s meeting helmed by Goyal also saw discussions on a draft data protection bill released in July 2018. Industry representatives told the minister that though the consultations on it were satisfactory, a lot of time had elapsed and they were not sure about the final shape of the bill.

They requested Goyal to ensure that the bill will have more clarity on classification and the manner of cross-border flow of data.

The draft data protection bill proposes a requirement for data localisation as a remedy to allay fears about data privacy.

The commerce minister said that Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) may deal with the concerns of companies who build products in India and store their data in the country and that the Data Protection Bill must reflect this.

Also read: Budget 2019: Industry Bodies Meet Thakur To Discuss Data Protection, Tax Issues

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