The pronouns “she” and “her” have been used to refer to all genders for the first time in India’s legislative history.
The words appeared in the draft Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022, which Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw tweeted seeking the public’s views on the proposed law that would broadly recognise an individual’s right to protect personal data and also the need to process personal data for lawful purposes.
Seeking your views on draft Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022.
Link below: https://t.co/8KfrwBnoF0
— Ashwini Vaishnaw (@AshwiniVaishnaw) November 18, 2022
“We have attempted in the philosophy of women’s empowerment that Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji’s government works to use the words she and her in the entire bill, instead of he, him and his. So this is an innovative thing which has been attempted in the bill,” Mr Vaishnaw said.
This initiative is in sync with PM Modi’s “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” campaign, which seeks to empower the girl child and encourage families to educate and raise them well.
The Personal Data Protection Bill was withdrawn in August after a joint parliamentary committee suggested 81 changes to it.
The bill had been sent to the parliamentary committee in 2019 after protests by the opposition Congress and the Trinamool Congress, among others, who said the proposed law violated citizens’ fundamental rights.
The opposition parties had said the proposed law gave sweeping powers to the government to access personal data of individuals under opaque conditions, citing national security and other reasons. They alleged this law would make it easier for the government to snoop on citizens.
The government had argued that the penalties listed for unauthorised use of data were enough to prevent such cases.
With allegations that the government used Israel’s Pegasus spyware to snoop on its critics, the opposition to the draft data protection law would likely remain strong.
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