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Need to refresh IT Act, bring legal framework for cybersecurity: IT Secretary Ajay Sawhney

While we have to focus on Data Privacy Bill, there is also a requirement to refresh the existing IT Act, which was last amended in 2008, said IT Secretary Ajay Sawhney

Union IT secretary Ajay Prakash Sawhney said on Friday that the Indian IT industry showcased its best potential and offered highly innovative solutions to ensure business continuity and governance with utmost efficiency during the pandemic.

Addressing a webinar organized by the Public Affairs Forum of India (PAFI), Sawhney said Indian IT Industry has rapidly adjusted to the new environment and added that the Aarogya Setu has reinvented itself as Vaccine Passport and has the possibility to leverage wide reach to bring more health services and to become a citizen-facing front-end as National Health Mission develops.”

Sawhney said there was a pressing need to step up manufacturing of both software and hardware products in order to reduce dependence on imports from different countries. “Entrepreneurs and companies need to move aggressively in this area. The National Policy on Software Products has triggered significant growth and we expect the software potential to be a major area of growth in the next 5-10 years,” he added.

On electronics manufacturing IT Secretary said, “The pandemic has slowed us down, but our ambition today is to grow more than 25% YoY over the coming five years or more. With PLI Scheme, many eminent brands have set up their units in recent times. We are committed to providing incentives to components manufacturing as these components make their way into a large array of products.”

He also talked about building digital products emphasising that digital technologies must be integrated into traditional sectors like energy, transportation manufacturing, and healthcare and so on. “The advent of digital technologies into each of these traditional sectors will help make 10-15% of growth a distinct possibility,” he said.

Talking about E-governance he mentioned that the government is working on a national scale and with National Public Digital Platforms. This will spread to Education, Healthcare, Smart Cities, Urban Governance, and other sectors.

On 5G, Sawhney said, “While we move from 4G to 5G, we have to strengthen and work on related devices like IOTs.” Our digital infrastructure needs to be strengthened with Digital India Infoway creating a robust network in Research and Development institutions.”

On IT laws, Sawhney said that “while we have to focus on Data Privacy Bill, there is also a requirement to refresh the existing IT act, that was last amended in 2008, as the issues that we deal with IT sector have changed significantly — the companies that we deal with have brought immensely in terms of innovation. As we strengthen our cybersecurity, the next thing would be to come up with a legal framework”.

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