The government on Friday asserted that it will not allow the country's data sovereignty to be compromised and made it clear that sensitive and super-sensitive data must reside in India.
Mincing no words, Minister for IT and Electronics Ravi Shankar Prasad said there must be a fine balance between data availability, utility, innovation and data privacy.
"...I would never like data sovereignty of India to be compromised for Indians. The super sensitive data, the sensitive data must remain in India," Prasad said speaking at a conference on 'emergence and impact of Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things' hosted by Jaipuria School of Business.
Citing an example of harnessing data for public good, the minister said data in the field of healthcare could usher new breakthroughs and innovations, solutions and medicines.
The minister's comments come in the backdrop of burning debate on data, as also storage restrictions being mulled for personal data. While some have dubbing data as the 'new oil' propagating protection of Indian users' data on the Internet and social media platforms, a senior Facebook executive last week had countered the viewpoint arguing that data is not the new oil, and countries like India should, in fact, allow its free flow across borders instead of attempting to hoard it as a finite commodity within national boundaries.
Facebook Vice President (Global Affairs and Communications) Nick Clegg said data sharing is crucial for national security as India right now finds itself "locked out" of major global data-sharing initiatives aimed to clamp down on serious crime and terrorism.
Meanwhile, Prasad said that while the country has made its mark globally in IT services, Digital India is looking to transforming lives of Indians. He added that India has also set its sights on manufacturing in a big way and poised to attract investments in areas like medical electronics.