Sizing Up Election's Impact on CybersecurityNew Modi Government Expected to Move Forward With Data Protection Bill, Other Measures
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepares to begin a second term as a result of the recently completed elections, which saw the Bharatiya Janata Party retain control of Parliament, some security experts are upbeat about the prospects for cybersecurity progress in India. That includes enactment of a personal data protection bill as well as fintech-related initiatives.
Lt. Gen (retired) Rajesh Pant, national cybersecurity coordinator of India, tells Information Security Media Group: "The result of the Lok Sabha election is very good for national security, of which cyber is an important component.
"The BJP-led NDA government looks set to become the only non-Congress government to return to power in the Indian political history. The alliance has crossed the majority mark of 272 and is moving toward the 350-seat mark out of the total 542 Lok Sabha seats."
"The entire cybersecurity fraternity expects cyber-related guidelines across critical infrastructure will be given a final shape to protect the sector against threats," he says. "I would expect cyber to become a strategic tool in India's defense capabilities with the new government."
Rahul Sharma, founder of The Perspective, a consultancy that focuses on cyber policy, adds: "Since the data protection and privacy bill is all set with additional amendments, I don't see any bottleneck to the bill being enacted into law in the next parliament session with the same government coming back to power."
Prashant Mali, Bombay high court lawyer and president of Cyber Law Consulting, also expects that the IT Act 2000 will be amended to align with the current demands, boosting cybersecurity and data privacy provisions.
"The Modi government which is coming to power has had strong focus on Digital India and fintech, and we expect a lot of programs to be initiated towards digitization of the country and increasing access to fintech with a fresh commitment to democratize digital payments," says Harshil Mathur, CEO and co-founder of Razorpay, a payments company.
Outlook for Cybersecurity Moves
Pant expects that new government will pave the way for him to work on updating old security frameworks as well as hiring qualified CISOs for various government sectors.
In his new role, which he took on recently, Pant also expects to work on the creation of a crisis management plan as well as CERTs for all critical sectors.
Pant also expects to help develop a new national cybersecurity strategy and policy plan that should be ready for review within less than a year. It will take into account many of the big changes in security that have occurred over the last five to six years, he adds.
Mali expects the Modi government will:
- Appoint an online gaming regulator;
- Use the defense cyber agency to help secure cyber boundaries;
- Establish state-level CERTs;
- Establish a cyber-police cadre in all state policy;
- Establish a telecom equipment and testing lab and allow only qualified equipment to be sold in India.