Parliament Recommends New Cybersecurity Regulatory Body to Strengthen Digital Future
Last Updated : 16 Aug, 2023
India is on the way to becoming one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Almost all the big and mid-sized companies have digitalised their operations to streamline their business. However, this rampant digitalisation has created multiple cybersecurity challenges as well. In the first quarter of 2023, India witnessed a record 18% surge in weekly cyber attacks (Source: IndiaToday). By the end of the second quarter, India witnessed a further huge spike in cybercrime-related activities (Source: cnbctv18.com). To safeguard its citizens from these incidents, the Indian Parliament is about to introduce the Digital India Bill 2023.
Unfortunately, everyone is a potential target of cybercrimes. Multiple organisations, from manufacturing to pharmaceuticals, healthcare to retail, have witnessed data breach incidents in India. Cybercriminals are using sophisticated tools to write hard-to-detect malware code and convincing phishing emails. Plus, the ChatGPT-like large language models and low-code no-code platforms have made their job easier.
To combat these issues and strengthen India’s cybersecurity infrastructure, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance has forwarded a series of recommendations.
The Government’s Vision: A Strong Cyber Defense Ecosystem
In the Digital India Bill 2023, the Parliamentary Standing Committee has suggested several recommendations. Among them – setting up a centralised and all-encompassing regulatory body dedicated to cybersecurity is probably the most important. Here are a few other suggestions made by the Parliamentary Standing Committee:
Creating Whitelisting Framework for Digital Lending Agencies:
Due to the rising number of cybercrimes in the digital lending sector, the committee has suggested creating a whitelisting framework for Digital Lending Agencies (DLAs). This framework would help in combating fraud and promoting a standardised code of conduct within the industry. Further, the framework will enable customers to conduct transactions in a more secure manner.
Forming Central Negative Registry For Banking Sector:
A Central Negative Registry is recommended for more secure fraud prevention in the banking sector. This registry would collect vital data on fraudulent accounts that will eventually help financial institutions fight against financial fraud.
Setting Up An Automatic Compensation System:
Taking cues from the RBI, India’s cybersecurity policy aims to promptly compensate customers affected by cyber fraud. This system will be responsible for promptly compensating affected customers pending further investigation and the final traceability of funds. These measures will alleviate the burdens of cyber fraud victims.
Global Collaboration and “Next Practices”:
Recognizing the global nature of cyber threats, the committee emphasises fostering supervisory cooperation and knowledge exchange with international regulators. A set of “Next practices”, tailored to India’s needs, will be developed to address unique challenges.
Challenges in Implementing the Digital India Bill 2023
However, the road to implementing these recommendations is not free from challenges. Let’s check a few possible challenges:
Setting up a centralised regulatory authority and maintaining it requires significant financial and human resources. The government must ensure adequate funding and skilled personnel to handle complex cybersecurity challenges effectively.
Collaboration between multiple government agencies, state governments, and private sector entities can be challenging. Effective coordination is essential to ensure seamless implementation of cybersecurity policies and strategies.
Legal and Policy Framework
Developing comprehensive cybersecurity policies and regulations may involve legal complexities and ensuring alignment with existing laws. The government must strike a balance between security and privacy concerns.
Cyber Talent Shortage
As of now, the demand for cybersecurity experts surpasses the available talent pool. Recruiting and retaining skilled professionals in the public sector could be difficult, considering the attractive opportunities offered by the private industry.
Awareness and Training
Creating awareness among the general public and businesses about cybersecurity best practices is crucial. The government needs to invest in educational initiatives to promote a cyber-conscious culture.
Cyber threats often transcend national borders. Establishing effective international cooperation and information-sharing mechanisms can be complex due to geopolitical and legal restrictions.
Balancing Innovation and Security
Encouraging technological innovation while ensuring robust cybersecurity measures would demand a delicate balance. Striking the right equilibrium is essential to support growth while safeguarding against potential vulnerabilities.
India’s rapid digitalisation has led to a tremendous surge in cyber threats, demanding updated cybersecurity measures. With the Digital India Bill 2023, the Parliament of India has proposed a list of recommendations including a central regulatory body and specialised IT Infrastructure to reflect the government’s commitment to counter these challenges. However, translating recommendations into action will come with its own set of challenges. Enabling the digital future world requires addressing challenges like resource allocation, interagency coordination, legal complexities, and the shortage of cyber experts.
Collaboration across sectors, investments in awareness, and international cooperation are essential for effective implementation. To overcome talent shortage, both government and private organisations are encouraging students and professionals to learn cybersecurity and penetration testing. By embracing these measures and confronting challenges head-on, India can strengthen its cybersecurity landscape, ensuring a safer and more secure digital future for all.