Govt reconstitutes FSDC, includes secretaries from revenue dept, MeitY

New Delhi: The government has reconstituted the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) to include secretaries from the revenue department as well as Ministry of Information Technology (MeitY).

RBI Governor Urjit Patel

Inclusion of MeitY Secretary in the council becomes significant given the offtake of digital transactions in the country, and the rising apprehensions around safety of personal data.

The FSDC, chaired by the Union Finance Minister, was set up in 2010 by the then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

The council comprises RBI Governor, Sebi Chairman, finance secretary, and secretaries in the departments of Economic Affairs, Financial Services and Corporate Affairs.

The FSDC also has Chief Economic Advisor and chairpersons of insurance regulator IRDAI, pension regulator PFRDA and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board (IBBI) as members.

The government, through a gazette notification, has now included Minister of State for Finance (who is in-charge of the Department of Economic Affairs); Secretary, Department of Revenue; and Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology as members of the FSDC.

The FSDC was set up to strengthen and institutionalise the mechanism for maintaining financial stability, enhancing inter-regulatory coordination and promoting financial sector development. Since 2010, the FSDC has held 18 meetings with the latest on December 29, 2017.

The move to include revenue secretary in FSDC follows increasing safeguards being put in place by the department to check tax evasion in both direct and indirect taxes.

Experts feel that the roll out of the biggest tax reform since Independence Goods and Services Tax (GST) from July 1, 2017, will help nab tax evaders and the enforcement agencies will have to work together and share data amongst themselves.

Inclusion of MeitY Secretary in the FSDC comes at a time when there is increasing public gaze on the issue of data protection and privacy.

Given the massive digitisation push in the country, both public and private sectors are collecting and using personal data on an unprecedented scale and for multiple purposes.

Last year, the government had set up a committee under Justice B N Srikrishna to provide a framework for securing personal data in the increasingly digitised economy as also addressing privacy concerns and building safeguards against data breaches.

Although, the Information Technology (IT) Act has provisions to deal with cyber crime and data protection, but the spike in cashless transactions in the country post demonetisation and an increasing number of business going online have necessitated the need for fresh look at data privacy issues.

A few months back, US based social networking giant Facebook and British data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica drew flak over a massive global data breach episode involving millions of Facebook users.

Back home, amid data privacy concerns over use of biometric Aadhaar, the Supreme Court earlier this month reserved its verdict on a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar and its enabling 2016 law.