NEW DELHI: India will examine concerns raised by foreign technology companies around stringent rules to store data locally, the government said on Tuesday, an issue that has upset firms such as Mastercard and also irked the U.S. government.
The decision to review the rules comes at a time when trade tensions between India and United States have risen. India imposed higher tariffs on some U.S. goods on Sunday, following Washington's withdrawal of key trade privileges for New Delhi, report agencies.On Monday Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and leaders of technology companies discussed several federal plans in the works to push for more stringent data rules.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) last year mandated foreign payment firms must store their payments data only in India to allow supervision.
The central bank representative who attended the meeting "assured the industry representatives that the Reserve Bank of India will look into this", a statement by the commerce ministry said.
A lobbying effort by Mastercard, Visa Inc and American Express Co to dilute or reverse the central bank order has failed previously, Reuters has reported.
Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga joined Monday's meeting via video conference, the government statement said.
India wants more stringent data storage rules so it can better access data and conduct investigations when the need arises. Technology companies argue the rules would force them to change their business models, hurt planned investments and raise costs.U.S.-India trade groups as well as top U.S. officials have expressed concerns around such rules in the past.
"We'll also push for free flow of data across borders, not just to help American companies, but to protect data and secure consumers' privacy," U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week ahead of his visit to New Delhi this month.
Other than RBI rules, India has also drafted an overarching law on data storage which calls for all personal data determined to be critical to be processed locally.