New Delhi, Aug 31 (PTI) CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Monday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking postponement of work on the Health Data Management Policy (HDMP) and stating that a 'structured discussion' on it was necessary before such a policy is finalised.
Yechury said he wrote the letter because the government had sought comments on the HDMP by September 3, 2020.
'This needs to be postponed and no policy may be finalised before a structured discussion on the serious implications contained in this draft are considered.
'Such a discussion becomes imperative given the fact that the HDMP is part of the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) that was announced by you on Independence Day 2020. Strangely, the government has sought comments on the HDMP in isolation and not the NDHM as a whole,' the CPI(M) general secretary wrote.
He also said that the NDHM proposes to collect sensitive personal data of citizens which will then be made available to private insurance corporates and pharmaceutical companies which, he alleged, is 'a serious breach of protection of personal data'.
'After considerable discussion in the country and in Parliament, the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 (PDP Bill) was introduced, which is currently pending before Parliament. The proposed HDMP makes no reference to this Bill that is pending for consideration.
'In fact, the proposed HDMP has many provisions that amount to a serious dilution of the essence of the Bill before Parliament i.e. regarding governance of data protection. Under these circumstances, I urge the central government to postpone the finalisation of both the HDMP and the NDMH before Parliament concludes its consideration on the PDP Bill,' Yechury said.
He also said that since both Houses of Parliament are scheduled to meet on September 14, it should discuss and consider the NDHM and the HDMP while discussing the PDP Bill, 2019.
'No implementation of any Mission can be made unless Parliament and its structures like the Standing Committee consider these proposals in depth. Hence, we urge you to defer the date of September 3, 2020 as the final date for comments,' he said. PTI ASG IJT