CII expresses reservations over Statistics Bill
• NEW DELHI: Expressing concern over the Collection of Statistics Bill, 2007, which empowers the government to seek sensitive corporate data, industry chamber CII has said confidentiality of such data should be maintained. CII pointed out that under the provisions of the proposed Act, an informant asked to furnish any information would be bound to furnish such information and the statistics officer or any person authorised by him in writing is permitted to enter any premises for the purposes of collection of statistics, inspecting and taking copies of it. The chamber said that the power to collect information should be amplified through guidelines to include the communication of purpose behind collecting information. “The guidelines should also limit the collection to macro-level information and exclude confidential information, personal identifiable information, sensitive industry or competitive information, third party information and economic value attached information. In cases where corporates are bound under confidentiality agreements with outside parties, or in case of pricesensitive information that cannot be disclosed before making a disclosure to the stock exchange under the Listing Agreement, corporates should be entitled to seek additional time to submit the requisite information,” CII said in its statement. The chamber recommended that a formal request for collection of information should be made in writing since other methods are unreliable and can be misused. It added that sufficient time should be given for submission of such information and an extreme step like entering the premises should be backed by justifiable reasons and resorted to only when information required is not submitted even after lapse of a reasonable time. The government should not outsource the collection of statistical information to any agency without prescribing adequate safeguards and governance process and liability/ responsibilities of such agency in the event of misuse or any breach, CII added