Days after Amazon refused to appear before the parliamentary panel on the data protection bill, its top executives in India on Wednesday deposed before the committee and were questioned about the company's revenue model and how much tax it pays in the country. The Joint Committee examining the Data Protection Bill, 2019, chaired by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi questioned Amazon India and Amazon Web Services representatives separately for nearly two hours each.
Amazon India was represented by its vice-presidents Chetan Krishnaswamy and Rakesh Bakshi while Amazon Web Services was represented by Head Public Policy India Yolynd Lobo, Lead Public Policy Uthara Ganesh and others.
Members questioned the e-commerce major about its revenue mode, how much revenue it generates and what percent of it Amazon reinvests in India. The panel also asked questions about how much tax it pays in India, sources in the committee said. The committee asked Amazon to give answers to these questions in writing, signed by its top-most officials.
A stringent notice was sent to Amazon by the parliament's committee on data protection bill after the company had last week said its representatives will not appear before it. In view of its non-appearance before the panel, a privilege motion was also under consideration.
On Wednesday, the committee issued a notice calling representatives of telecom operators Reliance Jio and Airtel and cab aggregators Ola and Uber, as well as Truecaller to depose before it.
According to the notice, representatives of Reliance Jio Infocomm and Jio Platforms have been called to depose before the panel on two different sittings on November 4. Representatives of Ola and Uber have been called to appear before the panel the next day.
Representatives of Airtel and Truecaller are scheduled to depose before the panel separately on November 6.
Representatives of social media giants Facebook and Twitter have already deposed before the panel. Google and Paytm are scheduled to appear before the panel on October 29.
The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 was introduced in the Lok Sabha by Minister of Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad on December 11, 2019. The bill seeks to provide for protection of personal data of individuals and establishes a Data Protection Authority for the same.
The Personal Data Protection Bill was later referred to a joint select committee of both Houses of Parliament. The proposed law seeks a bar on storing and processing of personal data by entities without the explicit consent of an individual.