Bureaucrat-turned-politician Ashwini Vaishnav on Thursday said that micro-blogging platform Twitter must abide by the law of land. Speaking to India TV soon after taking charge of the IT, Electronics and Communication Ministry, he said, "All the companies doing business in India... all of them will have to follow our law."
Ashwini Vaishnav has been made the new IT minister in place of Ravi Shankar Prasad. This is the first term of Ashwini as a Member of Parliament. He is a Rajya Sabha MP from Odisha.
Ashwini Vaishnav was among 43 leaders who took oath of office last evening. He has also been made the new Railways Minister, replacing Piyush Goyal.
"I thank the honourable Prime Minister for the great opportunity he has given me to serve the nation. Telecommunications, IT and Railways. There are lots of synergies in the three and I will be working to ensure that his vision is implemented," he said.
A former IAS officer of the 1994-batch, Ashwini has handled important responsibilities for over 15 years and was particularly known for his contribution to the public-private partnership (PPP) framework in infrastructure, something that will help him in the rail sector. He has also held leadership roles across major global companies such as General Electric and Siemens.
Ashwini has done his MBA from the Wharton School, Pennsylvania University, and M.Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur.
The US digital giant has been at loggerheads with the government over the new social media rules. The government has confronted Twitter over deliberate defiance and failure to comply with the country's new IT rules, despite repeated reminders. Notably, the microblogging platform has lost its legal shield as an intermediary in India, becoming liable for users posting any unlawful content.
The new rules mandate social media companies to establish a grievance redressal mechanism and appoint officers to coordinate with law enforcement. The rules became effective from May 26 and Twitter, even after the expiry of the additional time, had not appointed the requisite officers, leading to it losing the 'safe harbour' immunity.