The platform will automatically segregate the complaints – made to the government-appointed Grievance Appellate Committees (GACs) – and escalate those that require intervention to its three subcommittees.
Significant social media intermediaries (SSMIs) such as Google and Facebook will have to be a part of the platform to address complaints and will have to file their responses to the grievances via the portal.
The GACs, a first-of-its-kind concept, goes live from March 1.
The National Informatics Centre (NIC) has developed the platform, which will be launched by the Ministry of Electronics and IT on Tuesday, sources told ET.
“The government is expecting a major spike in cases and the portal will hopefully help to deal with the increased workloads,” said a person aware of the development.
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Since it is a new model, it may be fine-tuned as the GACs have more experience running the operations, the person added.The entire process will be completely automated, wherein everything from the complaint to the resolution will happen on the portal.
Earlier this year, the Centre announced the establishment of three GACs based on the recently amended Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.
The idea was to give users grievance redressal avenues apart from courts, where it is a time-consuming process.
The government said this would ensure that the “Constitutional rights of Indian citizens are not contravened by any Big-tech platform by ensuring new accountability standards for SSMIs.”
In January, the government said GACs were being created due to the large number of grievances being left unaddressed or unsatisfactorily addressed by internet intermediaries.
“The GAC will be a virtual digital platform that will operate only online and digitally – wherein the entire appeal process, from filing of appeal to the decision thereof, shall be conducted digitally,” the IT ministry had said.
Explaining the structure of the system, an official told ET that there would be three committees – one of them will deal with national security, there will be one for content and the rest of the complaints will go to the IT ministry.
Each committee will have an ex-officio chairman, two permanent members as well as two people who will be appointed in the Project Management Units (PMU), all in anticipation of a large number of complaints coming in.
“These committees will have to do due diligence based on the IT Act, as well as the IT Rules on digital ethics,” the official said on condition of anonymity. “The platform has already been created wherein upon receipt of the complaint, it will be segregated to one of the three committees where the PMU will evaluate and prioritize it for members to look into it.”
Following this, members will give their opinions on the matter and the chairman will discuss, deliberate and give a final verdict on the issue.
The source said that a user can approach the GAC only if the grievance has not been been satisfactorily addressed by the intermediary.
The user will then have to file the relevant documents for appeal.
Users will have the option to appeal against the decision of the grievance officer of the social media intermediaries and other online intermediaries before this new appellate body.
The government said the GAC would address the user’s appeal within 30 days.
In January, the government had notified that the first panel will be led by the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Indian Cyber Coordination Centre (ICCC) of the Union home ministry.
It will have Indian Police Service officer Ashutosh Shukla and Sunil Soni, the former chief general manager and chief information officer of Punjab National Bank, as whole-time members.
The joint secretary in charge of the policy and administration division of the information and broadcast ministry will lead the second panel that will have retired Commodore Sunil Kumar Gupta and Kavindra Sharma, the former vice president of L&T Infotech, as whole-time members.
Kavita Bhatia, a scientist in the IT ministry will helm the third panel, with Sanjay Goel, a retired Indian Railway Traffic Service officer and Krishnagiri Ragothamarao Murali Mohan, the former managing director of IDBI Intech, as whole-time members.
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