Digitalisation of economy & bridging the digital divide a must, for becoming a $5tn economy: Injeti Srinivas, Secy, MCA

Digi Analysys, February 06, 2020

Speaking at an event organised by not-for-profit group CUTS International and CUTS Institute for Regulation and Competition, Corporate Affairs Secretary Injeti Srinivas said it needs to be ensured that the digital economy does not create digital divide as it has the potential to accentuate inequality. He suggested undertaking competition assessments of sectors being impacted by digital technologies, wherein the Competition Commission of India (CCI) also has a proactive role to play. He also pressed the need for digitalisation of the economy and bridging the digital divide to achieve India’s target of becoming a US$5tn economy by 2024-25.

Gopal Krishna Agarwal, National Spokesperson – Economics Affairs, Bharatiya Janata Party, highlighted the disruptive nature of digital economy, and iterated the need for optimal regulation. Fair competition, and protection of intellectual property rights, were suggested for spurring domestic innovation. Need for building capacity and competitiveness amongst domestic industry players was mentioned as an imperative, since protectionism was not a long-term solution.

Ashok Kumar Gupta, Chairperson, CCI, stressed on the need for evidence-based research driving policy making in India. Recognising that digital markets are not impervious to anti-competitive practices, he highlighted the importance of timely detection and intervention of antitrust issues in the new age digital economy, which would ensure inclusive growth.

Pradeep Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS International, noted competition and regulatory regimes as tools to guide fair markets to function efficiently and promote economic growth. He questioned the need to redesign such tools to navigate effectively in an increasingly online and digitally enabled economy.

Shashi Tharoor, Chairperson, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, highlighted the many lowlights of The Personal Data Protection Bill with respect to lack of independence of the proposed Data Protection Authority, vast exemptions given to government agencies without adequate oversight, restrictions placed on cross-border data flow etc. Regarding data protection bill, Tharoor said an individual who generates data should be the owner of that data. Besides, purpose and time frame of surrendering the data should be defined, he added.

A biennial report on ‘Competition and Regulation in India 2019’ was also released during the event.

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