IAMAI re­leases Dig­i­tal tech pol­icy re­port

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The In­ter­net and Mo­bile As­so­ci­a­tion of In­dia (IAMAI) has put forth a new re­por t that per tains to the dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy pol­icy of In­dia. The re­port has said that in or­der to achieve the USD 5 tril­lion mile­stones, dig­i­ti­za­tion of ser­vices is go­ing to be crit­i­cal. To en­sure fast and ef­fi­cient dig­i­tal­iza­tion, In­dia’s reg­u­la­tory ap­proach should fo­cus on reg­u­lat­ing of the ‘core’ in­dus­try play­ers, and not en­ti­ties that fall on the ‘edge’ of the reg­u­la­tory spec­trum. This can be done by draft­ing clearly ar­tic­u­lated out­come­based reg­u­la­tions ac­cord­ing to the re­cent study con­ducted by IAMAI.

The re­port ti­tled Dig­i­tal Tech­nol­ogy Pol­icy for In­dia’s USD 5 Tril­lion Econ­omy, au­thored by Iki­gai Law, was re­leased re­cently, co­in­cid­ing with a panel dis­cus­sion on Dig­i­tal Tech­nol­ogy Pol­icy for In­dia’s USD 5 Tril­lion Econ­omy. Pan­elists in­cluded Bai­jayant Panda, Aruna Sun­darara­jan, Dr Ra­jat Kathuria and Su­nil Jain.

Dis­cussing the re­port Bai­jayant Panda, Na­tional Vice-Pres­i­dent and Spokesper­son, BJP, said, “The dig­i­tal sec­tor is grow­ing far more rapidly than the rest of the econ­omy. The dig­i­tal econ­omy is in the cut­ting edge and it of­fers a unique op­por­tu­nity. Peo­ple are be­com­ing fa­mil­iar with the tech­nol­ogy and adapt­ing it to its full use and it is a fast-chang­ing do­main which is get­ting an op­ti­mistic re­sponse. He sug­gested that adopt­ing pol­icy frame­works from other ju­ris­dic­tions into In­dia does not work given that In­dia is a big and di­verse coun­try. How­ever, ex­am­ples of other coun­tries can be used as ref­er­ences to de­sign tech­no­log­i­cal poli­cies that best suite In­dian in­ter­ests.”

Aruna Sun­darara­jan, former Tele­com Sec­re­tary and Chair­man of the Tele­com Commission, ob­served that In­dia has be­come the fastest-grow­ing dig­i­tal ecosys­tem. In­dia is ahead from the rest of the world in many sec­tors in­clud­ing the fi­nan­cial pay­ments sys­tem and has a unique and promis­ing start-up ecosys­tem. In the last 3 years, a huge amount of the ground has al­ready been cov­ered. She ac­knowl­edged that In­dian reg­u­la­tors do face a chal­lenge in draft­ing reg­u­la­tory regimes for data in­fra­struc­tures and data poli­cies, but the author­i­ties too are adopt­ing to the fast-chang­ing world and are gear­ing up to deal with the emerg­ing chal­lenges.

The re­port presents a set of guid­ing prin­ci­ples that may be used in the mak­ing of the ap­pro­pri­ate tech­nol­ogy pol­icy that In­dia needs on its way to be­com­ing a USD 5 tril­lion econ­omy with its at­ten­dant so­cio-eco­nomic ben­e­fits to the ci­ti­zens. It is also im­por­tant to make reg­u­la­tions that tackle real threats, as op­posed to per­ceived chal­lenges. This al­lows nascent and emerg­ing in­dus­tries to stand on their feet be­fore be­ing sub­jected to strict reg­u­la­tory scru­tiny.

The re­port talks about tech­nol­ogy use and the adop­tion of tech­nol­ogy is go­ing to be the driv­ing force of In­dia’s jour­ney to be­com­ing a USD 5 tril­lion econ­omy, with the dig­i­tal sec­tor it­self ac­count­ing for USD 1 tril­lion as es­ti­mated ear­lier. The pos­i­tive ex­ter­nal­i­ties and the mul­ti­plier ef­fect that dig­i­tal and emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies are go­ing to bring about are go­ing to be at the root of In­dia’s en­deav­ours. Af­ford­able ac­cess to the in­ter­net is al­low­ing the In­dian con­sumer base to be­come well-con­nected with the mar­ket­place re­gard­less of ge­o­graphic lo­ca­tion, mak­ing room for fast-mov­ing tech­nol­ogy-based busi­nesses with sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic po­ten­tial. It is es­ti­mated that at least 60-65 mil­lion new jobs could be cre­ated in this new dig­i­tally-driven mar­ket­place.

For the dig­i­tal econ­omy, the re­port iden­ti­fies Data Gov­er­nance, Cy­ber Security, En­cryp­tion and Surveil­lance, along with emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies like Cloud com­put­ing, AI, IoT as crit­i­cal ar­eas of fo­cus for con­certed pol­icy. Is­sues like In­ter­me­di­ary safe­har­bor pro­vi­sion; com­pe­ti­tion laws and tax­a­tion of dig­i­tal sec­tor, reg­u­lat­ing dig­i­tal pay­ments are key ar­eas of con­cern that need to be ad­dressed via con­sul­ta­tive pol­i­cy­mak­ing.

It gives out sug­ges­tive guide­lines for reg­u­la­tion, iden­ti­fies the build­ing block for a dig­i­tal ecosys­tem in the form of con­nec­tiv­ity in­fra­struc­ture, mo­bile de­vice ecosys­tem and dig­i­tal lit­er­acy and con­sumer aware­ness.

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