India is Set to Become a Data Powerhouse, Confirms Piyush Goyal

No to e-commerce regulator but yes to changes in the e-commerce policy

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An extensive dialogue around the framework for the national e-commerce policy started this year and even since, the Indian government has been aggressively bringing solutions to tighten the norms for online marketplaces with foreign investment operating in India. Despite the neat plan of India becoming a data powerhouse, the industry has concerns.

Piyush Goyal

While the data free flow discussed in the recent G20 Ministerial Meeting on Trade and the Digital Economy was a positive development for India in principle, what now is the question industry has been asking. In order to discuss the industry worries around classification of data and the manner of cross border flow of data, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry & Railways, Piyush Goyal held an extensive consultation with technology and e-commerce leaders.

Concerns Over the E-commerce Draft

In the meeting, e-commerce industry representatives also flagged their concerns about the draft policy which they felt was not adequately consultative. Goyal has assured to address each and every concern of the industry, for which he requested the e-commerce players to send their concerns in writing to the DPIIT (Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade) within 10 days.

No Regulator

In the latest meeting with the small traders and retailers, Goyal ruled out the possibility of a regulator for the ecommerce sector as asked by the traders. The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) had reportedly proposed a regulatory mechanism to monitor the compliance of the policy. "The government has very little knowledge about the actual numbers of e commerce portals working in the country since their registration with any authority is not mandatory," CAIT said in a statement.

A Greater Control

By bringing in greater controls through rules and laws will only help up to a certain point, but for long term gain, short term pain will have to be borne and India cannot remain in isolation and will have to be part of the global value chain in order to become a $5 trillion economy, the ministry said in a statement.

Data Classification

The principles of data protection and privacy were discussed at length in the meeting and industry representatives expressed concern over the clarity around classification of data and the manner of cross border flow of data. The Secretary of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) Ajay Prakash Sawhney, assured that the Bill will reflect all the consultations that had taken place.

Hitting Two Birds with One Stone

The government is working on building a robust data protection framework that will achieve the dual purpose of privacy and innovation and strengthen India's position as a global tech leader with focus on trust and innovation. RBI will look into the concerns around the data storage requirements and processing related guidelines issued by the apex bank itself.