Digital economy eco-system discussed

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New Delhi: Ministry of Corporate Affairs Secretary Injeti Srinivas has 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.

Speaking at an event organized by  CUTS International and CIRC on ‘Digital Economy – Hitting the reset button on competition and regulatory governance’, Mr Srinivas 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.

He also confirmed providing a window of three-weeks for public consultation on the proposed Competition (Amendment) Bill 2019.

Bharatiya Janata Party National Spokesperson (Economics Affairs) Gopal Krishna Agarwal highlighted the disruptive nature of digital economy, and iterated the need for optimal regulation. Fair competition, and protection of intellectual property rights, was 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.

CCI Chairperson Ashok Kumar Gupta 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.

CUTS International Secretary General Pradeep Mehta 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.

Chairperson of  Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology Shashi Tharoor, while in a conversation with Nitin Desai, President, CUTS Institute for Regulation and Competition (CIRC), 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.

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