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Don’t put consumer data on sale for $1 trillion digital economy: BJP leader Jay Panda

FE Online

While India's digital economy is booming and is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2025, the same must not put consumer data in danger, a senior leader of BJP said. "Large companies, particularly those turning into utilities, must seek consent from consumers for data use and should be subject to stringent regulation," Baijayant "Jay" Panda, National Vice President, BJP and Former MP, said at an event on Monday. However, small companies and start-ups do not need necessarily need to be subject to such strong regulations, he added. India's digital economy stands at around $181 billion today and it is expected to be a strong driver of economic growth, Baijayant Jay Panda said at an event organised by CUTS International and CUTS Institute for Regulation and Competition.

India's fast-growing digital economy is a result of millions of internet subscribers and data revolution brought in the country post-2016. The country has the second-largest Internet user base in the world. Easier availability of smartphones has also spurred the digital revolution in the country. 

Development goals and competition regulation need to go hand in hand and must not be seen in isolation, said Sangeeta Verma, Member, Competition Commission of India, adding that "Regulators need to understand how digital markets are evolving. Data-driven acquisitions need an evolved merger and acquisition thresholds."

Further, more power needs to be given to competition authorities especially in emerging economies as they do not have abundant resources at their perusal. These authorities also need to create laws and regulations of their own instead of relying on experiences of advanced economies. "Competition authorities in emerging countries have limited resources and lack requisite capacity. There might be a need for a new model law for competition to deal with evolving issues in digital economy," George K. Lipimile, Director General and Chief Executive Officer, Competition Commission of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, said.