Unlocking The Potential Of India’s Data Economy: Handbooks For Investors, Private Enterprises, Regulators and Policymakers

26th September 2019

Research Report

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The combination of smartphone proliferation and rapidly increasing data usage across India, especially with the Next Half Billion (the 500M Indians coming online via their mobile phones for the first time), means that businesses and governments can now easily reach and serve this previously hard-to-serve population segment that has traditionally been underserved, excluded and disempowered. This has ignited an unprecedented data generation engine, powering firms and entrepreneurs using big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning. Technology is also opening vulnerability to harms: as a data economy, reams of personally identifiable information are collected, stored and shared.

In response, data regulation in India is evolving rapidly, and data protection, inclusion and privacy have become major public policy concerns. To develop a deeper understanding of these trends and their impact, Omidyar Network India supported a study of the data collection and usage practices of enterprises in the Indian context with Monitor Deloitte India.

Indian private enterprises will play a critical role in this evolution. In addition to complying with the upcoming Personal Data Protection (PDP) regulations, enterprises will need to proactively build user trust through robust privacy practices. This will enable them to develop a competitive advantage based on individual privacy and trust.

In our view, the proposed Data Protection Bill is a great first step in establishing a more comprehensive regulatory framework for privacy in India. Subsequent to the introduction of the bill, we believe that the focus of regulators in India will need to be on four critical areas to enable India’s transition to ‘Privacy 2.0’

Investors are amongst the most critical pillars of the innovation ecosystem and they will need to play an active role in safeguarding ‘digital trust’ around consumer data. Doing so will demonstrate leadership in ‘responsible investing’, and can help generate superior, risk-adjusted, and long-term financial returns.

If you’re a private enterprise, download our handbook here.

If you’re a regulator or policymaker, download our handbook here.

If you’re an investor, download our handbook here.

Along with these handbooks, we have published a detailed report of data practices, privacy and governance of Indian private enterprises that work in the Indian data economy. You can read the report titled ‘Unlocking the Potential of India’s Data Economy’ here.