India doesn’t need a mirror image of DMA, says former Chairman, CCI
The former chairman of the Competition Commission of India (CCI), Dhanendra Kumar, stated during a Twitter Space with the Plunge Daily that given where India is in its development, it doesn’t need a Digital Marketing Act (DMA), that is, a mirror image of the European version. He gave the statement while speaking with prominent angel investor Lloyd Mathias about India’s aspirations to introduce its own version of DMA.
“It was a light regulatory touch and liberalization which has brought India to this stage. We have still not reached a stage where Europe and other developed countries are thinking of enacting some kind of a digital market act or Digital Services Act. Our digital economy is still evolving”, said Dhanendra Kumar, a former executive director of the World Bank and a retired IAS officer. Additionally, he has held the positions of Additional Secretary and Secretary of the Ministry of Telecom.
“The growth in the last ten years is driven on the back of two critical factors. One is that India has among the lowest data prices in the world, and two is really the fact that smartphone penetration has grown in leaps and bounds. We are all equal participants in the digital transformation that has occurred over the past five or six years,” said Lloyd Mathias, business strategist and angel investor.
Dhanendra Kumar is of the view that India should adopt a wait-and-watch policy and see where European regulations go. “We can learn from the experiences of the EU and other developed countries and then decide on what is required for our growth. Our priority should be to facilitate India’s economic growth, our digital economy and the infusion of new technology and digitization as speedily as we can. In my view, we have not yet reached a stage when we can think in terms of adopting a mirror image of DMA,” he said.
In a conversation during the Twitter Space with Lloyd Mathias about designating e-commerce giants as “gatekeepers,” Dhanendra Kumar said it’s a myth that big is always bad and needs control. “It can also be good. In India, e-commerce entities have done a lot for the economy and virtually taken care of society on their shoulders during the pandemic. They grew so much as a result of the choice of the people, not because of any regulation,” he said. “I would say that e-commerce has helped the kirana merchants and the small MSMEs. They onboarded them on their platforms and gave space to whatever they produced and delivered it to the doorsteps of the users”, he added.
The former Chairman of CCI, the body that ensures fair play and ethical business practices in India, said that organic data-led growth had brought us to where we are today, and we shouldn’t act to restrict that. “We need to accelerate India’s economic development from where we are today and go to double-digit growth as early as possible. A lot of companies are possibly thinking in terms of shifting from China, and we should facilitate the shifting of these technology companies to India as smoothly as possible. Our regulations have to be facilitative then,” said Dhanendra Kumar.
In terms of changing India’s Competition Laws, he said we have to decide according to our own needs and what works best for us. “Technology is exploding so fast in terms of innovations in agriculture, education and manufacturing. We want to spur, speed up our growth and also create better products not only for India but for the world,” said Dhanendra Kumar.
“India is a very diverse country. The youth here is bubbling with energy and enthusiasm. We should let their energies and entrepreneurship grow and flourish as much as possible. We have to see the impact of each of the services which ride on the digital platform,” he added.
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