At the India Today Conclave 2017 held in Mumbai, noted Industrialist Mukesh Ambani spoke about the absolute necessity of protecting our data and ensuring that it stays within our shores. To ensure that that happens, he talked about how it’s imperative that we launch a ‘Keep in India’ campaign, one that complements PM Modi’s dynamic ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ campaigns. Having already stated my views on this before, I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Ambani’s pragmatic assessment as there are countless benefits that we, as a nation, would reap if we ensured that all domestically generated data is retained within our borders.
These benefits include, but aren’t limited to, an increase in inflow of investments and international talent, a decrease in outflow of domestic talent, and a paramount increase in job creation. Then there are also, as Mr. Ambani rightfully pointed out, reasons pertaining to national security and sovereignty conditions that further add to the necessity of launching a ‘Keep in India’ campaign. Additionally, this initiative can also help us prepare for the Digital Age that the world is being ushered. How so? Well, it can ensure that we develop the necessary human capital needed to maintain our leadership position in the field of technology for future generations.
In one of my earlier blog posts from 2014, I had talked about how upsetting and frustrating it was to see that India was globally ranked 29th in a list of 30 countries for business attractiveness. I had also stressed on the need for a Policy environment that is conductive to growth for both the enterprise, as well as the entrepreneur, and one that gives big enterprises enough motivation to set shop here. Now ever since the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power with a thumping majority, things have gotten a lot better. The ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ campaigns have, to a great extent, helped create this pro-entrepreneur environment that has made India more attractive in terms of energy infusion, land and infrastructure, and capital infusion. But most, if not all, of this progress that’s been made in the last 3 years will be for naught if we don’t ensure protection of our domestically created data.
Now fortunately for us, there are many ways one could go about to ensure the protection of our data. For starters, as already mentioned above, launching a ‘Keep in India’ campaign will go a long way in informing, educating and motivating in-house developers and entrepreneurs about the need and importance of keeping domestically created data within our borders. Apart from that, the government could also draft some policies that would make it more difficult for companies that first generate ad revenue out of Indian data, and then set up Data Centres in foreign countries. Finally, we need to support our Prime Minister, in every way we can, in all of his endeavors related to ‘Digital India’ as we are extremely fortunate to have a leader like him, one who understands technology and all of its multiple benefits.
We are now living in a day and age where data and information wield unquestionable power. In the decades to come, they wouldn’t be any less important or desirable as a tool of power than even oil. As such, if we, as a developing nation vying to be the next superpower of the world, are to realize our full potential, we need to capture all of the benefits of the Indian technology revolution that we are currently a part of. And to do that, we need to ensure that data remains in India.
उद्यमेनैव सिध्यन्ति कार्याणि न मनोरथै: ।
न हि सुप्तस्य सिंहस्य प्रविशन्ति मुखे मृगा: ॥
Only with industry and effort is work done,
animals never themselves enter the lion’s mouth.