Data must stay in a country, says Abhijit Das

Experts feel top digital firms could use data outflow to make gains, thereby causing losses to countries like India.

India would soon need to give the go-ahead to permit free flow of data from the country, if some member countries of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) have their way!

Data is going to be the raw material for the future economy of the world, a report by BusinessLine said. Those who have access and control on the data could mint money as mining that data could give access to valuable inputs.

Experts, at a parallel summit on RCEP, were of the view that top digital firms could use such data outflow to make gains, thereby causing losses to countries like India.

“Data must stay in a country. If we have data flowing within the country, our local analytics companies can tap the opportunity,” Abhijit Das, Professor & Head at the New Delhi-based Center for WTO Studies, was quoted as saying.

He also talked on how the RCEP norms could impact the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and public services. “They say e-commerce companies would help SMEs make money as they get a wider platform to sell their products. But it is not true. They in fact would make lesser income as they will be forced to sell with margins squeezed. It is not SMEs that will make money but the platforms (e-commerce companies) that will reap benefits,” he added.

Meanwhile, the People’s Resistance Forum against FTAs and RCEP are boycotting the 19th round of talks as the negotiations were not inclusive.

Source: BusinessLine

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