Data localisation not equal to protectionism: India Inc

Singapore: India's push for data localisation is not a "protectionist" approach but it is to "manage" local interests, head of a top Indian industry body said here on Tuesday.

Data localisation requires data about residents be collected, processed, and stored inside the country, often before being transferred internationally, and usually transferred only after meeting local privacy or data protection laws.

Addressing a global Fintech industries and expertise event, Rashesh Shah, President of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) underlined the importance of leveraging technology for scaling up start-up eco-systems.

"It is not a big ask," said Shah who presented the FICCI views on the latest technologies at the ongoing Singapore Fintech Festival.

"Data localisation is not protectionist, it's to manage local interests," he said amid the row over the issue.

The Reserve Bank of India, in April, had issued a circular instructing all payments system providers like Mastercard, Visa, American Express in the country to ensure that data relating to systems operated by them is stored only in India and had set a deadline of October 15.

Although 80 per cent of the players operating in India have complied with the RBI directive, some global financial technology companies have reportedly sought an extension to the October 15 timeline.

The central bank's data localisation policy had elicited mixed response from the payment services industry. While some of the prominent domestic payment companies like Paytm and PhonePe have been supportive of the dictum, global players like Google (that offers Google Pay) had argued for free movement of data.

Speaking on "India Market Deep Dive", he also made it clear that there was no need to "lose hope on non-use of Adhaar by Fintech companies."

"A better way of electronic authentication will come up, I am sure," he said as part of a panel on technology.

The FICCI is participating in the festival, and showcasing 18 fintech companies under the India Pavilion.

Singapore's showcase fintech event brings together investors, regulators, entrepreneurs and technology executives who will traverse a myriad of topics including artificial intelligence in finance and cyber security.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the first world leader to address the festival on Wednesday.

On November 14, the FICCI will launch a meeting of India-Singapore CEO's Forum.

Meanwhile, Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu and Singapore Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat will be chief guests at Tuesday's "Ficci India Reception".

India's High Commissioner to Singapore, Jawed Ashraf, will be the guest of honour at the reception to be attended by the India-Singapore business leaders.

The reception is to celebrate FICCI's relationship with Singapore and the new engagements that FICCI is developing with Singapore including the India-Singapore CEO's Forum, said the industry body.

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