India’s refusal to sign Osaka Declaration
   16-Jul-2019
Refusal of Osaka Declaration on Digital Economy and Tecno-Nationalism Approach of India
Rahul Rathore
 
The entire world is growing on the theme to give priority to national objectives. US President Donald Trump is working with America first, Israel giving importance to their national values, Chinese adopted isolated cum nationalised approach long back. Indian citizens elected their Prime Minister again on nationalist approach.
 

 
PM Modi and US President Trump at G20 Osaka Summit 
 
The recent G-20 Osaka Summit was held in Japan in June 2019. At this Summit the decision was taken for road map of the digital economy and free flow cross border data. But India refused to sign Osaca Declaration saying data related matters cannot be decided in isolation, it should be thought with reference to WTO context. In the same inaugural session, Donald Trump clearly said the United States opposes Data Localization concept.
 
Osaka Declaration is signed by 24 countries and India, Indonesia, South Africa and Egypt refused to sign. There is conflict in view where 24 countries including USA, UK, China, Russia, Japan, France, Germany on one side and India on another side. It seems the main point of the divide is recently framed Reserve Bank of India’s Data Localization concept. On April 2018, the RBI published Statement on Development and Regulatory Policies where clause 4 storage of payment system data talks on payment related data should be stored in India Only.
 
Osaka Declaration
In January at Davos 2019 members of World Trade Organization declared to launch Osaka Track in Joint Statement on Electronic Commerce. Osaka track is the process to promote International policy discussions and international rule-making of electronic commerce. Further, in G-20 Summit this year countries shared their view that digitalisation is transforming the world economy & society and data become an important source in economic growth. Effective use of data can contribute to the social well-being of the countries.
 
After the cyber industry’s phrase ‘Data is new Oil’, Prime Minister of India gave new phrase ‘Data is new form of Wealth’. The rise of techno-nationalism begins in June 2018 when Prime Minister commented in favour of RuPay card, PM said RuPay card is creating revolutionary movement in the digital economy, transaction done by RuPay card will help Indian economy to grow faster. Financial charges will remain in India for better development. PM said this is the new way of serving country and the citizens need not go to the border to serve the country. After this speech of PM, global fintech industries start lobbying against India. Right now, almost 50 crore RuPay cards are available in India. US-based Google, Amazon and Visa also joined hand with Mastercard against India. In June 2018 Mastercard met with the United States Trade representative on India aggressiveness of nationalist approach.
 
Other Fintech companies need to heavily invest in India to keep data in India itself because companies have most of their data centre outside India. PM may be considering these things: First, world-class data centre infrastructure in India and going forward India may become datacentre service hub in the world. Second, protection of personal and sensitive personal data is one of the considerations. Third, data is the new form of wealth other countries are earning from analysis of Indian data. Why not India earn from his citizen’s data? All these three approaches depict Indian nationalism approach.
 
Japan is pitching model of society 5.0 where human and social problems will be addressed by big data and artificial intelligence-based science and technology. Human behaviour will be captured and analysed for decision making and future planning. Whereas India believes in deep-rooted social responsibilities, cultural values, bonding and togetherness. Thus, India doesn’t allow other countries to interfere social model of life. Once long back India failed to encash opportunity to become master of all with his techno nationalism approach when Indian engineers developed Wireless in Local Loop technology named CorDect but Government of India has not taken enough measures to adopt this technology. Indeed, CorDect was low cost and practical solution considering Indian geography and villages.
(The writer is a Cyber Security Expert)