Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani made a strong pitch on recently for the protection of Indian users’ data in his speech at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit.  In order to emphasise on the importance of data protection, Ambani compared data to oil and said global corporations should not be allowed to control India’s data. “In this new world, data is the new oil. And data is the new wealth. India’s data must be controlled and owned by Indian people and not by corporates, especially global corporations,” Ambani said.

“For India to succeed in this data-driven revolution, we will have to migrate the control and ownership of Indian data back to India in other words, Indian wealth back to every Indian,” he added.

Ambani’s remarks come amid a raging debate in the country over whether data of Indians is safe with foreign companies. In fact, the Reserve Bank of India last year imposed data localisation norms on foreign fintech companies to locally store the data of Indians.

Ambani’s direct attack at foreign companies comes in the backdrop of Reliance Jio’s plans to expand in the fintech sector. Ambani’s JioMoney is competing with global players such as Google Pay, Amazon Pay and Facebook-owned WhatsApp Pay in India.

Not just Ambani, Paytm chief Vijay Shekhar Sharma has also been vocal about the matter in the past and welcomed the RBI’s mandate that the payments data of Indians must be stored locally.

In fact, Paytm had accused Google Pay of sharing consumer data with the third-parties for monetary gains. The company had complained to the National Payments Corporation of India that Google Pay was storing payments data of Indian outside the country.

Source: Business Today

Editorial Comment:  These are ill-conceived utterances. If the US and Europe would take a similar stance as recommended by Mr. Ambani, much of the Indian Outsourcing industry would go bankrupt.  Instead Mr. Ambani should concentrate on harmonized data protection legislation and strong international data security measures.