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Data will determine economic growth; 10 principles to ensure it

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A global undercurrent is shaping products, companies and whole swathe of markets. It’s happening at a rapid pace and needs a rethink by the government, business and civil society. Its not the internet, it is the digital footprints of consumers captured as clicks, likes, location and

buys. This trove of digital data, capable of providing insights is shaping social science, psychology and marketing. Focus group are passe, extrapolating on a sample survey is dead, there is now real data about what people like, use and shop along with what influences the buying behaviour. The science of big data using machine learning is building artificial intelligence that predicts buying behaviour. It can even influence behaviour from selecting a candidate to a spouse.

This is not happening because of technology, it is happening because technology has massive amount of data, in terabytes, to crunch and build hypotheses. There is so much data to test the output backwards into input, till it is fine-tuned into an algorithm. Entrepreneurs are massaging this data to redefine products and create new markets that never existed before.

Data is not the new oil as that analogy distorts its importance, it also assumes ownership in the hands of a few like the Big Oil monopolies. Data is more like water. We intuitively know it’s importance but have never defined its ownership, clearly. Data like water is renewable and its
ownership and usage will determine the future.

Data like water also has individual and distributed ownership. Individuals have clear rights to their own data and its usage. But anonymous non-personal citizen data has to be governed in such a manner that it promotes entrepreneurship and innovation. Therefore, a set of data’s ownership can be distributed and treated like public good(s).

The rules for keeping big data open is important as it impacts competition, entry level barriers, new products and entrepreneurship. Data incumbents are trying to skew the debate on data to protect their monopolies. A social media company entering payments will share data with its payment subsidiary but not the ecosystem. The incumbents can not determine the law that should govern data generated by citizens. India has to set clear rules for usage of data irrespective of the platform create a perfect market. These rules will determine future economic growth.

An example elucidates this, e-commerce is small as compared to the total size of retail but it has already started making a dent in pricing, branding and growth of established companies. Any large consumer good company knows its customer through the distribution chain. It has sales
data of its product location wise. This data is used to plan production, pricing, inventory and growth. The distribution network is used data point for testing new products, pilots, surveys of consumer preferences, etc. The crucial gap in the network is the final consumer, the leap to the final consumer his buying behaviour is available on E-commerce platforms. While consumer behaviour data is available it is not accessible.

As more and more sales moves digital, all the nuances along like what is influencing buying behaviour can be identified if companies get access to it. But because they don’t get it they will sooner or later lose their consumer. Especially young consumers, digital first consumers platforms will monopolize future product innovation. The classical example of this is the cloud kitchens created by food delivery platforms.

Food delivery companies like Swiggy and Zomato which started as passive platforms connecting restaurants with consumers have become data powerful. This power arises from their control over consumers and their data. Almost every restaurant association in the country has complained to Competition Commission of India (CCI) against them. Unfortunately, the
outdated competition laws do not address abuse of data by internet platforms. Competition law is important for free markets and economic growth. These food aggregators are not governed by the e-commerce rules either.

They have opened up budget priced food kitchens that serve home cooked food to a large section of office-goers, affecting not just the restaurant business but even tiny home food entrepreneurs. This innovation of both cuisine, pricing and location comes from data insights of consumption on the platform. The location of the kitchen is the single most important insight in this business and it determines success or failure. Which is why the National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI) is asking food aggregators to share data with its members so they do not get left out? Here, it is important to know that the food aggregators are no longer passive platforms; they have entered the domain of the suppliers.

This is happening across sectors like travel, hotels, where data is allowing platforms to enter new domains. While the consumer benefits in the short run because of lower pricing and easier access to home delivery. In the long run the choice and competition will shrink. Therefore a proper market for data has to be created, rules need to be framed for the operation of such a marketplace.

This obviously will also raise a wider debate needed on privacy, data security and even pricing of such data. Platforms will not part easily with the data as they see it is a competitive edge. They have lobbied hard to prevent any legislation on it. The best way is to move forward is to recognize data as a public product or good. Certain broad principles need to be followed for this wherever the law is talking about data. The confusion of which law or Act will determine data sharing is a spanner thrown to delay the process. Unnecessary conflict is being created between ministries and pending legislation to prevent basic data principles from being followed.

Ten data principles for a free market

  • Citizens to have the right to opt out or opt in from databases
  • Rules to define non-personal data sharing and use
  • Platforms can’t deny suppliers or vendors consumption data
  • Define non-personal data in line with privacy
  • Norms for pricing, usage and download to develop a market
  • Non-personal customer data is a public resource
  • Define government data as a public good
  • Use of public data governed by privacy and security
  • Prevent monopolistic ownership of data
  • Local laws to govern data generated in India

(K. Yatish Rajawat is a policy analyst. He tweets @yatishrajawat. The views expressed here are personal)

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BJP denies tickets to 3-time MLA Kulwant Rana, 25 others

Rana became the youngest candidate to win the elections in 2003, while he retained his seat from Rithala constituency in 2008 and 2013 too.

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New Delhi, Jan 17 : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday announced the first list of candidates for the Delhi Assembly elections to be held on February 8.

In its first list, the party announced 57 candidates while it denied tickets to 26 leaders, including former state vice president and three time MLA Kulwant Rana.

Rana became the youngest candidate to win the elections in 2003, while he retained his seat from Rithala constituency in 2008 and 2013 too.

The BJP has still not announced its candidates for 13 seats, including New Delhi, Mehrauli and Sangam Vihar.

The party has fielded Manish Chaudhary in place of Rana from Rithala. Sources said the party denied a ticket to Rana as he was involved in some controversies.

Similarly, Rajni Abbi has been replaced by Surendra Singh Bittu in Timarpur, while Rajesh Yadav from Badli, Gugan Singh Ranga from Bawana, Prabhu Dayal from Sultanpur Majra, Surjeet from Mangolpuri and Nandkishor from Trinagar have not been given tickets for the upcoming Assembly polls.

The party has also denied the ticket to Vivek Garg, who lost the elections in 2015 from the Model Town seat, and fielded former AAP Minister Kapil Mishra, who joined the BJP after quitting AAP.

The party has also denied tickets to Praveen Jain from Sadar Bazar, Shyam Lal from Ballimaran, B.B. Tyagi from Laxmi Nagar, Jitendra Chaudhary from Gandhi Nagar, Sanjay Jain from Seelampur, Ajay Mahawat from Ghonda and Krishna Teerath from Patel Nagar.

The party has also changed the candidates in Janakpuri, Uttam Nagar, Palam, Jangpura, Malviya Nagar, Ambedkar Nagar, Greater Kailash, Kondli and Patparganj.

(Navneet Mishra can be reached at [email protected])

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No need to reconfigure Asia-Pacific as Indo Pacific, halt strategies to contain China, says Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov

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Sergei Lavrov

Speaking during the fifth edition of the Raisina Dialogue 2020 in the Indian capital, Russian Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday slammed both United States and India for making an attempt to establish a concept of Indo-Pacific to contain China.

At a global conference to discuss the most challenging issues facing the world community, Lavrov furiously questioned the rules- based word order by the US while simultaneously violating international law, “Why do you need to call Asia-Pacific as Indo-Pacific? The answer is evident — to exclude China. Terminology should be unifying, not divisive. Neither SCO nor BRICS is exclusionary.”

Stating that US deliberately reconfigured the region just to isolate China and apparently pointed to the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD, also known as the Quad) strategic dialogue between the United States, Japan, Australia and India , the diplomatic and military arrangement as a response to increased Chinese economic and military power and influence in South China Sea.

Accusing Western countries of not adhering to the United Nations charter for discussions based on sovereign equality of states, noninterference in internal matters, territorial integrity and peaceful resolution of disputes, he asked, “Why do our Western friends insist on a rules-based order and not international law.Western friends are using international law less. Instead, they have coined a new concept which they call as a rules-based world order.”

He emphasized that China’s influence in the region is enormous and said that any strategy should not exclude anyone rather cooperation should be extended to all.

Russia has been urging New Delhi and Beijing to continue coordinating their efforts to ensure global and regional security, including in the Asia-Pacific region.

China’s assertive territorial claims in the South China Sea has infuriated many as Southeast Asian nations Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei all have rival claims.
He further added that Russia is also committed to the values of equal and indivisible security.

“The ongoing process of creating a more fair and democratic polycentric world order requires us to closely coordinate our efforts and to forge consolidated stances,” the Russian foreign minister had said. “It is important to keep promoting positive and unifying international agenda, directed at ensuring global and regional stability and security, at achieving goals of sustainable development, at improving the framework of inter-state relations, including in the Asia-Pacific region.”.

He said that Russia was very much concerned with the situation in the Persian Gulf region and suggested that Gulf countries start thinking about a collective security mechanism as a confidence-building measure.

Lavrov backed India for the permanent seat in the United Nation security council

“G7 can’t decide any issue of significance for decisions on BRICS it should be G20. India & Brazil should absolutely be at the UNSC. Developing countries should be given adequate representation there,” Lavrov said at the event while advocating representation of developing countries in the UNSC.

While concluding his speech, he talked about Indo-Russia ties, and said, “We want to develop such relations with all countries of the region and I hope that our Indian friends will be promoting the same ideology.”

Blog : By Arti Bali,

arti

(Senior Journalist)

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Gehlot asked to pilot anti-CAA activities

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Gehlot, Pilot

In a major development, which indicates growing clout of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in the party, he has been assigned to coordinate with the Congress and alliance Chief Ministers to block the new citizensip law (CAA) and the National Population Register (NPR).

Gehlot will also play a key role and steer the anti-CAA resolutions by Assemblies. The Congress has communicated to its Chief Ministers and alliance partners to adopt a resolution against the CAA.

Punjab could become the first Congress-ruled state to pass an anti-CAA resolution in the Assembly.

Gehlot has been asked to meet all the Chief Ministers for this as well as to oppose the NPR.

According to sources, the resolutions will be moved as a private member bills as the government can’t move such a resolution.

Till now, only Kerala has passed such a resolution. West Bengal has said it was against the CAA.

The opposition meet, convened by the Congress here on Monday, urged all the Chief Ministers to stop the NPR process.

“The CAA, the NPR and the NRC are part of a package and unconstitutional. They target the poor, downtrodden, SCs/STs and linguistic & religious minorities. The NPR will form the NRC’s basis. We demand withdrawal of the CAA and immediate stoppage of the nationwide NRC/NPR. The Chief Ministers who have announced that they will not implement the NRC in their states, must consider suspension of the NPR enumeration as it’s the prelude to the NRC,” it said in a resolution.

Earlier the Congress Working Committee, said the Narandra Modi government had unleashed the brute state power to suppress, subjugate and stifle the voice of youth and students across the country.

“A concerted attack on the Constitution, rampant unemployment, commercialisation of education, unprecedented fee hikes and autocratic refusal to listen to the voice and concerns of youth/students have led to spontaneous protests across campuses,” it said.

BY SAIYED MOZIZ IMAM ZAIDI

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