The Reserve Bank of India's Misguided Digital Protectionism

August 23, 2018

As Nigel Cory writes for Mint, the Reserve Bank of India’s proposal that digital payment companies store all user data in India is both unnecessary and misguided. If the RBI’s underlying concern relates to ensuring the Indian government’s access to data for regulatory oversight, that’s simply no justification for such a data localization policy. Firms can readily use the convenience of modern information technologies (such as cloud computing) to facilitate such access with the click of a button. Where the data is stored is irrelevant in this scenario. If the RBI persists with its proposed requirement that firms store data locally, it reveals that concerns about regulatory oversight are simply cover for protectionism. Instead, the Indian government should focus on any underlying policy issues around regulatory access to data and on the broader issues that need to be addressed in order to improve access and use of digital payment services in the country.