The new social media guidelines are intended to safeguard the rights of consumers served by digital platforms, and India has taken the lead globally in developing a regulatory framework for such platforms, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, said on Friday.
While speaking during an online webinar organised by Swarajay magazine, Chandrasekhar stated that India is a thriving democracy with constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights for all citizens. The government’s approach to regulations has been to enshrine specific consumer rights in law, he explained.
The minister stressed that the intermediary guidelines are not intended to compel the government to take any action favourable or unfavourable to intermediaries. “It is intended to codify the fact that consumers served by large technology platforms, or any platform, have rights. And these intermediaries are not permitted to disregard those rights “he said.
In response to a specific question about India’s approach to large technology platforms in light of the divergent regulatory positions taken by other countries such as China and the US, Chandrasekhar stated: “We are not China. We are a thriving democracy with constitutionally guaranteed rights, fundamental rights for all of our citizens, including the right to free expression. Our constitutionally protected right to privacy is unalienable.”
India is leading the world’s democracies in developing a framework of regulations or rules for digital platforms that have long been exempt from any form of accountability to users due to the ‘Safe Harbour’ provisions of Section 79, he noted.
Chandrasekhar also stated that India welcomes foreign investors while encouraging domestic entrepreneurs and strengthening indigenous products, intellectual property, and platforms through growth-oriented programmes and schemes.
“Aatmanirbhar Bharat’s vision is that Indians must be engaged in creating value in India for whoever the investor is. Investors from Singapore, Japan, Western Europe, the United States, or any other geography, including Indian entrepreneurs, are all welcome “‘He stated.
Simultaneously, the government wishes to see an increase in the number of Indian brands and products that are globally competitive.
“But I don’t think anywhere in our radar is protectionism. There is no protectionism…For government, there are no two classes of investors or people creating economic growth and opportunity,” he said.