The Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), one of India’s premier economic think tanks, and Prosus, one of the largest technology investors in the world, are partnering to establish the ICRIER Prosus Centre for Internet and Digital Economy (IPCIDE). The centre will conduct research at the intersection of technology, policy and economics and offer insights to the government on the most pressing issues regarding the digital economy. The Centre has been established at a time when India’s digital economy is expected to show exponential growth on the back of rising internet penetration and increasing income. India’s digital economy, valued at US$250 billion today, is expected to grow to US$800 billion by 2030.
Based at ICRIER, New Delhi, the Centre will undertake analytical research to support India’s transition towards a more efficient, inclusive, and sustainable digital economy and shape the next phase of India’s digital transformation. At the inauguration, Pramod Bhasin, ICRIER’s chairperson, said, “With the 2022-23 Union Budget laying the foundation for digital-driven development, the establishment of the Centre couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. The combination of ICRIER’s excellent research credentials and Prosus’s expertise and global reach will provide a promising platform to inform and shape public discourse on India’s digital economy. The Centre is also poised to make a meaningful contribution to India’s technology-led startup ecosystem, which is creating billion-dollar enterprises.”
IPCIDE will bring together stakeholders from the private sector, academia, civil society and government for well-rounded thought leadership on issues relating to the digital economy, and support the process of evidence-based policymaking in India. The Centre will also collaborate with other institutions, both within and outside India, to deliver key insights into India’s rapidly evolving digital economy. The Centre’s activities will be overseen by an eminent panel of advisory members, including Professor Payal Arora, Mr. Rajesh Bansal, Mr. R. Chandrashekhar, Mr. Toomas Ilves, and Professor Carl Frey, and Ms. Aruna Sundararajan. The advisory panel will invite and add new members over time.
India’s digital transactions, which are a key indicator of a rising digital economy, have seen a sizeable jump in the past two years. Digital transactions rose 33% to 7,422 crore for the 11 months ended February 28 compared to 5,554 crore for the whole of FY21. Digital transactions stood at 3,134 crore in FY19. With home to 94 unicorns, and nearly one unicorn produced every week in 2022, India is entering a new phase of digital transformation that holds great benefits, as well as risks, that need careful regulatory navigation.
Commenting on their long-term investment in India’s digital economy, Sehraj Singh, Managing Director, India for Prosus said “It is an absolute honour for Prosus to partner with ICRIER, Deepak Mishra and Pramod Bhasin in establishing an academic research centre. IPCIDE’s focus on high-quality economic research on the digital economy and the Internet will come at a very crucial time. The pandemic has accelerated the growth of the digital economy, and we are at the cusp of the Web 3.0 evolution. We look forward to the Centre contributing significantly to the technology policy dialogue not only in India but also globally.”
Areas of focus for the Centre will include measuring India’s digital economy, fintech, crypto assets and digital currency, platform governance and competition, artificial intelligence — ethics and governance, cybersecurity and new approaches to regulating India’s digital economy. The Centre will host its inaugural roundtable on Central Bank Digital Currencies on April 7, 2022 (registration link here) with speakers from the Reserve Bank of India, Ministry of Finance, GoI, Bank of International Settlements, and the International Monetary Fund. The key outputs of the Centre include an annual flagship publication and an international conference on India’s digital economy. The work will be carried out by digital economy experts from India and abroad, led by the Director and Chief Executive of ICRIER, Deepak Mishra.