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Press coverage

Additional Coverage of C-DEP in various regional and national and print media

October 28th, 2020

No company should be unbridled

India should also be alert to China, not just Silicon Valley or European companies. Continuous efforts are being made to circumvent the ban on Chinese apps. Chinese apps are trying to change their name and brand to woo Indian consumers. The Center for Digital Economic Policy Research has alerted the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology by exploring such a case. The ministry had banned China’s Kwai app a few weeks earlier, but Kwai rebranded itself as a snack video and is freely available in India. The government should investigate. 

October 23rd, 2020

Digital policy think tank seeks ban on Snack Video app

Digital policy think tank Centre for Digital Economy Policy Research has written to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) seeking a ban on Snack Video, a short-video app, owned by Chinese internet firm Kuaishou Technology Co. Snack Video is the top app in India, according to Google Play Store’s ranking. It is ahead of other Indian short-video apps, including Josh, Moj and MX Takatak, which were launched after India banned TikTok and 58 other Chinese apps in June, citing national security concerns. MX Takatak is owned by MX Player, a Times Internet company. Times Internet is part of the Times of India Group that also publishes The Economic Times. “This application poses the same risks as the banned applications, and is essentially a new name or form of a currently banned app, and is operating in violation of the orders of the Government of India,” the think tank’s president Jaijit Bhattacharya alleged in the letter. “Various news reports confirm that Snack Video is an international offering of Kuaishou Technology Co. Ltd., along with the application Kwai,” the letter stated.

October 22th, 2020

Despite ban in India, Chinese-origin app Snack Video continues to rule short-video space

According to digital policy think-tank, Centre for Digital Economy Policy Research (C-DEP), up until yesterday when a user clicked on the Google Play Store icon on this mobile site, it automatically redirected a user to Snack Video app’s Play Store page. C-DEP has now reached out to the Ministry of Home Affairs and MEITY alleging that Snack Video is a mirrored offering of the banned application Kwai in India. In the letter sent to the government, the think-tank has urged the government to “take action as may be necessary in this area”. Jaijit Bhattacharya, President, C-DEP told CNBC-TV18, “In the interest of national security, the government had taken a much needed step of banning apps from adversarial nations. However, the nature of digital is such that it is easy to bring back such apps in different forms, and hiding the nationality of the apps. It is the duty of the civic society to flag such intrusions into the Indian app ecosystem.”

October 22th, 2020

Digital policy think-tank seeks action against Snack Video

The Centre for Digital Economy Policy Research (C-DEP), in a letter to Home Minister Amit Shah and Ministry of Electronics and IT Additional Secretary Rajendra Kumar on Wednesday, alleged that some of the Chinese mobile apps that have been blocked by the government continue to exist in new forms. “This application poses the same risks as the banned applications, and is essentially a new name or form of a currently banned app, and is operating in violation of the orders of the government of India,” C-DEP President Jaijit Bhattacharya said in the letter. C-DEP said such applications pose the same risks as the banned apps and can download files without users” permission. The think-tank alleged that Snack Video is operated by Symphony Tech Pte Ltd, which is owned by Beijing Kuaishou Technology — owner of the Kwai app. Bhattacharya requested the government to “take action as may be necessary in this area.”

September 6th, 2020

As UP jumps 10 spots, ease of doing biz list draws flak

The methodology adopted by DPIIT is significantly different from what was followed by it in its first ease of doing business rating in 2014, said Jaijit Bhattacharya, president, Centre for Digital Economy Policy Research. “It would be more appropriate if the evaluation process is a mix of actual processes, user feedback, and “mystery shopping” by tracking an actual investor who is setting up a plant in a state, keeping his identity confidential,” he said. Bhattacharya added that he is surprised about the sharp jump in Uttar Pradesh’s ranking. “We see limited uptick in Uttar Pradesh’s business environment as there is a gap in policy and implementation on ground.”

July 29th, 2020

Bihar: Digital campaigns, COVID-19 pose new challenges for EC

Jaijit Bhattacharya, president, Centre for Digital Economy Policy Research, said an online campaign could lead to an uneven playing field. “A digital campaign is resource intensive,” he said. “It requires the best of brains to be able to sift through data and create digital campaigns that decisively hones into a target voter’s consciousness and converts the citizen into a favourable voter. Not all political parties would be able to garner such resources and press them into service.”

July 20th, 2020

Indian railways to introduce private trains in phases

“Railways have been progressively moving towards having a greater role for private sector. This move of getting the private sector to run 151 trains is an excellent development, with not only private capital moving into railways, but also the benefit of fresh talent and expertise being injected into the railways. However, Railways needs to commit to service-level agreements (SLAs) to the private players so that the private players can in turn provide dependable services,” said Jaijit Bhattacharya, president of the Centre for Digital Economy Policy Research (C- DEP), a think tank

July 2nd, 2020

Chinese companies suffered a major setback due to ban on apps, while other countries can also follow the path of India.

 the Indian government banned 59 Chinese mobile apps. Factors such as data security and privacy are being cited as the reason behind this ban, but this issue is also with Google, Facebook and Twitter. Then why were they spared? It is clear that this exercise was not done only keeping data security and privacy in mind. This cover has been inserted only to honor some international traditions. Its purpose is to give a strong message to China. The government’s attack on its dubious apps to respond to China will only benefit if it creates an ideal environment by encouraging domestic entrepreneurs and innovators to develop their options. In this connection, many names like Share Chat, Spark, Joho Meeting, Airmeet and Jup-POS have come out. If they get the support of the government and the users, then they can flag the success of not only the country but also globally. 

June 21st, 2020

JIOEFFECT: Driven By Data

“Clearly, the entry of Jio has led to a churn in the Indian telecom industry. The industry was already under stress, reeling from a high capital cost, reducing ARPU and regulatory challenges. The entry of Jio, with a predatory pricing, has put further pressures on an already stressed industry. Did it improve the quality of service? Clearly, that is not the case as each of us can vouch for,” says Jaijit Bhattacharya, President, Centre for Digital Economy Policy Research (C-DEP), an independent think tank that formulates positions on policies for the digital economy.  Bhattacharya does not see any inherent gain for Facebook or WhatsApp. “I do not see any inherent gain for Facebook and Whatsapp if they follow the law of the land that includes sticking to Net Neutrality and the Competition Commission regulations as well as the provisions pending in the Personal Data Privacy Bill. As I mentioned earlier, both Facebook and WhatsApp will be competitors to the Jio ecosystem. Jio obviously gains precious cash that it would need to be able to grow faster,” he adds.

June 9th, 2020

E-voting Or Traditional Booths? Election Commission Considers Ways To Hold Bihar Polls Amid Pandemic

Dr Jaijit Bhattacharya, president of Centre for Digital Economy Policy Research, says that holding e-elections under the current infrastructure is extremely challenging. “People need to have their e-signs and it is far-fetched as of now. Penetration of smart devices is still not deep in India. Enormous amount of training and system build-up is needed before we move towards e-elections,” he says. There is also the need to devise a way so that the secrecy of the ballot is maintained as e-signs or digital signatures could give away the identity of the voter.

April 1st, 2020

The world economy will go into recession due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, as per a United Nations report, India is less likely to face any such repercussion. President, Jaijit Bhattacharya said that virus is eventually going to affect a large population in India. All we are trying to do is to flatten the curve and infection happens at a slower rate. Now, if a large portion of population gets affected at some point in future, it would imply that many more employment opportunities lost and would translate to an economic impact immediately. 

April 2nd, 2020

Telco distress call for relief package

The COAI has also urged the finance minister to exempt the industry from the levy of GST, or service tax, on license fees, spectrum usage charges and the payment of spectrum acquired in auctions. “Every industry is facing a financial crisis. Telecom is feeling the heat more because of the payout to abide by the Supreme Court Order, before Covid-19. The government cannot allow any sector to persish, but yes, telecom is at the front,” said Jaijit Bhattacharya, president, Centre for Digital Economy Policy Research.