ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Digital EconomySubscribe to Digital Economy

A Study of Technological Advent and its Impact on Competition In India

Technology-based innovations and the dynamics of their commercialisation have piqued the interest of entrepreneurs and the business community. Compared to traditional "brick and mortar" markets, competition in the digital economy necessitates more attention. The two-way user community that links the service supplier and the consumer is a distinctive feature of the digital economy. The abuse of the dominant position in the digital market is becoming more widespread than in traditional marketplaces. One of the numerous variables contributing to the rise in abuse of the dominant position in the digital market is the lack of entry restrictions. Google is one such example criticised for stifling competition and innovation. Furthermore, Mergers and Acquisitions is a robust platform that can foreclose future markets and curb innovation; instead of competing on merits, it would leverage its market power and is likely to prevent others from competing on merits. The Whatsapp-Facebook merger, a landmark transaction, was regarded as a restriction of competition in the relevant market. In a series of cases, the Competition Commission of India has highlighted blatant problems in identifying and interpreting the CCI’s jurisdiction after technological advancement. The paper will discuss anti-competitive aspects, the effects of mergers and acquisitions, and the privacy risks of the digital economy, with an emphasis on the Indian scenario.

Tax Reforms and Global Redistribution

The current international financial system needs an urgent overhaul as it continues to undermine workers’ rights. The recent agreement on the “Two-Pillar Approach” that aims to tackle global corporate tax avoidance and taxing the digital economy falls short of addressing the priorities of the global South, and threatens their sovereignty.

The Macro Frames of Microwork

Based on a qualitative study of women microworkers on Amazon Mechanical Turk, this paper explores the gendered modus operandi of global platform capitalism. For women from households negotiating caste and class status in small-town South India, digital labour platforms like AMT are the optimal choice; an answer to both economic necessity and familial validation. Women must, however, endure the platform’s coercive disciplining, striving to meet its unknowable metrics. With the pandemic, even as they are forced to contend with the oppressive precarity of digital labour—reducing job availability, falling pay, longer hours and the risk of suspension—work on AMT, paradoxically, becomes non-negotiable. The artificial intelligence-based regimes of the platform economy urgently need a norm shift towards gender equality and redistributive justice.

 

Between Precarity and Flexibility

The Gig Economy: A Critical Introduction by Jamie Woodcock and Mark Graham, UK, Cambridge and Medford: Polity Press, 2020; pp ix + 182, £14.99.

 

Digital Empowerment and Indian Handlooms

Mere access to the internet does not guarantee progress; end users must be equipped to draw tangible benefits. This study explores the digital access and education initiatives in the handloom clusters of India and attempts to arrive at policy interventions for the sustainable digital empowerment of workers in indigenous trades such as handlooms. In-depth case research was conducted in three project sites, at various stages of maturity, of the Digital Cluster Development Programme by the Digital Empowerment Foundation in India. The physical infrastructure of digital connectivity needs to be accompanied by vocation-specific digital interventions for connectivity to be used productively and for digital empowerment to take place. A three-pronged social policy intervention model based on access, education, and engagement involving public–private partnerships, which may substantially enhance digitalisation of indigenous business models and digital empowerment of communities engaged in such professions, is recommended.

 

Digital Economy: India's Account Aggregator System Is Plagued by Privacy and Safety Issues

In the digital economy, data inequity adversely affects consumers in the financial sector, especially the ones limited by choices due to their geographic location and/or socioeconomic status. To tide over these problems, India introduced the account aggregator system in 2016, enabling financial institutions to access information of individuals in exchange for offering financial instruments. Despite the novelty and benefits that come with it, there have been issues surrounding privacy and safety of individual’s financial information.

Demonetisation through Segmented Markets: Some Theoretical Perspectives

The decision to demonetise 86% of India’s currency has been widely and substantially debated by notable scholars of political science and economics. This article wishes to add to that debate, by focusing on macroeconomic theory and how the policy decision affects the organised and unorganised sectors of the Indian economy­—provided certain assumptions remain in place. The following analysis is based on the money-multiplier theory and the segmented markets model of economic and monetary policy analysis.

Doing More with Less

The current focus on financial inclusion has opened up solutions to reduce leakages in central and state government schemes. For these solutions to have a sustainable impact, deeper issues in public fund management must be addressed. These issues revolve on three key challenges: "first-mile" problems of transferring central and state funds to local implementation agencies in a timely, efficient and transparent manner; "last-mile" problems of sending benefits to beneficiary or vendor bank accounts without delays; and "beyond-the-last-mile" challenges of ensuring rural beneficiaries have adequate access to remote banking services. This paper reviews these three challenges and proposes a new public finance management system, namely, JAM+. The authors believe that these reforms have the potential to reduce India's fiscal deficit by ₹1 lakh crore.

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