An autonomous research institute under the Ministry of Finance


Data localisation in India: Questioning the means and ends

Publication date

Oct, 2018


NIPFP Working Paper No. 242


Rishab Bailey and Smriti Parsheera


The subject of data localisation has garnered signi ficant attention in recent policy debates in India. This paper classi fies the arguments around data localisation into three broad categories - the civil liberties perspective; the government functions perspective and the economic perspective. We examine the likely costs and bene fits under each of these heads and come to the conclusion that it would be premature to adopt any sweeping localisation norms in India. At the same time, India must not will away its ability to adopt such measures in future by agreeing to sweeping ‘free flow of data’ provisions in trade agreements. The identi fication of cases where narrowly-tailored localisation requirements might be an appropriate response should be done through a transparent and consultative process. Where an assessment of the overall costs and bene fits justi fies a case for localisation, it should be adopted in its least intrusive form.
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