Making sense of data protection, economy, youth & a lot more

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After nearly a decade of deliberation on data protection, the Parliament has passed the Digital Personal Data Protection Act 2023. This Bill signals the onset of a new era in India’s digital journey, one that recognizes the value and centrality of personal data in today’s globally interconnected digital economy. The interests of individuals and governance have been addressed through various provisions. And businesses need to urgently establish elaborate data systems for compliance with the provisions of this law.

Policy-making is a complex endeavour. Laws must accommodate diverse views from disparate constituencies, and it’s not fair to hold it against them if our own views were not fully considered in the process. Now that the Bill has been passed, we must contend with it. Rather than lamenting missed opportunities, I would rather focus on all that needs to be done now. We have eagerly awaited the enactment of this law for over a decade. Numerous conclaves were held at MMA to discuss the Bill and its outcomes. Now that the Bill is upon us, the magnitude of work that remains for everyone to undertake is huge indeed. In this context, MMA organized a seminar on the theme “Decoding Data Protection Act 2023” on August 24th, 2023, in association with FDPPI. Several experts from all over India shared their insights on the Bill and the way forward for its effective implementation. I am delighted to present an article on this as the cover story. Read the article and watch the video for more information…

Can India become the world’s third-largest economy?

The Prime Minister recently stated that India will become the world’s third-largest economy in the next few years. While it is almost certain that India will become the fourth-largest economy before 2029, attaining the third position may not be as straightforward. Based on GDP at constant prices, India’s economy totalled $2.95 trillion in 2022. This places India as the sixth-largest economy globally, trailing behind the United States, China, Japan, Germany, and the UK. Given the current state of the British economy, India is likely to surpass it in 2024, potentially becoming a larger economy than Germany by 2029. However, overtaking Japan, which holds the third-largest economy position today, will be challenging. It is more realistic to anticipate that we will surpass Japan by 2030.

Amidst this buzz, it’s crucial to remember that per capita income, or the average income of an individual Indian, holds significant importance. In 2022, India’s per capita income stood at $2085, in stark contrast to the UK’s per capita income of $47232. This metric deserves greater attention if the goal is to accurately depict the prevailing economic landscape. The UK’s economic output, which is nearly comparable to India’s, is distributed among a smaller population, resulting in a notably better economic situation for the average British citizen compared to their Indian counterpart. This fact invites thoughtful consideration.

India’s century & its youth

Being a young person in India is a fortunate prospect now as the country enters a new era of unprecedented opportunities. India has achieved the distinction of housing 108 “unicorn” companies, ranking third globally after the US and China. Over the past decade, the average investment size has nearly quadrupled, and revenue-based valuations have more than doubled. The value attributed to ground breaking ideas has reached unparalleled heights. However, this surge in growth has experienced a recent deceleration.

According to Venture Intelligence, both the number of deals and the amount invested have witnessed declines of 60% and 79%, respectively. This trend can be attributed to several factors, including companies failing to meet expectations and fluctuations in valuations due to exposure to public markets. Many investors are now exercising caution, preserving their resources for insiders’ rounds to weather potential market shifts. A crucial aspect of addressing this situation is through enhanced governance practices, which can facilitate sustained capital influx into our start-ups ecosystem. The cultivation of a culture characterized by accountability, ethical behaviour, and transparency is now of paramount importance.

A remarkable facet of India is its capacity to learn from past mistakes. Instead of relying solely on external regulations, it would be more impactful for founders and investors to proactively uphold higher standards. Entrepreneurs must acknowledge that sound governance is as pivotal as having a robust business model and a considerable market share. Investors, on their part, should demand transparency, accountability, and the establishment of independent boards. After all, a company’s reputation is only as sound as the reputation of its leaders.

In this context, the MMA is facilitating a series of discussions on the theme “Start-up India: Opportunities and Excitement.” We are inviting successful entrepreneurs to share their insights for the benefit of startups, investors, and our members. You can watch these discussions online or participate in person at the MMA Management Centre.

The Chandrayaan triumph

India has achieved an extraordinary feat by successfully executing a soft landing on the surface of the Moon. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) orchestrated a meticulously planned landing near the Moon’s South Pole, delicately slowing down the lander to ensure a gentle touchdown. This landing site, known as the “Dark Point,” has long been suspected of harbouring secrets that only a direct exploration could unveil. The ISRO scientists undoubtedly deserve the highest commendation for accomplishing this challenging journey. Their achievement stands as a testament to how determination, hard work, and perseverance can transform failure into success. In this regard, one is reminded of the timeless fable of the hare (Russia’s Luna-25) and the tortoise (Chandrayaan-3), where India’s steady and determined approach emerged victorious.

Following this lunar triumph, ISRO is now directing its attention towards the Sun. India’s inaugural solar mission, Aditya L1, is set to launch later this week. The mission holds paramount importance in the study of the Sun. Despite being 150 million km away from Earth, the Sun is our nearest star, radiating intense energy crucial for our planet. The Sun also frequently exhibits eruptive phenomena like coronal mass ejections. Variations in space weather resulting from such events can impact satellites and other space assets. Early warnings of these disturbances can enable timely preventive actions. Additionally, the Sun serves as a natural laboratory for investigating extreme thermal and magnetic phenomena that cannot be replicated on Earth.

We extend our best wishes to ISRO for their forthcoming solar mission, Aditya L1. Their pursuit not only exemplifies India’s commitment to space exploration but also underscores the country’s place in harnessing the potential of the Sun for scientific advancement.

ESG Rules

The freshly introduced regulations surrounding ESG (Environment, Social, and Governance) disclosures, set forth by market regulators, are undeniably stringent. These regulations, although demanding, represent a significant step in the right direction and are imperative for aligning with global standards. The journey ahead for companies will require considerable guidance and knowledge sharing. Ultimately, these meticulous disclosures by companies will serve to meet the expectations of international investors.

In this context, MMA is gearing up for its Annual Management Students Convention, centered around the theme “Innovate for a Responsible Tomorrow.”

The event aims to gather a constellation of experts who will share their insights into diverse aspects of ESG, including Sustainable Growth, Leadership for Inclusive Success, and Eco-Conscious Business Strategies. The Convention is scheduled to take place on October 4th, 2023, at the IIT Research Park Auditorium. We invite you to mark your calendars and join us in watching the proceedings live.

Conclave on CSR

Despite their substantial CSR potential, Indian firms’ expenditure on Corporate Social Responsibility remained stagnant in 21-22. The aggregate CSR spending of 1205 listed firms, mandated by law, amounted to 14,801 crore rupees. This considerable sum, pooled within the CSR funds, demands judicious utilization by both corporations and stakeholders.

The central aim of this conclave is to cultivate awareness among all stakeholders in the CSR landscape regarding the underlying purpose and intricacies of the CSR Legislation enacted by the government. Our objective is to identify avenues through which Social Entrepreneurs can harness CSR to propel their ventures, thereby fostering adherence to legal requirements and motivating companies to execute projects aligned with their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) objectives.

Moreover, the conclave sought to shed light on appropriate accounting methodologies for non-profit entities and spotlight pertinent case studies illustrating successful CSR implementations. By undertaking these efforts, our intent is to cultivate an environment conducive to effective CSR execution while establishing robust frameworks for its implementation.

In this context, the MMA organized a conclave under the theme “Ten Years of CSR” on August 19th, 2023, at the MMA Management Centre. An in-depth article on this subject is featured in this edition for your perusal. Additionally, the entire conclave can be viewed on YouTube here.

CavinKare-MMA Chinnikrishnan Innovation Award 2023

Mr. Chinnikrishnan sparked the “Sachet Revolution,” envisioning that the joys of the rich should also be accessible to the common man. In a befitting tribute to his legacy, the CavinKare-MMA Chinnikrishnan Innovation Awards stand as a jubilation of innovation in India.

This year marked a pivotal change as the awards embraced a fully digital approach to engage with innovators across India. Through dynamic campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, we successfully reached a wide spectrum of innovators. The outcomes exceeded our expectations, amassing an impressive 65 lakh impressions and engaging over 40 lakh individuals. We’re especially thrilled by the participation of numerous startups in the realm of green technology, showcasing innovations that are both timely and relevant.

Following rigorous deliberation by a distinguished panel of jurors, three exceptional innovations have been chosen to receive the awards. The grand award ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, September 16th, 2023, at the IIT Madras Research Park Auditorium. The event underscores the vital importance of a dedicated emphasis on innovation to democratize products and services. We invite you to join us in championing this spirit of innovation. Mark your calendar to either be present at the celebratory event or tune in and watch the proceedings live.

We urge you to constantly send in your feedback—positive ones as well as criticisms, both are equally important inputs in enabling us to get better at what we do.

As always, we would be happy to hear your views, comments and suggestions.

Happy reading!

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