India scores on innovation, harnessing internet benefits but modest progress on cybersecurity rail guards: Report
New Delhi, Feb 24 (PTI) India fares well on parametres such as innovation and harnessing benefits of internet, but still has ground to cover when it comes to protection against cybercrime and invasion of privacy, according to a latest report. Without an exclusive cybersecurity law, Indians have to rely on “anachronistic” and sectoral regulations, making “protect” the weakest link in India’s otherwise remarkable digital transformation, said the State of India’s Digital Economy (SIDE) report.
The report traces digital transformation thorugh four stages of connect, harness, innovate and protect framework.
The report by ICRIER Prosus Centre for Internet and the Digital Economy (IPCIDE) gives a thumbs up to India’s performance on “innovation” and harnessing the power of digital services. The ‘harness’ pillar measures how India is using the internet to generate growth, create jobs and improve governance.
“Despite being a lower-middle income country compared to its G20 peers, India’s performance is significantly superior on the ‘innovation’ pillar. The next strongest suit is harness, where Indians are adopting digital services at a quick pace,” says the report.
There are mixed results for the connect pillar, found the report.
“The weakest link in India’s digital transition is the fourth pillar, protection against cybercrime and invasion of privacy. This requires urgent attention,” the report pointed out.
It noted that the government is working to address this through legislations such as the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill and new guidelines notified by CERT-In.
India still has a lot of work to do in adequately protecting the digital economy from cyberthreats, according to the report.
Cybercrimes reported by Indian users is the highest among G20 countries, it said, adding that India had the fourth highest number of data breaches in 2022, followed by Russia, the US and France.
“Another worrying trend is the increasing number of attacks in the government sector and state-sponsored attacks. There is increasing sophistication in cybercrime, cyber espionage, compromising organisational networks and data systems,” it said.
Despite massive digitisation, India has made only modest progress in developing cybersecurity rail guards, as per the report.
The report lauded India for doing well on “innovate”.
“India is doing surprisingly well on “innovate”. It currently ranks the highest in contribution to open-source Artificial Intelligence (AI) projects, ahead of developed nations like the US,” it said.
A higher percentage of IT workers in India possess AI skills than in any other G20 country. India has also been steadily pursuing the development and adoption of other emerging technologies like cloud computing, big data analytics, internet of things, augmented, mixed and extended reality.
India has the third highest number of unicorns in the world, having added 14 new unicorns in the first half of 2022.
“To maintain this momentum, India must invest more in enhancing its resource pool and building the technical capacity of its labour force across the range of emerging technologies,” it said.