According to the State of India’s Digital Economy (SIDE) report, India fares well on parameters 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. The report emphasised that without an exclusive cybersecurity law, the citizens have to rely on anachronistic and sectoral regulations, making ‘protect’ the weakest link in India’s otherwise remarkable digital transformation.

The report traces digital transformation through 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.

That said, the report noted that the government is working to address this through legislations such as the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill and new guidelines notified by Computer Emergency Response Team – India (CERT-In). As per the report, cybercrimes reported by Indian users is the highest among G20 countries, adding that India had the fourth highest number of data breaches in 2022, followed by Russia, the USA and France.

Despite massive digitisation, India has made only modest progress in developing cybersecurity rail guards. The report lauded India for doing well on ‘innovate’ parameter. The country currently ranks the highest in contribution to open-source artificial intelligence (AI) projects, ahead of developed nations like the USA. Besides, India has also been steadily pursuing the development and adoption of other emerging technologies like cloud computing, big data analytics, internet of things (IoT), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR) and extended reality (XR).