Infosys co-founder and former UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani today swore by big data, saying it will address issues of economic growth and jobs and help small businesses avail of loans that have eluded them so far.”The fact that we are talking about using big data is not just some technical mumbo-jumbo, it is actually creating a cycle of investment and growth for India’s small businesses, which will lead to economic growth and jobs,” he told reporters at an event organized by CII here.Big data refers to huge complex number sets that are not easily dealt with by traditional processing application software. It faces challenges like capturing data, storage and data analysis. Nilekani was asked to assess the state of the Indian economy, especially in terms of jobs and overall economic growth, as the country is close to celebrating its 70th Independence.
“With companies becoming data rich due to the availability of digital footprints through GST, some eight million small businesses in GST will start getting loans. When they start getting loans, they will grow and when they grow, it will create jobs,” he added.Small businesses were not getting loans due to lack of business data on performance, Nilekani reasoned.On NPAs, he said the Reserve Bank of India is doing its best to address the issue under RBI Governor Urjit Patel.To another query, Nilekani said it is a necessity to put in place privacy infrastructure to secure big data as more and more people are using it through mobile phones.
On the issue of having a regulator for data security, Nilekani said India is waiting for the report of the Data Protection Committee headed by former Supreme Court judge B N Srikrishna, which is looking into issues of data security, privacy, and sovereignty.He, however, is not sure what type of regulator India would have — horizontal or category or sector-wise.”We are not sure whether we need a general or category regulatory. For example, in some sense, the RBI regulates data in the banking world. Tomorrow, you will have a health regulator. It is not clear whether we will have one horizontal regulator or will it be sector wise,” he added.