Indian digital entrepreneurs on Thursday took full control of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) with Big Tech firms like Google, Meta, Amazon and Microsoft not finding a place in the new 24-member governing council for 2023-25, following the recently held elections for new office bearers.
This development, according to industry sources, would mark a major shift in the running of the association as Big Tech firms Meta and Google had a big say so far.
In the run-up to the elections, the domestic digital players were bitterly opposed to the policy stance being adopted by the Big Tech firms on issues like digital competition policy and ex-ante regulations for digital firms.
The domestic players had alleged that IAMAI was toeing the line of Big Tech firms who were opposed to these measures and the association was acting like their rubber stamp.
Analysts maintain, however, this development does not mean that they will lose their influence in policy matters as they have presence in other associations like US-India Chamber of Commerce and US India Business Council.
Further, IAMAI may find it difficult to have a unified voice on several policy matters without the consent of Big Tech firms. It is quite likely that the government will start engaging with more than one association on digital matters if IAMAI fails to present a united front.
A total of 83 members had contested the elections, which is held every two years.
Harsh Jain, co-founder and CEO of Dream Sports, has been elected the chairperson of the industry body, replacing Sanjay Gupta, vice president and country manager, Google India. Rajesh Magow, co-founder and group CEO, MakeMyTrip, and Satyan Ganjwani, vice chairman, Times Internet, have been elected vice chairman and treasurer of IAMAI. They replace Meta’s public policy director Shivnath Thukral and Razorpay co-founder Harshil Mathur. Jain, Magow and Ganjwani along with IAMAI president Subho Ray will form the association’s executive council.
The new council will take charge at the upcoming annual general meeting next month.
Google’s Gupta did not contest the elections this time. But Google Cloud India MD Bikram Bedi had contested in Gupta’s place. However, Meta’s Thukral had once again ran for the membership of the council, but did not make it.
The new governing council comprises PhonePe’s Sameer Nigam, Infibeam Avenues’ Vishwas Patel, Shaadi.com’s Anupam Mittal, Indian Express’ Anant Goenka, IndMoney’s Ashish Kashyap, Ixigo’s Aloke Bajpai, Nazara Technologies’ Nitish Mittersain, Innov8 founder, Ritesh Malik, MapmyIndia’s Rohan Verma and Matrimony.com’s Murugavel Janakiraman. It also has representation from companies such as Billdesk, Indifi, Info Edge, India Mart, Cred, Jupiter, Paytm, Hungama, Paisabazaar, Mobikwik and Razorpay.