India’s Platform Economy and Emerging Regulatory Challenges

The platform economy has undoubtedly become an engine for growth and development in India. Apart from the immediate benefits of such efficiency, platformisation creates a wide range of business opportunities. India’s potential to deepen platformisation makes it opportune to systematically analyse its role in economic growth and job creation. However, the benefits of platformisation must also be viewed alongside the concerns it raises on the disruption of traditional businesses and the likelihood of anti-competitive behaviour. Two-sided platforms are often seen to violate principles of marginal pricing, when they set zero cost or even pay users to enter platforms in an attempt to trigger network effects. The study aims to conduct an extensive survey across the country to understand the effects of digital platforms on consumer welfare as part of a larger attempt to understand the effects of platformisation on the Indian economy. The consumer survey will be supplemented by secondary data and estimates that will describe the performance of various digital platforms and its contribution to the growth of the Indian economy, using publicly available data on company financial records, measures of digital economy share of GDP, etc. The study will develop extensive case studies based on fieldwork and available secondary data sources to understand the economic and regulatory challenges raised by disruptive digital platforms. 47 Furthermore, a secondary comparative analysis of the nature and capacity of global regulatory regimes and best practices will be undertaken to assess India’s regulatory capacity and infer potential measures that regulatory agencies in India can take to match the challenges raised by digital platforms.