MDI launches centre on digital economy, cryptocurrencies, cybersecurity

Gurugram: Management Development Institute (MDI) Gurgaon has launched a new Centre of Excellence on Digital Economy, Cryptocurrencies and Cyber Security (DECCS) aimed at encouraging academic deliberations and promoting research on emerging technology areas.


The Centre aims to examine social, economic, organisational, managerial, and political implications of digital economy. It will act as a think tank on issues related to digital economy, cybersecurity and cryptocurrencies, bringing in an India-specific context and discussion.


“The timing is perfect for setting up DECCS as October is the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month,” Lt Gen (Dr) Rajesh Pant, National Cybersecurity Coordinator in the Prime Minister’s Office, said during the virtual inaugural ceremony of the Centre held October 18.


Speaking on the theme “Challenges for Cyber Security Post Pandemic”, Pant said that the Covid-19 pandemic has turned the security architecture on its head.“The pandemic came as a radical uncertainty,” he said. “It hit us very hard. There was no control and there was no information on the way it was going. The case study of India should be seen around the world as a classic whole of nation approach and the manner in which we invoked our National Disaster Management Authority Act of 2005.”


Pant explained that when the National Disaster Management Act was invoked, people realised that a cybersecurity person has to be there for instant response for the systems to function. It was then that cybersecurity was made a part of the essential services.


He said that cyber criminals are becoming smarter by the day and taking advantage of people’s emotions. He alluded to the fact that 1.24 billion Indians are registered for the Aadhar Card scheme.


At the same time, he said that India has jumped in the Global Cyber Security Index from the 47th position to the 10th. Recalling that the infrastructure for Digital India was created in 2015, he said that now there is an Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre in the Union Home Ministry. He added that the infrastructure that was being created for Digital India from 2015 also “came to our help when we really needed it during the pandemic”.


“Our national networks were in place, the OFC (optical fibre cable) was in place,” he explained. “The MEITY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) had created these large public national platforms based on which we could implement our e-governance. Command centres of Smart Cities were converted into command centres for pandemic (control) including vaccination.”


To tackle cybercrime, Pant said that the Union Home Ministry now has Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre. It became important to protect the critical information infrastructure (CII) in sectors like power, telecom, transportation and finance.


“So, to protect the CII, Industry 4.0 etc., that’s when the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre got into action. That’s where we focused on risk analysis so that our cyber physical systems do not get impacted,” he stated.


Dark web monitoring, he said, became another area of priority as a lot of cryptocurrency transactions take place through the dark web.


“So this is another area where a lot of work needs to be done. Since your centre (DECCS) is going into cryptocurrency, you need to have some sort of expertise in this,” he advised the virtual gathering.


Stating that many small and medium firms do not have funds for cybersecurity, Pant said that “we need everyone to spend 10 per cent of their IT budget on cybersecurity”.


Speaking on the occasion Prof. Rajesh Chakrabarti, Director of MDI Gurgaon, said that the areas of digital economy, cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence are no longer interest areas within management and public policy but “are the areas that drive everything that we do and transform everything that we do at a worryingly accelerating pace”.


“I am confident that DECCS will make significant contributions in the country in management and leadership,” Chakrabarti stated.


V. Srinivas, Director General of the National Centre for Good Governance, said that a centre for digital economy makes a lot of sense at this point of time as “we have seen the highest growth of digital platforms”.


“I think the Centre for Digital economy should look at how a citizen’s journey can be simplified, how fintech can be studied better, what are the innovations that can be brought into fintech,” Srinivas opined.


The key themes and areas of research of the DECCS are digital platforms and new business models, digital transformation of government, emerging technologies for building digital capabilities, cyber laws, ethics, privacy, data protection and cybersecurity.


Prof. Anjali Kaushik, Professor of Information Management at MDI Gurgaon, is the Centre Lead of DECCS. Other members are Prof. Shiv S. Tripathi, Prof. Anupama Prashar, Prof. Prageet Aeron, and Prof. Parul Gupta.