Corporate Nationalism in India – UPSC GS3

Evidences of rising corporate nationalism in India
  • Build wrong narratives about foreign companies:
    • Foreign identity is used to build a narrative that doesn’t necessarily pertain to legal issue at hand.
    • E.g. Future Retail accusing Amazon of behaving like “the East India Company of the 21st century” and calling it “Big Brother in America.”
  • Create tussles for foreign companies: g. WhatsApp Pay is facing tussles despite the National Payments Corporation of India’s approval of WhatsApp’s data localisation practices.
  • Accusing foreign companies: Indian apps accuse foreign app-stores being acting like “gatekeeper”
    • E.g. The founder of Paytm has called Google a “money collecting and money siphoning” machinery.
  • Evoking sentiments of exploitation: Frequent references to Google as the East India Company.
  • Restrictions on Chinese companies.
  • Government Initiatives: Atmanirbhar Bharat and Make in India to encourage economic self-reliance and promote domestic businesses.
Problems associated with the increased corporate nationalism
  • Hypocritical stand of Indian corporates:  Foreign investors hold majority stakes in most of the “Indian” startups which make impassioned complaints of losing market share to foreign companies.
  • Alters legal jurisprudence: 
    • By placing the foreign identity of a party at centre of regulatory assessments, ultimately subverting the objective of commercial laws.
    • Indian entities in violation of laws escape enforcement because of their status as “domestic champions”.
  • Increases the risk associated with doing business in India.
  • Ignores the real problem: The focus now is on the “foreign-ness” of foreign companies rather than on their conduct.
  • Exploitation of citizens by domestic corporate giants.
Conclusion: Regulators and courts must consciously separate legally relevant submissions from nationalistic rhetoric and stay true to the statutorily mandated objectives of their respective regimes.
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