Tech giant Google has hired former NITI Aayog joint secretary Archana Gulati as its new public policy head in India.
The development was reported by news agency Reuters citing a source with direct knowledge of the matter. The hiring decision is yet to be made public and is expected to be announced soon.
Gulati is a retired civil service bureaucrat who has served in a slew of senior positions in the Government of India, including as adviser to the telecom secretary. Her stint as a joint secretary in the digital communications wing of the NITI Aayog lasted from August 2019 to April 2021. Prior to that, she also served in various capacities in the Department of Telecommunications and the Competition Commission of India.
The development comes at a time when a lot of big tech companies have been hiring former Indian bureaucrats to deal with increased scrutiny from the central government. In September last year, Facebook hired retired IAS officer Rajiv Aggaarwal as the director of public policy in India. In 2019, another ex-bureaucrat Anand Jha joined Walmart as its India public policy officer.
With experience in India’s public policy and deep contacts, these new hires enable the big tech firms to quickly cut through the clutter of red tape and formulate strategies accordingly.
Tech companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter have been under the government’s lens for a slew of reasons, including local data storage norms, new IT Rules, and alleged anti-competitive behaviour.
Last week, a Parliamentary panel led by BJP MP Jayant Sinha said that it would summon big tech companies to examine their competitive conduct. All major big tech players such as Google, Meta, Twitter, Apple, Flipkart, Amazon, and Microsoft are likely to be called to depose before the panel.
These platforms have also been under fire from the government over a variety of issues. In February this year, government officials reportedly pulled up Google, Twitter and Facebook executives for not proactively removing ‘fake news’ from their platforms. Immediately after that, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ashwini Vaishnaw called for holding social media platforms accountable for women’s safety.
With more than 800 Mn internet users at the end of Q4 FY21 and equally huge social media-savvy users, India is a huge market for big tech firms. These companies continue to ramp up their investments in India to grab a pie of the evolving and increasing market for such products.
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Tech giant Google has hired former NITI Aayog joint secretary Archana Gulati as its new public policy head in India. … News, Google India, NITI AayogInc42 Media