New Delhi– ‘Swiping Right on Tech Policy: An Assessment of Young Indias Aspirations’ is Observer Research Foundations inaugural technology policy survey, which attempts to assess the Indian youths understanding of the role of technology in their lives.

By 2025, the number of internet users in India is expected to reach 900 million. The majority of internet users in India, at present, are between 20 and 29 years of age. How they engage with technology will be key in shaping domestic policy discussions. Even so, this demographic remains largely understudied.

This survey by Observer Research Foundation was conducted to meet three objectives: Measure young India’s awareness of issues pertaining to technology policy; identify their concerns; and gauge their opinions on future policy options in this space.

India’s youth demonstrate a strong interest in safeguarding their individual privacy. As many as 88 per cent of the respondents believe that they should be able to determine how their data could be shared and used by the government, and by social media intermediaries.

Even with this emphasis on individual privacy, extensive support was shown towards sharing personal data to support government schemes and public welfare mechanisms, such as providing ration or cash to the poor, reducing road accidents, and maintaining robust healthcare services.

The study found India’s youth to be highly responsive towards government policies that could make the domestic technology industry more competitive and promote manufacturing capabilities within the country. Over 80 per cent of the youth surveyed supported the proposal of technology protectionist measures.

Over 85 per cent of the respondents supported government investments in mobile towers, uninterrupted supply of critical mineral resources, development of indigenous computer or mobile chips, open data regimes for enabling AI innovation, and development of indigenous social media platform alternatives or encrypted messaging platforms.

The government, young India suggests, must address the need for data literacy and cyber hygiene programmes, utilising greater involvement from different stakeholders and providing greater attention to women, unemployed youth and other marginalised sections of society.

India must also continue to engage in bilateral and multilateral partnerships that help mitigate the risks posed by higher-tech innovations, such as artificial intelligence (AI). These collaborations must also develop safeguards against threats of foreign interference in domestic elections, and targeted campaigns on critical public infrastructure.

The report found today’s youth to be largely positive towards tech and assertive in their digital boundaries. Their proactivity towards safeguarding values of individual privacy, is bolstered by the understanding and willingness to support national interests and security, share their data if required to aid economic well-being and public governance. (IANS)