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Industry consultation : Key policy needs of the Data Center industry

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India has around 400 MW of installed power capacity of Data Centres and as per projections, this is expected grow three times by 2025. In this context, the Government of India is in the process of adopting a Data Centre policy for the country, with a vision to make India a Global Data Centre hub. Many State Governments like Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, etc have announced their intention to adopt a State Level Data Centre Policy and are in various stages of preparation.

NASSCOM organised a meeting with the industry, on 12th October 2021, to discuss the emerging policy issues faced by the sector and to evolve a plan for policy advocacy with the Central and State Governments.

The meeting saw participation from key stakeholders, both Co-location Data Centre developers and Cloud service providers. The key points discussed and the way forward is provided below.

Key points

  1. Many policy needs of the data centre industry requires inter -ministerial coordination at the central govt level & at the State level. Many issues are beyond MeitY /State IT department purview. (Example : Renewable energy, building code).
  2. Data Centers should be considered as a key part of the Digital infrastructure of the country. 
  3. Different rules in different states, is an issue. On concurrent matters, Central govt should provide the way forward.
  4. Policy should consider black swan events and its impact.
  5. Sustainability is a key aspect for consideration. DCs consume lot of power and hence need for enabling use of RE. Water sustainability is another key factor.
  6. A plan for skilling for tasks/role in the Data Centre needs to be adopted
  7. Offset and accounting mechanism for RE be introduced to achieve carbon emission goals.
  8. Fast and time-based regulatory clearance needed.
  9. Public procurement: Local content issue for CSPs needs to resolved. 

Way forward

  1. A 3-year horizon to identify the policy needs of the industry and to develop suitable recommendations to the government.
  2. Higher intensity of engagement with the stakeholders : Engage with relevant departments beyond MeiTY in Central Govt & Key states where DC investment is likely to happen.
  3. In-depth study on the issues faced by the industry in the developed countries, and the emerging trends like containerisation of Data Centres & the decentralised approach, to evaluate policy needs of the future.