Data Centres (DCs) have emerged as the key infrastructure for amassing and processing the lifeblood of the globalised digital economy—data. So far, the digital economy has been studied in terms of information technology labour, regimes of privacy or data protection, and the implications of living in an increasingly connected world.
Data Centres as Infrastructure goes beyond technical/business-oriented accounts of DCs and views them as both an object and a principle of governance in India, one of the world's most prominent rising markets for DCs. The authors understand DCs not just as technical infrastructure, but as political institutions that make and exercise new forms of power while negotiating state and capital in the postcolonial nation.
Taking a historical and sociological approach to DCs, this volume explores actual social contexts of policy-making and practice in relation to problems of digitalisation that inflect the way in which lives, commerce, and governance are shaped in India. Through case studies, the authors examine a ‘captive’ Data Centre deployed by the state-owned electricity discom— WBSEDCL, to highlight a specific techno-political issue—the theft of power and the ‘(un)management’ of its loss. The volume also examines the production of a new form of territoriality, economy, and polity in the Navi Mumbai area, known for being home to several large DCs. The Introduction highlights some of these concerns through a discussion of how the Indian state yields space to norms of corporatised governance while also enrolling new kinds of data-fied subjects through the Aadhaar project, demonetisation, and ‘data localisation’.
This novel contribution will interest scholars and policy professionals concerned about the social and political impact of the digital economy in India.
Manish K Jha is Professor of Community Organisation and Development Practice in the School of Social Work at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai.
Ritam Sengupta is Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO) in Berlin, Germany.
List of Images
The State in/of Data Centres in India
Ritam Sengupta and Manish K Jha
I. Data Centres between North–South and East–West
II. Infrastructuring Data Economy
Data Centres in Historical Context
III. Between Control and ‘Feedback’
Narrating the Digitised Operations of a ‘Captive’
Electricity Data Centre in West Bengal, India
IV. Transforming Urban Form and Emergent
Data Centres in Navi Mumbai
Manish K Jha and Rishi Jha
Make in India: Conducive Policy & Regulatory
Environment to Incentivize Data Center Infrastructure,
IAMAI, May 2016
Notes on the Contributors