The Internet and Mobile Association of India, an influential tech industry body, has appointed Dream Sports co-founder and chief executive Harsh Jain as the new chairperson of the association, bucking the tradition of giving the top roles to Big Tech executives after receiving criticism from many Indian startups.
Rajesh Magow, co-founder and group chief executive of MakeMyTrip, will now serve as the vice chairman of IAMAI, whereas Times Internet’s Satyan Gajwani has been appointed as the industry body’s treasurer. Magow steps into the role previously held by Meta’s Shivnath Thukral, while Jain takes over from Google India head Sanjay Gupta.
The appointments, the result of an internal election, come in the wake of numerous top Indian entrepreneurs asserting that the IAMAI had lost credibility due to the positions it adopted on regulations and policies being drafted by New Delhi.
Anupam Mittal of Shaadi.com claimed that IAMAI’s viewpoints, which largely echoed those of Big Tech, indicated that the influential lobby group had become a “mouthpiece” of American tech giants.
The recent strain is the newest indication of a fracture in the relationship between Google, Amazon and other major U.S. corporations, and Indian companies.
Google, Meta, Amazon and Microsoft have poured tens of billions of dollars into India in the past decade. This investment has been aimed at transforming the world’s most populated country into a key international market, particularly as user growth has been decelerating in other parts of the globe.
“The new 24-member Governing Council and the new Executive Council of the IAMAI will take charge from the present councils at the upcoming Annual General Meeting. The IAMAI Governing Council election is held every two years. Eighty-three members of the IAMAI contested the elections this year following the end of the two-year tenure of the previous council,” IAMAI said in a statement Thursday.
The governing council body now includes Mittal, PhonePe’s Sameer Nigam, IndMoney’s Ashish Kashyap, Ixigo’s Aloke Bajpai, as well as execs from startups including Jupiter, MobiKwik and Cred, replacing executives from firms such as Amazon, Mastercard, Microsoft and Netflix.