Digital Competition Act: Big Tech cos set out to present views to MCA appointed panel

Big tech companies like Google, Meta and Amazon made lengthy presentations on how the proposed digital competition law should be shaped before the MCA-appointed Digital Competition Law Committee on Saturday.

This is the first time big tech firms have submitted their papers after the February 6 inauguration of the panel to examine the need for an ex ante framework in the country, international practices on the issue and the existing legal framework. She was mandated to submit a report by May 2023 and also to present a draft of the digital competition law.

Flipkart, Zomato, Uber and the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) were among the others submitting entries to the judges on Saturday, sources said.

Do not agree

By and large, the big tech players are not in favor of the government putting ex-ante measures in the code, but the start-ups (their own) are keen for the ex-ante framework to be put in place, to protect the interests of domestic start-ups. ecosystem up.

Meanwhile, ahead of Saturday’s crucial meeting, the Corporate Affairs Ministry’s (MCA)-appointed digital competition law panel acceded to calls from news publishers and startups, including them as “special invitees” to the panel’s deliberations.

Representatives from Big Tech like Google, Meta and Amazon made their presentations/contributions as “special invitees” for the panel.

Both the Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA), an organization representing digital news publishers, and the Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF), a think tank of digital start-ups, attended Saturday’s meeting as “special invitees”. said sources familiar with the developments.

It is recalled that both DNPA and ADIF have campaigned for their inclusion on the MCA-appointed panel, which currently appears unbalanced due to a dominant presence of law firm representatives, many of whom currently represent Big Tech before NCLAT. In fact, the MCA had recently added two other law firms (representing Google in cases before NCLAT) to the panel as guests, drawing the wrath of digital news startups and publishers who were left out.

With the inclusion of DNPA and ADIF as “special invitees,” there is now some leveling of the field, sources added. The government expects the country’s digital economy to reach $1 trillion by 2025-26 as part of the vision for Digital India.

The MCA set up a 10-member inter-ministerial committee on February 6 to consider the need for a separate competition law in digital markets. Among other things, the committee was tasked with preparing a draft law on digital competition.

reference conditions

The panel’s mandate includes a review of whether the existing provisions of the Competition Act 2002 and the rules and regulations contained therein are sufficient to address the challenges posed by the digital economy and assess the need for ex-ante regulation Mechanism for digital markets through separate legislation.

The Standing Committee on Finance had proposed an ex-ante framework to regulate “essential digital intermediaries” (SIDIs) under a new law on digital competition in its 53rd report entitled “Anti-competitive practices of large technology companies”.

This heralds a new era of ex-ante frameworks designed to only cover SIDIs in digital markets and marks a significant exit from the existing sector-agnostic framework covering all market participants, competition law experts said.

It is crucial to analyze the goals that policymakers seek to achieve through the introduction of ex ante regulations, the challenges that these frameworks and international guidance on the issue may pose. In addition, there is a need to discuss the impact of these frameworks on the start-up economy, facilitating competition at downstream levels, encouraging innovation and ensuring consumer interests are protected, they said.

Meanwhile, a round table discussion on the future of competition policy in digital markets, hosted by public policy think tank The Dialogue, highlighted the importance of striking a balance between regulating anti-competitive behavior in digital markets and preventing over-regulation and harm to innovation and consumer interests highlighted.

The roundtable discussions, moderated by the Chair of the OECD Competition Committee, Frederic Jenny, stressed that any potential issues related to the forthcoming Digital Competition Act should be analyzed in the context of the impact the regulations will have on key stakeholders , such as ups, consumers and investors through comprehensive advice.

The Indian economy has been able to attract investment and maintain its position as one of the most promising economies. The growing importance of competition law in the growth of India’s economy and political landscape is at an inflection point, with increasing emphasis on the law’s role in regulating India’s business and technology ecosystem. Digital Competition Act: Big Tech cos set out to present views to MCA appointed panel

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