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Government has prepared first draft of India’s Digital Competition Bill: Report

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has prepared the first draft of the Digital Competition Bill and has circulated it among the members of the Committee for Digital Competition Law (CDCL).

What's the news: The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has prepared the first draft of the Digital Competition Bill and has circulated it among the members of the Committee for Digital Competition Law (CDCL), Business Standard reported on February 11. What do we know: The Committee for Digital Competition Law (CDCL) was set up by the government in February 2023 to examine the need for a separate law for competition in digital markets and submit a report on the same. In July 2023, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, which had first called for the Digital Competition Act in December 2022, reiterated its recommendation and urged the government to finalize the Digital Competition Bill soon. Based on the brief given to CDCL and the recommendations made by the parliamentary committee, the Digital Competition Bill is expected to prescribe ex-ante regulations for certain large tech platforms, designated as Systemically Important Digital Intermediaries (SIDIs), requiring these platforms to open up their ecosystems to competition. Ex-ante regulation refers to rules that look at preemptively preventing large platforms from engaging in certain types of conduct that could result in reducing competition, as opposed to (the current model of) ex-post regulations under the Competition Act, 2002, which go after companies by investigating allegations of misconduct after they have occurred. The EU's Digital Markets Act is an example of an ex-ante law and a good yardstick on what to expect from India's bill. What we do not know: The CDCL reportedly concluded stakeholder discussions in March last…

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