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Experts propose revising Digital Competition Bill due to overlaps

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In Short:

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology discussed the digital competition bill for the second day, highlighting concerns about foreign regulation approaches like the “ex-ante law” impacting startups and funding. Think tanks flagged overlaps with existing laws and the need for more consultation on the draft. The IT ministry held meetings with industry bodies and think tanks to address issues with the bill proposed by the committee on digital competition law.

Government Deliberates on Digital Competition Bill

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology continued discussions on the digital competition bill for the second day, with participants raising concerns about the potential impact of foreign regulations like the “ex-ante law.” They emphasized that such regulations could harm value and access to digital public goods and infrastructure.

“We highlighted the impact on startups and their funding, pointing out overlaps with existing laws such as the Information Technology Act of 2000 and the Information Technology Rules of 2021. More consultations are needed, and the current draft requires a reevaluation,” said a think-tank executive who participated in the meeting.

The meeting, chaired by IT Secretary S Krishnan, included representatives from organizations like The Dialogue, the Centre for Competition and Law, Eysa Centre, and Chase India.

Some think tanks expressed concerns that the current draft of the digital competition bill mirrors the EU’s Digital Markets Act, which could hinder the growth of Indian startup unicorns if implemented unchanged, according to a senior government official.

The IT ministry has been engaging with various stakeholders, including industry bodies and executives, to gather feedback on the draft bill. In March, the Committee on Digital Competition Law proposed new regulations to address unfair competition and the influence of big tech in the digital sector.

Stakeholders were initially given until April 15 to submit their views on the draft, with the deadline later extended to May 15.

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