Industry stakeholders, including Big Tech, are set to voice their ‘serious concerns’ on the Draft Digital Competition Bill (DCB) at a MeitY convened meeting here on Tuesday.

This meeting, which was earlier scheduled for June 13 but postponed at the last minute, is expected to be chaired by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) Secretary, sources said.

This meeting assumes significance as Big Tech are opposed to introduction of any ex-ante framework under DCB as it could have potential negative effect on innovation and investments. However start-up community largely is in favour of DCB as it will create a level playing field for them in the digital ecosystem.

CCI representation

Besides industry associations such as IAMAI, ICEA, ADIF and DNPA, Tuesday’s meeting is also expected to be attended by Competition Commission of India (CCI) Chairperson Ravneet Kaur and top MCA official among others, sources added.

Mostly those industry associations and representatives that had expressed their concerns about the DCB have been invited for Tuesday’s meeting, it is learnt.

Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), which was the nodal ministry driving the deliberations on DCB and had set up a 16-member Committee on Digital Competition Law (CDCL), had fixed May 15 as the last date for receiving comments on the report of CDCL and the draft Bill prepared by this committee.

DCB has proposed an ex-ante law for digital markets to regulate enterprises that have a significant presence in India. The ex ante measures in form of DCB was intended to complement the ex-post framework under the Competition Act 2002.

Mixed views

The MCA is understood to have received mixed views on the CDCL and draft DCB from players in the digital sector. 

India’s digital economy is expected to touch $1 trillion mark by 2027-28, according to Government estimates. 

Indications are that the Centre will not look to introduce DCB in the upcoming Parliament session. 

Already, a US lobby group representing tech giants such as Google, Amazon, and Apple has urged India to reconsider its EU-like ex-ante approach focussed digital competition law.

The US-India Business Council, part of the US Chamber of Commerce, had reportedly written to MCA expressing concerns over the DCB.