In the midst of election fervor and the bustling currents of Corporate India, there emerges a discourse that’s setting the business world abuzz: the draft Digital Competition Bill, heralded by the Centre. This legislative proposal, still in its nascent stages following the inter-ministerial committee’s report, stands at the verge of reshaping India’s digital landscape. With the digital economy poised to skyrocket to $1 trillion by 2025-26, the implications of this bill are monumental, aiming to sculpt the future of digital dominance and competition within the Indian market.

This draft isn’t merely a set of regulations; it’s a vision for a balanced digital ecosystem, where the behemoths of Big Tech are held in check, fostering an environment where innovation and smaller players including Startups can thrive. The essence of this proposed legislation is its proactive stance—ex-ante measures—designed to anticipate and mitigate anti-competitive behavior before it unfurls, setting a precedent for a more equitable digital domain.

The draft Digital Competition Bill when enacted into law in current form would lead to introduction of ex-ante measures for regulating Big Tech.

The digital Panel has recommended ex-ante measures to complement the current ex-post framework by identifying large digital enterprises with a ‘significant presence’ in India in selected ‘Core digital services’ and setting pre-determined rules for their conduct.

Put simply, ex-ante measures in competition law refer to proactive regulatory actions taken by authorities to prevent anti-competitive behaviour before it occurs.

These measures are aimed at addressing market structure and dynamics to promote competition and prevent market distortions, rather than reacting to specific instances of anti-competitive conduct after they have already happened.

The report and draft Bill has recently been exposed for stakeholder comments. The last date for submission of views is April 15.

As we look at this significant piece of potential legislation, we’re joined by Dinoo Muthappa, an expert in the field of Competition Law with over 15 years of expertise. In this episode of the BL State of the Economy Podcast, Muthappa takes a look at the intricacies of the draft bill, its comparative stance to the EU’s Digital Markets Act, and the spirited debates it has ignited across the nation regarding the necessity and timing of such a framework in India’s current economic trajectory.

Listen in!

Host: KR Srivats, Producer: Siddharth Mathew Cherian.

About the State of the Economy Podcast

India’s economy has been hailed as a bright spot amid the general gloom that seems to have enveloped the rest of the world. But several sectors continue to stutter even as others seem set to fire on all cylinders. To help you make sense of the bundle of contradictions that the country is, businessline brings you podcasts with experts ranging from finance and marketing to technology and start-ups.