Draft Digital Competition bill

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May 16, 2024

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India proposes a new law to prevent anti-competitive practices by tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Amazon.

What are the key proposals of draft digital competition bill?

  • Aim- To curb market dominance by tech companies and prevent anti-competitive practices before they occur, drawing inspiration from European Union’s Digital Market Act.
  • Predictive regulation- The bill introduces a forward-looking, preventive, and presumptive law (an ex ante framework) to foresee potential harms that can arise from antitrust issues and prescribes pre-determined no-go areas.
  • Associate Digital Enterprises (ADEs)- The bill aims to regulate not just the primary tech giants but also their associated companies within a conglomerate.
  • Criteria for ADE designation- If a subsidiary or related entity benefits from data collected by a core service of the conglomerate, it could be designated as an ADE.
  • Obligation-Once designated, ADEs would be subjected to the same regulatory obligations as SSDEs.
    • Example: Google Maps could be designated as an ADE if it benefits from data gathered by Google Search.
  • Systematically Significant Digital Enterprise (SSDE)-  The bill proposed that the Competition Commission of India (CCI) should designate companies as SSDE based on various quantitative and qualitative parameters.

Criteria for SSDEs

Key aspects



A company must have a turnover in India of at least Rs 4,000 crore or a global turnover of 30 billion dollars in the last three financial years.

Global market capitalization

It should be at least 75 billion dollars.

User base

It should be at least 1 crore end users or 10,000 business users for their core digital services.

Prohibited activities for SSDEs

Self preferencing

Giving their own services preferential treatment over those of competitors


Preventing or discouraging users from using or switching to competing services

Restricted third party applications

Limiting the ability of third-party applications to interact with their platform

  • Penalty- If the provisions are violated it could result in fines of up to 10% of the company’s global turnover.

Competition Commission of India would designate the firms as SSDE and ADE

What are the concerns raised by tech companies regarding the bill?

  • Compliance burdens- The ex ante requirements might impose significant compliance burdens, diverting resources from innovation and research to regulatory compliance.
  • Operational efficiency- Industry executives are worried about the operational impact of such regulations.
  • Concerns with EU’s Digital Markets Act- It has led to a significant increase in the time required for basic operations, such as finding information via Google search.
  • Arbitrary definitions- There is concern over the broad definitions of significant platforms and the discretionary power given to the Competition Commission of India (CCI) in designating SSDEs and ADEs.
  • Impact on startups- Critics fear this could lead to arbitrary decision-making and potentially impact startups.
  • Impact global competitiveness- As firms navigate complex regulatory landscapes, they might struggle to compete with counterparts in regions with more flexible regulatory frameworks.
  • Regulatory uncertainty- Companies may be unsure about their status and obligations under the new law, leading to hesitancy in business expansion and investment.
  • Impact on venture investments- Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) argues that the ex ate regulatory framework proposed by the bill could deter venture investments in tech startups.
  • Impact scalability- IAMAI argues that the stringent thresholds and pre-emptive regulations might limit the scalability of businesses, as these rules could act as a ceiling on growth potential.

What is the stand of the government?

  • Historical anti-competitive practices- Government argue that tech giants have a history of engaging in anti-competitive practices.
  • Fine on Google- The fine imposed on Google (Rupees 1.337 crore) by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for its anti-competitive behavior in the android ecosystem serve as evidence of ongoing issues.
  • Foster digital competition- Innovation is largely confined to a few major tech companies, primarily from the US.
  • High market barriers- It is created by dominant players which make it difficult for new entrants to challenge their supremacy.



  1. Indian Express- Big tech opposed draft digital competition bill
  2. MCA- Report of the committee on digital competition law
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