40 start-ups extend support to Digital Competition Bill in a letter to MCA

In a letter written to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) on Thursday, 40 Indian start-ups have come out in support of the draft Digital Competition Bill which proposes ex-ante regulations to curb anti-competitive practices of Big Tech companies.

The start-ups, which include prominent names like Matrimony.com, TrulyMadly, Innov8, QuackQuack, Magicbricks, Hoichoi, and Medibuddy, have written to the MCA saying that the bill is a step in the right direction and will address long-standing concerns of Indian start-ups to rein in practices which stifle innovation, limit consumer choice, and hinder the growth of young businesses.

The companies have also urged the government to move forward with the Bill at the earliest and not give in to the delay tactics of the big tech companies.

Reportedly, several key stakeholders who would get affected by the draft Digital Competition Bill had asked for an extension of two to six months for providing their comments on it, saying that the 15 May deadline was “too tight”.

In the letter, the start-ups have also requested an upward revision of the thresholds for designating Systematically Significant Digital Enterprises (SSDEs).

“The bill should only target the real gatekeepers of the internet – firms that have long enjoyed dominant positions, accumulating extensive resources, and influence to shape the rules of the digital ecosystem,” read the letter.

“By narrowly targeting the new law, the government can rein in monopolistic practices while making sure that Indian start-ups have the space to grow within India and beyond Indian borders, to compete globally,” it further added.

In March this year, the Committee on Digital Competition Law (CDCL) published its report outlining the challenges associated with anti-competitive practices of digital enterprises such as anti-steering, self-preferencing, tying, and bundling in the digital markets in India.

The committee had proposed a Digital Competition Bill in the report, providing for ex-ante regulations to curb these anti-competitive practices.

The report was open for public consultation and the last date for submission of comments was 15 May 2024.

First Published: May 16 2024 | 9:45 PM IST

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