An industry association that represents many of the world’s largest technology companies has slammed a proposal for a digital competition law in India as “absolutist and regressive in nature”.
The Asia Internet Coalition, that has Meta (banned and designated as extremist in Russia), Amazon, Twitter, Google and other Big Tech companies as its members, has raised questions on the digital competition law recommended by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, that "may dampen digital innovation in India".
In a statement, the Coalition urged the Indian government to conduct wider stakeholder consultations to ensure that any new legislative proposals meet international best practices, are evidence-based, and are for the purpose of benefiting innovation, growth, and consumers.
Otherwise, transplanting legislative reforms designed for a foreign jurisdiction with high digital penetration into India, “could lead to disproportionate costs to consumers in India and an impact on innovation and investment by businesses in India -- especially at a time when the government is rightly focusing on bringing connectivity to all under the Digital India initiative," said the Coalition.
Last month, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance recommended that the Centre should formulate a digital competition act to regulate anti-competitive practices by Big Tech companies.
The Coalition said the report put forward by the Committee is "prescriptive, absolutist and regressive in nature".
The Indian government has recently proposed two significant bills -- the revised Digital Personal Data Protection Bill and the Competition Amendment Bill (CAB), both of which seek to protect consumers, preserve competition and promote tech innovation, with a special focus on digital markets.
The Coalition said that it is critical to first understand the "effects of these two bills on the digital ecosystem before introducing any new legislative proposals".
The Asia Internet Coalition (AIC) was established in 2010 as an industry association that promotes the understanding and resolution of Internet policy issues in the Asia Pacific region.