Advancing Regulatory Frontiers: A Detailed Exploration of India’s Draft Digital Competition Bill

Posted On - 29 February, 2024 • By - King Stubb & Kasiva


In an era defined by unprecedented digital innovation and disruption, the imperative for effective regulatory frameworks to govern digital markets has become increasingly paramount. Recognizing the complexities and challenges inherent in this domain, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) in India has undertaken a pioneering initiative with the drafting of the Digital Competition Bill.[1] This article offers an in-depth analysis of the draft Bill, elucidating its genesis, key provisions, regulatory approach, challenges, and potential implications for India’s burgeoning digital ecosystem.

Genesis of the Draft Bill

The genesis of the draft Digital Competition Bill can be traced back to the seminal recommendations articulated by the parliamentary standing committee, chaired by Jayant Sinha, in December 2022. In its comprehensive report, the committee underscored the imperative for a robust regulatory framework to address the nuances and complexities of digital competition. Central to its recommendations was the call for tighter regulations targeting Systemically Important Digital Intermediaries (SIDIs), reflecting growing concerns over market concentration and anti-competitive practices in the digital sphere.

Subsequently, recognizing the urgency and significance of the committee’s recommendations, the MCA initiated the establishment of the Committee for Digital Competition Law (CDCL). Chaired by Manoj Govil, secretary of the corporate affairs ministry, the CDCL comprises a diverse array of stakeholders, including representatives from regulatory bodies, industry experts, and leading law firms. This multi-stakeholder approach underscores the government’s commitment to fostering inclusive and participatory decision-making processes in shaping digital competition regulation.

Committee Composition and Stakeholder Engagement

The Committee for Digital Competition Law (CDCL) has played a pivotal role in guiding the drafting process of the Digital Competition Bill. Through extensive consultations, deliberations, and stakeholder engagements, the committee has sought to integrate diverse perspectives, expertise, and insights into the regulatory discourse. Representatives from regulatory authorities, including the Competition Commission of India, have provided invaluable inputs, ensuring that the regulatory framework remains aligned with broader competition policy objectives.

Additionally, the inclusion of industry representatives and legal experts from prominent law firms has enriched the deliberations, facilitating a nuanced understanding of the legal, economic, and technological intricacies inherent in digital competition regulation. This collaborative approach underscores the government’s commitment to fostering a conducive regulatory environment that balances the imperatives of competition, innovation, and consumer protection.

Key Provisions of the Draft Bill

Central to the draft Digital Competition Bill are the ex-ante regulations aimed at proactively addressing anti-competitive practices and fostering a competitive digital ecosystem. The legislation proposes a comprehensive framework for the identification and regulation of Systemically Important Digital Intermediaries (SIDIs), delineating qualitative and quantitative criteria for their classification. Parameters such as revenue, market capitalization, and user base serve as key determinants in assessing the market power and significance of digital intermediaries.

Moreover, the draft Bill mandates interoperability, data sharing, and portability among digital entities, with a view to promoting competition, innovation, and consumer welfare. By requiring digital platforms to share their application programming interfaces (APIs) and facilitate seamless interoperability, the legislation aims to enhance user choice, promote market contestability, and mitigate the risks of market foreclosure and monopolization.

Ex-Ante Regulations vs. Ex-Post Measures

A distinguishing feature of the draft Digital Competition Bill is its emphasis on ex-ante regulations as proactive measures to pre-emptively address anti-competitive behaviour. Unlike traditional ex-post enforcement mechanisms, which entail remedial actions after the occurrence of harm, ex-ante regulations are designed to anticipate and mitigate potential risks before they materialize. This forward-looking regulatory approach reflects a recognition of the dynamic and rapidly evolving nature of digital markets, necessitating agile and adaptive regulatory responses.

Challenges and Deliberations

Despite the concerted efforts of the CDCL, achieving consensus on the provisions of the draft Bill has proven to be a formidable challenge. The complexity of the regulatory landscape, coupled with the diverse interests and perspectives of stakeholders, has led to prolonged deliberations and multiple extensions of the committee’s term. Key areas of contention include the delineation of qualitative criteria for the classification of SIDIs, the scope of regulatory interventions, and the balance between competition and innovation objectives.

Nevertheless, stakeholders remain committed to fostering constructive dialogue and collaboration in navigating these challenges and shaping effective digital competition regulation. The government’s proactive engagement with stakeholders, coupled with its willingness to solicit feedback and incorporate diverse viewpoints, underscores its commitment to crafting a regulatory framework that is robust, adaptive, and responsive to the evolving dynamics of digital markets.

Implications and Future Outlook

As the MCA finalizes the draft Digital Competition Bill, India stands poised to set a new benchmark in digital competition regulation, positioning itself as a global leader in this critical domain. The enactment of comprehensive and forward-looking legislation is poised to have far-reaching implications for India’s digital economy, fostering a competitive, innovative, and consumer-centric ecosystem. By embracing ex-ante regulations and promoting interoperability, data sharing, and portability, India seeks to foster a dynamic and inclusive digital marketplace that harnesses the transformative potential of technology while safeguarding competition, innovation, and consumer welfare.


The draft Digital Competition Bill represents a seminal milestone in India’s regulatory journey, signalling its commitment to fostering fair competition, innovation, and consumer protection in the digital age. As stakeholders continue to navigate the complexities and challenges of digital competition regulation, collaborative engagement and adaptive policymaking will be essential in realizing the full potential of India’s digital economy. With concerted efforts and strategic foresight, India has the opportunity to chart a new course in digital competition regulation, setting a precedent for other nations and driving sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the digital era.


King Stubb & Kasiva,
Advocates & Attorneys

Click Here to Get in Touch

New Delhi | Mumbai | Bangalore | Chennai | Hyderabad | Mangalore | Pune | Kochi | Kolkata
Tel: +91 11 41032969 | Email: