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iamai: IAMAI submits final recommendations to CDCL amid accusations of bias towards Big Tech

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The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has made its final submissions to the committee on digital competition law (CDCL) following an opposition from some of its members who alleged that the industry body was pushing the interests of Big Tech companies over Indian internet companies.

In the final submission, the IAMAI has argued against the prescription of ex-ante regulations, saying that ex ante measures “may limit growth not only of the market in question but the digital economy altogether”. ET has reviewed a copy of the submission.

Notably, the apex industry body has dropped its views against recommendations made by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance in its report on regulating Big Tech.

In a draft submission, IAMAI had flagged the house panel’s recommendation of designating systemically important digital intermediaries (SIDIs), or a small number of players that can negatively influence competitive conduct in the digital ecosystem, saying that it lacked clarity, makes underlying assumptions and has “absence of an evidence-based approach”.

This was opposed by some of its members who said that such suggestions were not in favour of homegrown internet companies. ET had reported this development on April 30.

In the final document, IAMAI has submitted that the suitability of ex-ante provisions in a proposed digital competition law may be assessed after their impact on investment, innovation, business model diversity, and consumer welfare. Ex-ante refers to ‘before the event’.

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“It appears that there is no global consensus among competition law and economics experts as to which ex-ante approach to follow or whether ex-ante regulation is necessary or is the right path to regulate digital platforms,” it noted.The Ministry of Corporate Affairs, on February 6, had constituted the CDCL to examine whether a separate Digital Competition Act in India is required and draft a Digital Competition Act.

On May 2, ET had reported that following a controversy erupting over IAMAI’s members alleging it to be pushing Big Tech interests, the industry body’s president Subho Ray had written to its members that an “overwhelming majority” of the grouping was opposed to a separate competition law for digital companies. IAMAI’s members include companies such as Google, Meta and Microsoft, in addition to Indian tech firms such as Paytm, Ola, PhonePe, Unacademy and Byju’s.

“One of the key features of the proposed new competition law is likely to be ex-ante regulations. This means even before you have become large or dominant, your company would be subject to the new provisions,” Ray had written in the email.

A query sent to Ray requesting his comments went unanswered.

ET had also reported that Indian internet entrepreneurs were up in arms against what they termed as a lack of “credence” in IAMAI, and demanded a change in the leadership of the apex body, which is currently chaired by Google India country head and vice president Sanjay Gupta, with WhatsApp India public policy director Shivnath Thukral being the vice chairman.

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The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has made its final submissions to the committee on digital competition law (CDCL) following an opposition from some of its members who alleged that the industry body was pushing the interests of Big Tech companies over Indian internet companies.

In the final submission, the IAMAI has argued against the prescription of ex-ante regulations, saying that ex ante measures “may limit growth not only of the market in question but the digital economy altogether”. ET has reviewed a copy of the submission.

Notably, the apex industry body has dropped its views against recommendations made by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance in its report on regulating Big Tech.

In a draft submission, IAMAI had flagged the house panel’s recommendation of designating systemically important digital intermediaries (SIDIs), or a small number of players that can negatively influence competitive conduct in the digital ecosystem, saying that it lacked clarity, makes underlying assumptions and has “absence of an evidence-based approach”.

This was opposed by some of its members who said that such suggestions were not in favour of homegrown internet companies. ET had reported this development on April 30.

In the final document, IAMAI has submitted that the suitability of ex-ante provisions in a proposed digital competition law may be assessed after their impact on investment, innovation, business model diversity, and consumer welfare. Ex-ante refers to ‘before the event’.

Discover the stories of your interest


“It appears that there is no global consensus among competition law and economics experts as to which ex-ante approach to follow or whether ex-ante regulation is necessary or is the right path to regulate digital platforms,” it noted.The Ministry of Corporate Affairs, on February 6, had constituted the CDCL to examine whether a separate Digital Competition Act in India is required and draft a Digital Competition Act.

On May 2, ET had reported that following a controversy erupting over IAMAI’s members alleging it to be pushing Big Tech interests, the industry body’s president Subho Ray had written to its members that an “overwhelming majority” of the grouping was opposed to a separate competition law for digital companies. IAMAI’s members include companies such as Google, Meta and Microsoft, in addition to Indian tech firms such as Paytm, Ola, PhonePe, Unacademy and Byju’s.

“One of the key features of the proposed new competition law is likely to be ex-ante regulations. This means even before you have become large or dominant, your company would be subject to the new provisions,” Ray had written in the email.

A query sent to Ray requesting his comments went unanswered.

ET had also reported that Indian internet entrepreneurs were up in arms against what they termed as a lack of “credence” in IAMAI, and demanded a change in the leadership of the apex body, which is currently chaired by Google India country head and vice president Sanjay Gupta, with WhatsApp India public policy director Shivnath Thukral being the vice chairman.

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