Lok Sabha member and Standing committee on finance chairman Jayant Sinha on Tuesday said that an inter-ministerial committee on the Digital Competition Bill will ensure that there is no overlap of the government’s three upcoming regulations — Digital Competition Bill, Personal Data Protection Bill, and the Digital India Bill.
The comments from the chairman of the parliamentary committee assume significance as there were concerns regarding interference of the three bills that aim at regulating the Big Tech companies, intermediaries, check competition, and the personal data protection.
“These are three non-overlapping domains. Data protection and data privacy is one domain, content and content regulation is another domain, and competition is a third domain. Each one of them is dealing with the different set of issues associated with the digital ecosystem, and all three are required. Sinha said on the sidelines of the International Conference on Competition and Big Tech organised by BRICS Competition Centre, CIRC, and CUTS.
Recently, minister of state for electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar also indicated looking at anti-competitive practices of Big Tech companies under the Digital India Bill. During the consultation of Digital India Bill, Chandrasekhar asked whether the competition issue should be part of the Digital India Bill or not.
The digital competition committee is an inter-ministerial committee. It includes the corporate affairs ministry and MeitY (ministry of electronics and information technology), they will take into account all of these issues, which we as a standing committee cannot do, Sinha said.
They (the committee) will then decide exactly how the legislation has to be crafted taking into account all these different pieces of lawmaking, whether it is the Digital India bill or whether it’s a Digital Competition bill, Sinha added.
Technology experts and lawyers have expressed concerns as to how the Digital India bill will avoid overlaps and over regulations, and asked for more clarity on the same.
The Digital India bill will focus on openness of internet, safety, trust, and accountability as basic principles in detail, whereas the data protection bill lays rights and duties of the citizen and obligations for data fiduciaries to use collected data lawfully.
Through the Digital Competition bill, the government aims to curb the anti-competitive practices by big tech companies through a certain set of measures.