With the Competition Commission of India (CCI) investigating a number of global tech giants for alleged anti-competitive practices, a key parliamentary panel decided on Thursday to summon representatives from Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, and other companies to examine their competitive behaviour.
The panel’s next meeting is expected to take place on May 12.
Following a presentation by the CCI, members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance addressed the matter in depth. The CCI informed the panel that the regulator was forming a ‘Digital Markets and Data Unit’ to properly deal with big tech companies’ anti-competitive actions, as well as introducing a new Bill to alter the CCI Act.
The regulator also mentioned a number of investigations it is conducting into the digital space, including those into Google, Facebook-WhatsApp, Apple, Amazon, Flipkart, MakeMyTrip-Goibibo, Swiggy, and Zomato.
The discussion takes place against a backdrop of growing concern in India, about alleged actions by big tech giants and technology platforms that could harm market competition. Similar issues have been raised in the West also targeting such companies.
As reported, the panel’s Chairman, Jayant Sinha, said that the officials from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, and the CCI have discussed it during the meeting.
“In our next hearing [on this issue], we will be calling most of the major tech companies to hear their perspective and how competition law in India is evolving to address the needs and challenges associated with digital space,” he told PTI.
Additionally, Sinha added that the panel will invite all of the main firms, including Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Microsoft, and others.
According to him, the panel would discuss these companies’ competitive strategies and the existing competition law.
While highlighting the fact that the CCI Act was first enacted in 2002 and last updated in 2007, Sinha stated that “the competition law is evolving across the world to meet the challenges associated with the digital markets".
The CCI informed the panel that a bill to alter the Act is in the works, with provisions expected to be introduced to address digital giants’ anti-competitive actions.
The regulator stated in its presentation that it was expanding its institutional capacity, recalibrating the competition law regime, monitoring technological advancements in digital marketplaces and analysing worldwide developments in big tech.
However, in this case, Sinha explained that with the rise of digital markets and the significance of the digital economy for India’s economic growth and global position, it is critical to examine our competition law to see if it is comparable to that of advanced jurisdictions such as the European Union, the US, Australia, and the UK.