Panel urges govt to finalize digital competition bill | Mint

Panel urges govt to finalize digital competition bill

 (iStockphoto)
(iStockphoto)

Summary

The proposed measures are aimed to check a slew of anti-competitive practices plaguing the digital markets.

NEW DELHI : The parliamentary standing committee on finance, led by Jayant Sinha, on Thursday urged the Union government to finalise the digital competition bill at the earliest to check a slew of anti-competitive practices plaguing the digital markets.

The committee in its report also said the Competition Commission of India (CCI) will need its entire workforce, and vacant positions to be filled, to ensure that the anti-trust regulator fulfils its statutory role.

In December, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance recommended formation of Digital Competition Law, and defining Big Tech companies as Systemically Important Digital Intermediaries (SIDIs) on basis of revenues, market capitalisation and end users.

In a separate report, which was also released on Thursday, the Jayant Sinha-led committee, which is looking at ‘Anti-Competitive Practices by Big Tech companies’ said it needs to be apprised at the earliest about a report being made by The Digital Competition Law Committee (DCLC) on the need for a separate law for competition in digital markets.

The committee urged the DCLC to focus on 10 areas of anti-competitive practices identified by it—anti-steering practices; platform neutrality; bundling and tying; data usage; mergers and acquisitions; deep discounting; exclusive tie-ups; search and ranking; restricting third-party applications; and advertising policies.

It said CCI-established Digital Market and Data Unit (DMDU) should help cross divisional exchange and act as main point for stakeholder engagement on digital market matters.

“The committee urged and highlighted the importance in making DMDU as a robust outfit staffed with skilled experts to help the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to closely monitor and anticipate the movement of SIDIs," the 60th report of parliamentary standing committee on finance said.

The DCLC was formed in February 2023 with a mandate for three months, which has been extended twice, ever since. It is expected to present its stance on the need for regulations for big tech companies.

The debate over the digital competition law comes as companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and others are being investigated globally for allegedly abusing their dominant market positions to collect large amounts of customer data. The CCI fined Google a total of 936.44 crore and 1,337.76 crore, respectively, in two separate cases, during the last 12 months.

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