Parliamentary panel on finance to submit report on competitive laws in digital market

There have been growing concerns on how dominant players have been capturing Indian digital market space using their positions of strength

parliamentary panel on competitive law in digital market

The Standing Committee on Finance headed by BJP MP and former Union minister Jayant Sinha will submit its report to the Parliament in September on how competition laws that regulate competitive conduct should evolve to deal with competitive behavioural issues in digital markets.

Sinha, while speaking to media persons after the committee’s nearly four-hour long meeting with leading digital players like Google and Netflix among others, said that the crux of the discussion was how these players see the Indian digital market and if there’s any aspect of their competitive conduct which should be evaluated in light of the evolving framework.

“A final report by the panel will come in September as inputs have been provided by all players on the matter,” Sinha told reporters.

The committee’s meeting with leading tech players took place at a time when there have been growing concerns on how dominant players have been capturing market space using their positions of strength, especially in the digital space.

Elaborating on the exact focus area of the committee, the BJP MP said that the panel’s focus is on competition laws and competitive conduct like mergers and acquisitions, data usage, bundling and monitoring adjacent market behaviour.

Adjacent markets are those where a player having a dominant position in a particular market segment, uses its advantageous position to dominate a new segment.

The panel is also dealing with competitive conduct issues like pricing and platform neutrality, especially in the Indian digital market, which has its own uniqueness, he added.

The existing competition law in India (which incidentally is also being amended) does not deal with the unique digital market and therefore the panel has been studying issues which are unique to the digital market, the committee chairman informed.

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Based on its several interactions with consumer associations, industry associations, tech companies and regulators, the panel will finalise its report and submit it by next month.

Meanwhile, the panel is also examining the Competition Amendment Bill and Sinha said that a separate report on it would come later.

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