On 6th February 2023, the Government of India(GoI) constituted a 16-member inter-ministerial committee to analyse the need for a separate law for competition in the digital market and to draft a digital competition act within three months.
- The inter-ministerial committee is headed by Manoj Govil, Secretary of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs(MCA).
In December 2022, the report on “Anti-Competitive Practices by Big Tech” by the Standing Committee on Finance, headed by Jayant Sinha, Member of Parliament(MP) – Lok Sabha (Constituency- Hazaribagh, Jharkhand) recommended the enactment of the Digital Competition Act to ensure a fair, transparent, and contestable digital ecosystem.
- The committee recommended that India identify the small number of leading players and market winners that can negatively influence competitive conduct in the digital ecosystem as “systemically important digital intermediaries (SIDI)“ and adopt definitions to ex-ante regulate their behaviour.
Members of the committee:
- Sangeeta Verma, Chairperson, Competition Commission of India (CCI);
- Saurabh Srivastava, Chairman, Indian Angel Network and Co-founder, NASSCOM;
- Aditya Bhattacharya, Professor of Economics (retd) from Delhi School of Economics;
- five personnel from leading law firms (Pallavi Shardul Shroff from Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co; Haigreeve Khaitan from Khaitan & co; Anand S Pathak, P&A Law Offices; Harsha Vardhana Singh, IKDHVAJ Advisers LLP and Rahul Rai, Axiom5 Law Chamber).
- Nominees from NITI Aayog(National Institution for Transforming India), Department of Commerce and the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry(MoCI), the Department of Economic Affairs under the Ministry of Finance, the Department of Consumer Affairs under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution., and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
Terms of Reference of the Committee:
i.To review the existing provisions of the Competition Act 2002 and the rules and regulations framed thereunder are sufficient to deal with the challenges that have emerged from the digital economy.
ii.To examine the need for an ex-ante regulatory mechanism for digital markets through separate legislation.
iii.The committee will also study the international practices on regulation in the field of digital markets and other regulatory regimes, institutional mechanisms, and government policies regarding competition in digital markets.
iv.The panel will also study the practices of leading players/ systemically important digital intermediaries (SIDIs) which limit or have the potential to cause harm in digital markets.
About Ministry of Corporate Affairs(MCA):
Union Minister- Nirmala Sitharaman(RajyaSabha- Karnataka)
Minister of State- Rao Inderjit Singh (Constituency- Gurugram, Haryana)