India must follow ex-ante framework for regulating digital markets: CCI Chief

CCI chairman Ashok Kumar Gupta said the regulator has been pragmatic in imposing and quantifying fines.

It is necessary to carefully consider the feasibility of an ex-ante framework for effective regulation of digital markets: Gupta

Through an ex-ante framework, regulators tell stakeholders the actions and responses to take, even before a problem arises

Competition Commission of India (CCI) Chairman Ashok Kumar Gupta said on Tuesday (Oct. 25) that the regulator has been pragmatic in imposing and quantifying sanctions, as enforcement actions are not separate from business and economic realities. .

Gupta, who has been at the helm of the CCI for nearly four years, said India should consider the feasibility of an ex-ante framework for effectively regulating digital markets, PTI news agency reported.

Ex ante regulations are aimed at identifying problems in the market in advance. Through this framework, regulators tell stakeholders about the actions and responses to take, even before a problem has arisen.

It is pertinent to note that in the recent past CCI has been extremely vigilant about the major engineers and their operations in India. Earlier today, the competition authority fined Google INR 936 Cr in an antitrust investigation after it fined INR 1,337 Cr last week. Google has been accused of abusing its dominant position regarding its Play Store policies.

Last week, CCI also imposed a total fine of INR 392 Cr on MakeMyTrip, Goibibo and OYO for their alleged unfair trade practices.

“We, at CCI, are currently addressing competition concerns in digital markets through our antitrust enforcement actions, which are essentially ex-post,” Gupta said.

“However, the need and rationale for ex-ante regulation to complement CCI’s efforts cannot be overemphasized given the experience gained and the difficulties CCI faces in achieving timely market correction in digital markets,” Gupta added. ready.

Gupta also emphasized the need for careful consideration of the feasibility of an ex-ante framework for effective regulation of digital markets, complementing CCI’s ex-post enforcement actions. He even noted that the regulator is at a very critical juncture in the evolution of competition law jurisprudence in the country.

“Given that India has the third largest startup ecosystem in the world with a technology-based startup ecosystem permeating all sectors, it would be perfectly appropriate and timely that we also stay aligned with the frameworks in India that are being developed by our counterparts in digital market regulation through ex-ante measures to avoid being left behind,” Gupta added.

He also stressed that in the future, competition agencies around the world will need to collaborate and exchange lessons and experiences.

This year, CCI also investigated food delivery startups Zomato and Swiggy for allegations of abuse of their dominant position in the market.

CCI is also investigating tech giant Meta for its policy update for 2021. Although Meta recently approached the Supreme Court after the Delhi Supreme Court issued an injunction allowing the CCI to continue its investigation into the platform, the SC rejected the plea.

The apex court has stated that the regulator is an independent authority for reviewing any violation of the Competition Act of 2002, which would not be intervened.

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