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Google, MMT and OYO indulged in anti-competitive practices: Govt in Parl

Hindustan Times logo Hindustan Times 28-03-2023 Saptarshi Das

New Delhi: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has found companies such as Google, MakeMyTrip and OYO indulging in anti-competitive practices in contravention of the Competition Act, 2002, the Union government told Parliament on Tuesday.

“Inquiries against Amazon, Flipkart, Zomato, Swiggy, BookMyShow, Apple, WhatsApp, Facebook (Meta)… are also being conducted for alleged contravention of the provisions of the (Competition) Act,” Union finance and corporate affairs minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

She was replying to a question by Janata Dal (United) leader Anil Hegde, who sought to know whether the government is aware of the fact that anti-competitive practices are indulged by big tech companies in the country.

Anti-competitive practices — including mergers, cartels, collusions, price-fixing and predatory pricing — are used by businesses to lessen competition within markets and establish monopolies of dominant firms. Such malpractices are heavily regulated and punishable by law in cases where it substantially affects the market.

The Competition Act, 2002 aims to protect the interests of customers from anti-competitive behaviour, encourage and maintain market competition, defend consumer rights, and ensure the freedom of trade of other market players.

Notably, Google was fined $161.9 million by the CCI last year for anti-competitive practices related to android mobile devices in “multiple markets”.

The JD(U) MP further asked the minister whether it is also a fact that Parliamentary panel has recommended to government to introduce a Digital Competition Act to regulate this and ensure fair, transparent and contestable digital ecosystem.

“The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance examined the subject ‘Anti-Competitive Practices by Big Tech Companies’ and presented its report to Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on December 22, 2022,” Sitharaman said in her reply. “On the recommendation of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, the Government of India has constituted a Committee on Digital Competition Law (CDCL).”

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