The response has come to a query on whether the government is aware of the anti-competitive practices of these companies
The companies include the likes of Amazon, Meta and Google, along with Flipkart, Zomato, Swiggy and BookMyShow
The government has also formed a committee to look at competition rules and see if there is a need for a new set of regulations
Responding to a question in Rajya Sabha, the Union Minister of Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman, said the Competition Commission of India (CCI) is conducting inquiries into Big Tech firms and several Indian tech startups for flouting competition laws in the country.
The companies under CCI scanner include Big Tech companies such as Amazon, Meta and Google, along with startups Flipkart, Zomato, Swiggy and BookMyShow.
“Inquiries against Amazon, Flipkart, Zomato, Swiggy, BookMyShow, Apple, WhatsApp, Facebook (Meta) and Google in matters other than where orders have been passed under Section 27 of the Act, are also being conducted for alleged contravention of the provisions of the Act,” said Sitharaman on March 28 (Tuesday).
The response has come to a query on whether the government is aware of the anti-competitive practices of these companies.
Sitharaman also noted that the CCI had passed orders on Google’s alleged contravention of the Competition Act in January 2018 and the two back-to-back penalties last October.
The corporate affairs minister, who also has the finance charge, added that an order was passed in MakeMyTrip-Goibibo and OYO in October 2022, referring to the INR 392 Cr penalty imposed by CCI last year on the traveltech startups.
According to Sitharaman, Google and the three traveltech startups have filed appeals at separate forums against the matter.
For the search engine giant, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has reserved its judgement on the INR 1,337.76 Cr penalty imposed by the CCI and will pass the same on March 31.
In response to a separate but related query, Sitharaman said that the government has formed a committee to look at competition rules and keep tech startups and Big Tech firms in line with the same.
The Committee on Digital Competition Law (CDCL) was set up on the recommendation of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance last month.
The committee will also review whether the existing provisions in the Competition Act, 2002, are sufficient to deal with the challenges that have emerged from the digital economy.
Further, the committee will also examine the need for an ex-ante regulatory mechanism for digital markets through separate legislation.
The Committee is chaired by Corporate Affairs Secretary Manoj Govil and comprises chairperson of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) Sangeeta Verma; Chairman of Indian Angel Network and NASSCOM cofounder Saurabh Srivastava; Khaitan & Co’s Haigreve Khaitan; retired professor of Delhi School of Economics Aditya Bhattacharjee; Pallavi Shardul Shroff of Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co, among others.
The committee also has representatives from the Centre’s Departments of Commerce, Economic Affairs, and Consumer Affairs, NITI Aayog, DPIIT, and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).