Finance and corporate affairs minister Nimala Sitharaman will chair a meeting later this month to review the performance of the regulator
The agenda of the review meeting will include seeking the status of regulations that are to be ‘given effect’ to notify the recent amendments in the competition law
The development comes at a time when the CCI is yet to make any headway on multiple anti-competitive cases, including those against Google, Meta, Amazon, Flipkart, and Zomato
Finance and corporate affairs minister Nirmala Sitharaman will reportedly chair a meeting later this month to review the working of the Competition Commission of India (CCI).
The agenda of the review meeting will also include seeking the status of regulations that are to be ‘given effect’ to notify the recent amendments in the competition law, the Hindu businessline reported citing sources.
Called by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), the development comes amid growing concerns around inaction by the watchdog in passing orders with regards to antitrust petitions filed by startups and app developers against Google.
According to the report, the meeting may also see the ministry quizzing the Commission over the delay in antitrust probes and disposal of cases.
It is pertinent to note that the CCI is yet to make any headway on multiple anti-competitive cases that have been pending before it for years. These cases span industry giants and players such as Google, Meta, Amazon, Flipkart, Zomato, and Swiggy.
Earlier today, it was reported that 30 companies, including multiple Indian startups, appealed to Google to not delist them from the Play Store or take ‘any precipitative steps’ against any app developers till March 19 in connection with its user choice billing system.
The appeal came days after the Supreme Court refused to restrain the tech major from delisting apps on the Play Store that do not comply with its in-app billing policy.
In an affidavit before the Supreme Court, the startups accused the CCI of “non-adjudication” in the disposal of their pleas challenging the new billing policy.
On the other hand, the annual report of the competition watchdog reportedly mentioned a continuous decline in the number of antitrust filings and less than 1% recovery of penalties imposed by it.
As per the report, many final orders passed by the Commission are pending before the appellate tribunal while none of its key rulings has attained finality.
Meanwhile, Indian startups and industry stakeholders have welcomed the MCA’s call for the performance review of the CCI.
In a statement, industry body Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF) said, “… The spotlight has been cast on the continued inaction of CCI, echoing the frustrations of digital startups and app developers who feel caught in a web of unjust business practices.”
The think tank also claimed that the review is a crucial step towards “upholding the principles of fair competition, fostering innovation, and empowering the digital startups”.
“The MCA’s decision to review CCI’s performance comes as a welcome news for the Indian digital ecosystem, a beacon of hope for the digital startups and app developers who find themselves facing a Hobson’s choice between succumbing to what they describe as “extortionate business practices” by Google or exiting the market altogether,” added ADIF.