Parl panel grills big tech cos; fairplay in digital markets mulled

Members of the panel suggested that they want legislation in place which is not business unfriendly but at the same time saves the interests of the consumers as well, they said.
Representative image
Representative image

NEW DELHI: To ensure a level-playing field in the digital market, a parliamentary panel on Tuesday discussed preparing a legal framework for fair competition in the space as it grilled big tech majors Google, Amazon, Apple and others on alleged anti-competitive practices.

During the meeting, several members of the parliamentary panel on finance questioned the market dominance of big tech companies, which, they said, is precluding other competitors and killing Indian players, sources said.

As all big tech majors in the meeting suggested no further regulation is required in the Indian digital market, a member replied that if the big tech majors are going to be so “non-cooperative” then they should “leave it to the limited wisdom of lawmakers to regulate in the manner as they deemed fit”, sources said.

Members of the panel suggested that they want legislation in place which is not business unfriendly but at the same time saves the interests of the consumers as well, they said.

Top executives of the Indian arms of Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter Netflix and Uber deposed before the panel. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, led by former Union minister Jayant Sinha, is looking into various aspects of competition in the marketplace, especially concerning technology majors.

After the meeting, Sinha said, “The parliamentary panel will be issuing a report on the evolution of competition law for digital markets, that is the report that we are putting together.” “We will deal specifically with matters related to competitive conduct and competitive behaviour, which will include issues related to pricing, platform neutrality, and how data is used in the adjacent markets.”

Amazon India’s Country Manager, Consumer Business, Manish Tiwary, Apple India’s MD Strategy and Policy, Virat Bhatia, Facebook India’s head of public policy Rajiv Aggarwal were among those who deposed before the panel on Tuesday.

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