‘E-com­merce, dig­i­tal econ­omy pose a chal­lenge’

Dig­i­tal ecosys­tem needs to be un­der­stood com­pre­hen­sively: CCI’s out­go­ing chair­man

The Hindu Business Line - - NEWS - SWATHI MOOR­THY

Emerg­ing busi­ness mod­els around dig­i­tal econ­omy and e-com­merce do pose a chal­lenge and need to be un­der­stood com­pre­hen­sively, said Sud­hir Mi­tal, Chair­man, Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sion of In­dia.

Speak­ing to Busi­nessLine on Fri­day, his last day in of­fice, Mi­tal said, “The is­sue is that the com­pe­ti­tion law, as it is, presently talks of as­sets and turnovers. But for the en­tire dig­i­tal econ­omy and ecom­merce ecosys­tem, in terms of as­sets there may be noth­ing. But the turnovers are pretty high.”

Even though you are tech­nol­ogy-ag­nos­tic, there are cer­tain areas that need to be looked at, he added.

Mi­tal joined the com­pe­ti­tion watch­dog in April 2014 as a mem­ber and be­came the Chair­man in July 2018 when DK Sikri re­tired.

To get a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing on new-age areas such as dig­i­tal econ­omy and e-com­merce, the com­mis­sion is un­der­tak­ing mar­ket sur­veys. “Th­ese were started only 3-4 months back,” Mi­tal said. The ob­jec­tive of the sur­veys is to get com­pre­hen­sive un­der­stand­ing of how cer­tain new mar­kets such as al­go­rithms and dig­i­tal plat­form work.

In ad­di­tion, the re­search team of the com­mis­sion is con­stantly look­ing at how the mar­kets are work­ing and if we need to in­ves­ti­gate, Mi­tal said. But un­like its EU or Ja­panese coun­ter­parts that have or­dered in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the abuse of dom­i­nance by tech gi­ants such as Face­book, CCI has not taken any ac­tion so far.

“Like I said, we are tak­ing a nu­anced and bal­anced ap­proach. This is not an easy mat­ter,” Mi­tal said. He ex­plained that any ac­tion will have im­pli­ca­tions for the com­pany like loss of rep­u­ta­tion and value.

But he agrees that Wal­mart’s takeover of Flip­kart Sud­hir Mi­tal, out­go­ing Chair­man, Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sion of In­dia has been one of the most chal­leng­ing cases un­der his term as the Chair­man. “Wal­mart’s move cre­ated a huge cry. What the com­mis­sion had to look at was that whether the pro­posed com­bi­na­tion will change the land­scape and the deal did not. So the CCI ap­proved the com­bi­na­tion.” But grow­ing chal­lenges aside, ac­cord­ing to Mi­tal, the com­mis­sion has grown in terms of un­der­stand­ing new is­sues since he joined in 2014.

“The com­mis­sion has done ex­tremely well in com­bi­na­tions,” he said. The CCI amended its Com­bi­na­tion Reg­u­la­tion re­cently to sim­plify the process by short­en­ing time for ap­provals and be­com­ing more stake­holder-friendly.

The reg­u­la­tor also amended its le­niency reg­u­la­tion to keep a tight rein on bid-rig­ging. The amended reg­u­la­tion al­lows in­di­vid­u­als apart from com­pa­nies to come for­ward to file a case with CCI on carteli­sa­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.