The Competition (Amendment) Act, 2023, introduces several critical reforms and this Act incorporates global best practices and addresses contemporary challenges, ensuring that markets remain fair, competitive, and innovative, said Smt. Ravneet Kaur, Chairperson, Competition Commission of India while delivering the keynote address at the Inaugural session at the Annual Conference on Competition Law and Practice jointly hosted by CII and Competition Commission of India (CCI). She stated that the Competition Law has been amended to provide regulatory certainty and a trust-based business environment. She highlighted that the introduction of ‘settlement and commitment’ framework will reduce litigation, expedite anti-trust enforcement process, enable quicker market corrections and foster a more efficient and less adversarial legal environment.
She also mentioned that there are path breaking reforms introduced in the merger control regime through the amendments, which will go a long way in timely disposal of notified transactions facilitating ease of doing business. She informed that presently, regulations are being firmed up for operationalizing the legislative reforms introduced through the recent amendments in the competition law. She affirmed that CCI is committed to inclusive and transparent governance, particularly in the formulation of regulations. She also spoke about competition challenges posed on account of the rapid digitalization of economy. A one-size-fits-all approach does not work and regulatory interventions in technological markets require nuanced assessments, which are grounded in facts and supported by the market and technology in question, she observed.
Mr. Samir Gandhi, Partner & Co-Founder, Axiom5 Law Chambers, said, “In the context of India, where the perception of big being bad has prevailed in the past (MRTP regime), introducing ex-ante measures requires careful consideration. The dialogue should revolve around the nuances unique to the Indian markets instead of aiming for a one size fits all approach. The CCI should be commended for its comprehensive evaluation of economic evidence, objective justifications, etc. on a case by case basis - rather successfully for the past 15 years. It's time to move beyond the notion that 'big is bad' and explore nuanced strategies for effective regulation.” He further added, “Keeping global turnover as the base for penalty will lead to disproportionate penalties. If the Competition Act takes into consideration the appreciable adverse effect only in India, there must be some link to extend it beyond borders. A sense of proportionality needs to be incorporated. Else it will not only impact the Indian champions but also send out a bad message to MNCs, discouraging them to do business In India."
Ms. Poonam Mehra, Associate Professor, Indian Institute of Management Mumbai, said, "Recognizing the heterogeneous nature of players in India, there's a need to understand that all players are at varying levels of maturity in terms of understanding and adhering to competition norms— it is still a work in progress.” She added “Startups, amid their myriad challenges, can't overlook competition considerations. Compliance should be one of the first considerations, brought to practice through a collaborative effort between startups and CCI. A cautionary note echoes—startups must anticipate challenges and exercise prudence. Learning from past oversight, industry inclusion is paramount, fostering open conversations and consultations for a harmonious business environment."
Meghna Bal, Head of Research, Esya Centre, said, “While the introduction of ex-ante competition regulation might appear to be necessary, a deeper inspection of the unintended impact of certain provisions such as the creation of data usage for targeted advertising is warranted. We are presently working on a study of 300 micro small and medium enterprises that considers the reliance of these entities on targeted advertising and the potential impact of provisions that may erode the efficacy of such targeting. Our interim findings indicate that at the 77% of MSMEs surveyed credit positive revenue generation, and 84% get greater time efficiency from utilising targeted advertising online. Consequently, 75% stress that the loss of targeted advertising would negatively impact their businesses. critical impact of losing targeted advertising. Thus, before enacting such laws, a thorough empirical assessment of potential impacts is crucial, to avoid negative consequences that may be incurred by a wider set of market participants.”
Mr John Khiangte, Executive Director, Global Public Policy, Disney Star, India, stated that India has set an ambitious target of achieving a 30 trillion USD economy by 2047. Meeting this goal requires robust economic reforms that reinforce free-market principles and eliminate counterproductive policy interventions.