Government in Parliament: Google, MMT, and OYO engaged in anti-competitive behavior

Government in Parliament: Google, MMT, and OYO engaged in anti-competitive behavior

The Union government informed Parliament on Tuesday that the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has discovered businesses including Google, MakeMyTrip, and OYO engaging in anti-competitive actions in violation of the Competition Act, 2002.

In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated: "Inquiries against Amazon, Flipkart, Zomato, Swiggy, BookMyShow, Apple, WhatsApp, Facebook (Meta)... are also being conducted for alleged contravention of the provisions of the (Competition) Act."

She was responding to a query from Janata Dal (United) leader Anil Hegde, who wanted to know whether the government was aware that major IT businesses in the nation engage in anti-competitive behavior.

Businesses utilize anti-competitive methods, such as mergers, cartels, collusions, price-fixing, and predatory pricing, to reduce market competition and create monopolies of dominating enterprises. If the technique has a significant impact on the market, it is severely regulated and is illegal.

The Competition Act of 2002 seeks to safeguard consumer rights, prevent anti-competitive behavior, promote and preserve market competition, and assure other market participants' freedom of trade.

Importantly, the CCI penalized Google $161.9 million last year for engaging in anti-competitive behavior with respect to Android mobile devices in "several markets."

The JD(U) MP then questioned the minister, asking whether it was also true that a parliamentary committee had advised the government to pass a Digital Competition Act to control this and guarantee a fair, open, and contestable digital economy.

In response, Sitharaman said that the "Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance" had looked into "Anti-Competitive Activities by Large Tech Firms" and had delivered a report to both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha on December 22, 2022. The Government of India has established the Committee on Digital Competition Law (CDCL) at the proposal of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance.