CCI regulations for Digital Markets in India
India is a prominent market where tech firms, both domestic and foreign, are jostling for space. The antitrust issues that have arisen elsewhere have resonated in India as well.
The E-commerce market study by the CCI also flagged several concerns of Indian stakeholders in the e-commerce market, such as platforms not acting in a neutral way, unfair contract terms, use of price parity clauses, exclusive agreements, and deep discounts.
While the CCI is doing its bit to ensure fairness in digital markets, a need for some form of regulation is already felt. In its e-commerce market study, the CCI has mentioned the need for marketplace platforms adopting self-regulation to ensure transparency concerning search ranking; collection, use and sharing of data; user review and rating mechanism; revision in contract terms; and discount policy. This form of regulation, however, falls far short of preemptive ex-ante regulation that the EU has suggested in the proposed Digital Markets Act for ‘gatekeeper’ platforms. Consequently, India should adopt binding ex-ante regulations for digital ‘gatekeepers’ to ensure market contestability for businesses including start-ups and fairness for users.