Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said last week that the Competition Commission of India (CCI) should ensure Indian enterprises are safeguarded from abuse by foreign entities. Sitharaman was speaking at the 10th anniversary celebrations of the CCI, held on August 23. Sitharaman said the commission must keenly observe global market developments as borders no longer determine competition in a country. She said competition policy is a big challenge at the international level with the nature of operations of companies.

She praised the CCI for performing remarkably with restraint and without obstructing competition. She also praised the CCI for credibly handling its responsibility till now and asked it to be ready for CCI 2.0 mode, which can “help foster healthy competition by staying pro-actively alert and by taking suo motu action of developments both in domestic and international markets”.

Minister of State for Finance & Corporate Affairs Anurag Singh Thakur and CCI Chairperon Ashok Kumar Gupta also gave addresses at the celebrations.

CCI’s e-commerce market study

The Competition Commission of India has formally announced its e-commerce market study, a development we made public last month. The commission said the study will help it better understand e-commerce and its implications for markets and competition in the country. Studying e-commerce is necessary, it says, given “novel issues and challenges that digital markets bring forth for competition regulation”. Preliminary findings will be presented at the end of August, stakeholders will be invited to share views, and the final study will be published in Q3 2019.

Apart from e-commerce firms, the CCI’s questionnaire will be sent to manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, hotels, restaurants, and payment systems. “The focus areas of the study include the emerging trends in business models and distribution mechanisms, market structure and business practices including contractual provisions and vertical restraints.” Its stated objectives are:

  1. to study market trends with a particular focus on emerging distribution methods and strategies in response to ecommerce
  2. to understand business practices and contractual provisions in ecommerce, their underlying rationale and implications for competition.
  3. to identify impediments to competition, if any, relating to ecommerce.
  4. to ascertain enforcement and advocacy priorities for the CCI in e-commerce

Go deeper: What the Competition Commissions study on e-commerce marketplaces seeks to find out