"In view of the growing number of cases and complexity in the digital sector and the increasing need for data and technology skills, we are now planning to set up a dedicated Digital Markets Unit within CCI," Ashok Kumar Gupta, Chairperson, Competition Commission of India (CCI) announced on June 11 at the National Conference on Competition Law. CCI is currently investigating tech platforms across various sectors like e-commerce, app stores, food aggregators, search, operating systems, etc. But the antitrust watchdog faces many unique challenges in these investigations because the competition laws in the country were framed with traditional markets in mind. Additionally, a year ago, Gupta had said that big tech has unchecked dominance and CCI will prioritise scrutiny of online platforms. Against this backdrop, it makes sense that CCI is exploring setting up a dedicated unit to deal with antitrust concerns in the tech sector. India is not alone in this endeavour. Last year, UK's Competition and Markets Authority also announced that it is setting up a Digital Markets Unit and this year, US lawmakers proposed a new regulatory body to oversee the "powerful" tech sector. Why is CCI increasing its focus on digital markets? Behavioural shift to online channels: "A significant change that all of us have noticed over the last two and a half years is that the pandemic has caused a behavioural shift amongst buyers and businesses to online channels of distribution. Even though the use of online distribution as a matter of intermediation had started much earlier, the…
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