The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has established a Digital Markets and Data Unit (DMDU), which is “a specialized interdisciplinary center of expertise for Digital Markets with the composition of various officers from the different divisions and multiple streams of CCI,” the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance’s sixtieth report presented to the parliament on July 27 revealed.
In December 2022, the Parliamentary Committee, in its fifty-third report titled Anti-Competitive Practices by Big-Tech Companies, recommended the setting up of a digital markets unit within CCI, among other things, such as the need for ex-ante regulations and a Digital Competition Act.
Former CCI Chairperson Ashok Kumar Gupta had also talked about setting up a unit dedicated to digital markets in June 2022, explaining in detail the necessity for such a unit “in view of the growing number of cases and complexity in the digital sector and the increasing need for data and technology skills.” CCI’s former Acting Chairperson, Sangeeta Verma, in March 2023, informed that the Commission has initiated the process of establishing a Digital Markets and Data Unit (DMDU) but didn’t share a timeline. The Parliamentary Committee’s report now confirms that the unit has been established.
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What is the mandate of the Digital Markets and Data Unit (DMDU)? According to the Parliamentary Committee report, the role and functions of the DMDU include:
- To facilitate cross-divisional exchange or discussion on digital market issues
- To act as a nodal point for stakeholder engagement across academia, other industries, regulators, international deliberations, and government on digital market matters.
- To provide support in data analytics/management and address the novel enforcement issues of digital markets.
- To lead Market Studies into matters related to digital markets.
“The Committee would like to stress the fact that this unit holds significant importance going forth in the future, as digital markets display characteristics distinct from traditional markets and it is of utmost importance that they are properly governed so as to curb the sharp ‘tipping’ of markets leading to emergence of one or two leading players in a short span of time. The Committee urges and highlights the importance of making the Digital Market and Data Unit (DMDU) a robust outfit staffed with skilled experts to help the Competition Commission of India,” the Parliamentary Committee stated.
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