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Big Tech Firms Grilled by Parliamentary Panel Ahead of Upcoming Fair Competition Framework for Digital Markets

A parliamentary panel reportedly grilled Big Tech firms including Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, and Uber on alleged anti-competitive practices on Tuesday. The panel discussed a legal framework to ensure fair competition in the country, according to a report. The move comes shortly after the European Union passed the Digital Markets Act, which goes into force from next year. Last month, the parliamentary panel previously questioned representatives of eight firms including Zomato, Swiggy, Flipkart, and MakeMyTrip. 

According to a report by PTI, members of the parlimentary panel, led by Union Minister Jayant Sinha, had suggested that they wanted legislation in place that was “not business unfriendly but at the same time saves the interests of the consumers as well.”

The panel also suggested that the major tech firms should “leave it to the limited wisdom of lawmakers to regulate in the manner as they deemed fit,” after the firms suggested that no additional regulation was required, as per the report.

Among the representatives present at the hearing on Tuesday were Amazon India Country Manager, Consumer Business, Manish Tiwary; and Apple India Managing Director Strategy and Policy, Virat Bhatia. Facebook India Head of Public Policy Rajiv Aggarwal; Google India Director Government Affairs and Public Policy Archana Gulati; Netflix India Director Head of Indian Policy Ambika Khurana; Twitter India Senior Director Public Policy Samiran Gupta; Uber India and South Asia President Prabhjeet Singh, were other representatives who also deposed before the panel, according to the report.

The panel is working on a report — expected in the first week of September — on the evolution of competition law for digital markets that will deal specifically with matters related to competitive conduct and competitive behaviour, the minister reportedly stated after the meeting, adding that the panel will also study issues related to pricing, platform neutrality, and how data is used in adjacent markets.  

The minister also stated that the report will consider the country’s unique circumstances, but would “intensively examine and consider competition law associated with digital markets around the world”. Last month, the EU passed the Digital Markets Act, a set of landmark rules to designed to control tech giants including Google, Amazon, Apple, Meta, and Microsoft

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