December 05, 2018, New Delhi
Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS International), in collaboration with CUTS Institute for Regulation and Competition (CIRC), organised a panel discussion on ‘Digital Economy, Innovation and Competition’ to celebrate the World Competition Day on December 5, 2018, in New Delhi, India.
During the event, Mr Dhanendra Kumar, Former Chairman, Competition Commission of India (CCI) extended his support and advocated for the need of adopting World Competition Day (WCD) on 5th December.
Mr Pradeep S Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS, through a video address (https://youtu.be/je7Cy_N-090), urged all stakeholders to celebrate WCD in order to remind ourselves of the various benefits brought forth by an effective competition law and policy. He also emphasised the significance of the date, i.e. 5th December, which is the day when United Nations Conference on Restrictive Business Practices approved the UN Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices in 1980.
Speaking in the event, Mr Dhanendra Kumar expressed his concern over the inadequacy of the current competition tools in regulating the modern disruptive business models, which are often driven by big data, artificial intelligence led algorithms and network effects. Seconding his views was Ms Geeta Gouri, Former Member, CCI who also expressed her support in favour of adopting WCD. She further observed that the current competition regime in the country was not dynamic enough to cope up with the rapidly and constantly evolving digital economy. She highlighted issues related to Abuse of Dominance and Cartelisation in digital markets, and also cautioned against large foreign players entering emerging markets in developing countries.
Mr Arvind Mayaram, Former Finance Secretary, and Chairman, CIRC stressed on the need for appropriately regulating firms engaged in data processing and data monetisation, due to rising fears of data monopolisation and market concentration in favour of those having access to big data.
Industry players present in the event also opined the need for having a robust competition regime in the country for the growth of digital markets, and maximising the benefits brought forth by digitisation.
Mr Sanjeev Bikhchandani, Executive Vice Chairman, Infoedge (Naukri.com and JeevanSaathi.com) voiced his support for ethical competition in the era of disruption, citing various benefits emanating from it for all stakeholders.
Mr Mukund Kulashekaran, Vice President – Business Development, UrbanClap highlighted that the underlying purpose of competition law is to ensure consumer welfare, which makes its effective enforcement of prime importance in the digital era.
It is important to note, that the initiative of celebrating WCD has picked-up momentum globally since its conceptualisation in 2010, and has been supported by as many as 30 competition agencies across continents – different parts of Asia, Africa, Europe and Russia. CCI is urged to adopt WCD, just like the Republic of Philippines adopted 5th December as their National Competition Day in 2012, through a Presidential proclamation.
The role played by Non-Government Agencies (NGA) and International Organisations (IO) is also noteworthy. The initiative has received support from numerous NGAs and IOs from across the globe. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is the latest addition to the number of agencies supporting the initiative.