Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, which is examining the Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022, has scheduled its final sitting on November 29 when it will be concluding oral evidence of the representatives of Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) and Competition Commission of India (CCI) on the provisions of the Bill.

This has raised expectations among the economy watchers and general public that the report of the Standing Committee on Finance, chaired by Jayant Sinha, will soon be submitted and that the legislative process of its enactment would be taken up by the government in the upcoming winter session of Parliament beginning December 7.

It maybe recalled that the Government of India introduced the Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022 to amend the Competition Act, 2002, which was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance for examination and report. The parliamentary panel, after finalisation of the Report, is likely to table its report in the upcoming winter session of Parliament.

Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022

The Bill proposes to make far reaching changes to the existing law. It seeks to broaden the scope of anti-competitive agreements; include facilitators of certain anti-competitive agreements within the framework of law; reduce time limit for approval of mergers & acquisitions from the existing 210 days to 150 days; introduces deal value threshold as an additional criteria for notifying M&As to capture killer acquisitions in digital markets which were hitherto falling below the notification criteria due to asset and revenue light business models of new age companies; provide limitation period of three years for filing cases relating to anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position; introduce settlement & commitment framework; deepen scope of inter-regulatory consultations; incentivise parties in an ongoing cartel investigations in terms of lesser penalty to disclose information regarding other cartels (leniency plus). 

Earlier, representatives of stakeholders including industry associations and law firms were examined by the Parliamentary Panel early this month. 

Based on the feedback and comments provided by the stakeholders, the panel has scheduled the last sitting to seek clarity from the officials of MCA on the concerns raised by them on the provisions of the Bill. 

Anti-competitive practices by Big Tech

Earlier, this Parliamentary Committee headed by Jayant Sinha identified ‘Anti-competitive practices by Big Tech’ as a subject for examination. After detailed deliberations with representatives of Big Tech, Start-ups, officials of MCA, MeitY and CCI, the panel is in the process of finalising its report. The report is keenly awaited as it is likely to recommend an ex anteframework for regulating Big Tech, as per the sources close to the development.