Top executives from 8 Indian technology companies attended a parliamentary meeting that was convened to help the government understand the challenges associated with the further growth of India's e-commerce sector.
Executives from India's leading IT companies met with parliamentarians on Thursday to discuss anti-competitive practices by the world's big tech firms.
At the closed -door session — helmed by the former minister of state for finance Jayant Sinha — startup leaders pointed to a slew of contentious issues ranging from predatory pricing to the need for platform equality or equal access to content across all devices.
According to The Economic Times sources, the three-hour long meeting touched upon a series of hot-button topics including the need to regulate data usage and to define the market for emerging internet businesses amid the backdrop of upcoming regulations for the sector.
Digital finance firm Paytm's founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, hotel aggregator OYO's founder Ritesh Agarwal, e-commerce player Flipkart group CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy, MakeMyTrip cofounder Deep Kalra and representatives of cab aggregator Ola and of food delivery platforms Swiggy and Zomato were among those present at the meeting, according to sources.
Jayant Sinha noted that competition law is evolving for digital platforms around the world and that some jurisdictions , such as the EU, have put in place separate regulations to deal with digital markets:
“Digital markets operate differently from traditional markets so the competition law also needs to be developed to address these needs. We have also had discussions with partners and vendors associated with digital platforms”.
The committee has also held detailed discussions with the MCA and CCI on changes to competition law that address digital markets.
A similar meeting between the parliamentary committee on finance and international technology firms including Amazon, Google, Meta (banned in Russia), Twitter (also banned in Russia) is expected to take place next week.
Indian startup leaders shared their misgivings against Big Tech firms like Google and its 30% fee in Play Store for in-app purchases. The implementation of the policy in India has been deferred to October 31, 2022 following continuous backlash from app developers.
The meeting also discussed the problems faced by gig-workers, including drivers and delivery staff. The gathering agreed on the need for a robust grievance redressal system.
India’s competition watchdog is also currently probing food delivery firms over trade practices including deep discounting, high commission rates. The probe by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) was ordered after National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) complained against Zomato and Swiggy to the antitrust regulator last year.
While the conflict between offline traders and e-commerce companies has been an ongoing topic of discussion for a few years now, food delivery firms are seeing increasing resistance from restaurant partners over commission rates, private labels and cloud kitchen facilities.
Source: Economic Times