India exemplifies a good confluence of the ‘free market’ and ‘government control’. The guiding principles of the Indian Constitution demonstrates that India is a ‘Democratic Welfare Nation’. It is built on the established constitutional mandate incorporating ideas of equal opportunity and equitable wealth distribution.
These values are intended to protect individuals by minimizing socio-economic inequities and disparities. As a Welfare State with a capitalistic form of free market economy, it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that the citizens are bestowed with equal opportunity to prosper with curtailment of ‘monopolistic tendencies.’
CCI comes to the rescue of Indian growth story
The need for a robust and effective ‘anti-competitive’ legislation is all the more important in present times. Evidently, with the refurbished transformation of the economic landscape of the nation under the present regime, various significant institutional changes have materialized.
Consequently, the renewed ‘policy-level initiatives’ have produced a ‘conducive institutional dynamism’ thereby boosting the economic footprints of the nation. The entrepreneurial environment of India seemingly witnesses an upsurge, with investors and innovators making the most out of the improved landscape.
By the year 2020, 7,000 start-ups were reported to have been founded in India. This made it imperative for the government to ensure ‘anti-competitive’ practices are dealt with an iron fist so as to provide a conducive environment for the start-ups to prosper.
CCI taking the lead in reprimanding monopolistic corporations
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has been batting on the front foot, ever since the Indian start-ups have started to show blooming prospects. At the heart of the aggressive policy change lies the need to tackle monopolistic practices that have been shackling the Indian growth story. The previous penalty of 200 crore on Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. (MSIL), in addition to 223.48 crore fine on MakeMyTrip-Goibibo (MMT-Go) and 168.88 crore penalty on OYO have been significant steps in this direction.
More recently, the CCI has imposed a fine of more than two thousand crore rupees on Google in two separate orders. The said fine was imposed in October and Google got 60 days to pay it. However, the deadline has expired and the company has not paid this fine. As a consequence, the CCI has sent a demand notice to Google to pay a fine of Rs 2274 crore.
All about the Google fine episode
On October 20, the CCI had imposed a fine of Rs 1,337.76 crore on Google for abusing its dominant position in the Android mobile device segment. Apart from this, the CCI had also directed the Internet giant to ‘cease and desist’ from unfair business practices.
In another order on October 25, the CCI imposed another fine of Rs 936.44 crore on the company for unfair trade practices with respect to Play Store policies. In this way, a total fine of Rs 2,274.2 crore has been imposed on the company in both the orders. The company was directed to pay the fine within 60 days. This deadline has passed and the company has yet not made the payment.
As a consequence, the CCI has recently sent a demand notice to Google. As per the CCI norms, the company will have to pay the fine within 30 days from the receipt of the demand notice from CCI. Evidently, if the tech-giant does not comply with the deadline, the CCI may use its powers to recover the money.
On the other hand, Google has made claims that an appeal has been filed in both these cases at the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) and the matter is sub-judice. However, according to CCI rules, if the decision is not stayed, the company will have to pay the fine. Therefore, making it imperative for the tech-company to comply with the orders of the CCI and pay the fine within the stipulated period.
Also read: CCI tears Google a new one
Significant move of the CCI to boost domestic industry
The Indian growth story has been blossoming with refurbished hope as the domestic industry joins the league of competing with the multinational corporations. At such a nascent stage, the CCI is duty bound to provide appropriate ‘checks and balances’ to ensure the Indian domestic industry is not muzzled by the monopolistic particles of large and dominant corporations.
Thus, the CCI has adopted a proactive role in ensuring the provisions of the Competition Act, 2002 are dealt with strictly. These steps will ensure that Indian start-ups and innovations find appropriate breeding ground in the domestic turf.
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