The government is concerned about the CCI ruling because it might have security consequences.
The government is considering forming an inter-ministerial group to devise a method for delineating regions where policies are still in the early stages and so cannot be assessed purely on the basis of competition by the Competition Commission of India (CCI). Some of the areas indicated for now include the creation of industrial clusters through incentive schemes, information technology rules, the Digital Data Protection Bill, and the impending Digital India Act.
According to sources, higher levels of government believe that in recent times, certain orders of the CCI have intersected, and in some circumstances, clashed, with concerns of policymaking.
Officials from the finance ministry, the ministry of home affairs, the department for promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT), the ministry of electronics and information technology, the ministry of consumers affairs, and the ministry of corporate affairs will serve on the inter-ministerial panel.
According to sources, multiple instances involving payment gateways, e-commerce platforms, app stores, and food and travel aggregators have lately come before the CCI, with difficulties that are diverse and even unusual.
Even experts in cybersecurity, finance, algorithms, and data are grappling with the complexities involved. In light of this, CCI’s approach to competition assessment requires a shift in gears, taking into account the distinctive character of digital marketplaces and potential overlaps with areas other than competition, according to an official.
For example, in a recent judgement, CCI deemed Google to be abusing its dominating position and ordered that the corporation not hinder app developers’ ability to distribute their products through what is known as side-loading, rather than through Google’s Play store. According to officials, while the directive acknowledges the hazards of side-loading, it does not address how these concerns might be reduced.
The government is concerned about the CCI ruling because it might have security consequences. For example, if Google or Apple do not have control over the apps that are put onto their devices, identifying those that may represent a security risk may be difficult. Because there was no possibility for side-loading, the government was able to prohibit all Chinese applications in 2020, during the height of Indo-China border tensions.
“If side-loading is permitted, and the government asks that any software be blocked, players like as Google and Apple may display their helplessness because they will not have total control”,according to another source.