The Competition Commission of India (ICC) today organized the Seventh National Conference on Economics of Competition Law in virtual mode. Mr. Neelkanth Mishra, a member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, was the keynote speaker at the conference. Mr. Ashok Kumar Gupta, President, ICC, delivered the special address at the inaugural session and Dr. Sangeeta Verma, Member, ICC, opened the conference with his opening remarks.
Mr. Neelkanth Mishra’s keynote address focused on the emergence of tech giants and the challenges and new questions it poses for regulation and regulators. Mr. Mishra, in his remarks, referred to the main technological and economic factors such as network effects, economies of scale, synergies between intangible assets within technological ecosystems, etc., which give rise to concentration market power in digital markets. Elucidating the characteristics and relevant measures in digital markets that distinguish them from traditional markets, he discussed the importance of investments in intangible assets such as trademarks, software, patents, etc., financing aspects such as the predominance of venture capital funds and private equity financing. While technology sectors, due to their innate characteristics, can be susceptible to winner-takes-all market structures, they also harbor enormous potential to drive innovation, facilitate new business models and help eliminate inefficiencies in the value chain, he underlined. The question that deserves attention in this context is whether the concentration of capital and market power, size and scale of tech giants, in themselves, can be considered a threat to competition. , did he declare. He concluded by presenting a series of questions for regulators to consider in order for the regulatory approach to remain informed of the complexities of digital markets, involving thorough assessment, global collaboration and careful reaction.
In his special address, Mr. Ashok Kumar Gupta highlighted the role of economics in unraveling the complexities of markets, in understanding the state of competition and what helps, encourages or hinders it. The architecture of the Competition Act 2002 is such that arbitration involves an assessment of the economics of the markets and the contested conduct, he said. Referring to the increasing importance attached by the Commission to market studies, Mr Gupta indicated that the application of this complex economic legislation could only be effective if it took due account of the specificities of the market. Given the inherently dynamic nature of markets, especially new era markets, the Commission proactively engages with stakeholders through its market research and stakeholder consultations. Lessons learned from these market studies allow the Commission to appreciate various strategic business interactions in oligopolistic markets and, in the future, the Commission proposes to undertake several market studies for enforcement and advocacy purposes, he added.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Sangeeta Verma spoke about the feedback loop between antitrust research and law enforcement. She emphasized the need for evolving academic discourse and changes in economic understanding to be reflected in the application of antitrust laws. On the other hand, a growing body of antitrust case law with rigorous economic analyzes could spur follow-up research, she said. For an accurate but expeditious investigation and settlement of cases, she said, it was important that parties in both antitrust and combination cases present their submissions and arguments with due regard to the economic framework. that applies to the industry concerned.
The plenary of the conference focused on “reforms and deepening markets”. Mr. Amitabh Kant, Managing Director, NITI Aayog, Mr. Tuhin Kanta Pandey, Secretary, Department of Investment and Public Assets Management, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, Dr. MS Sahoo, Professor Emeritus, National Law University, Delhi and Dr. Nachiket Mor, Visiting Scholar, The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health and Senior Research Fellow, IIIT Bangalore were the prominent plenary panelists. The plenary was moderated by Ms. Latha Venkatesh, Editor-in-Chief, CNBC TV18.
The conference also included two technical sessions on competition and regulation: empirical surveys; and Competition Law and Policy: Issues and Approaches, where scholars presented papers on the economics of competition law. The technical sessions were chaired by Dr. Pami Dua, Director, Delhi School of Economics and Dr. Aditya Bhattacharjea, Senior Professor, Delhi School of Economics.
(With GDP entries)