The Ministry of Corporate Affairs or MCA has sought public comments on the proposed Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
The draft bill to amend the Competition Act, 2002 which was made public last year, has recommended some changes to the existing law including the option to prescribe new criteria for mergers and changes in the functioning of the Competition Commission of India (CCI).
The bill is likely to give more power to the fair trade regulator CCI regarding mergers and acquisition deals involving global technology behemoths. The proposed change will include scrutiny of the deal size of tech giants.
At present, only asset size and revenue of the tech firms in M&As are subject to scrutiny by the CCI.
If the bill gets through with enabling provision suggested by the expert panel which reviewed the draft of the bill in 2019, the tech giants will have to get a nod for their M&As from the Indian regulator.
“…the Central Government may in public interest and in consultation with the Commission prescribe any criteria other than those prescribed in clauses (a), (b) and (c), the fulfilment of which shall cause any acquisition of control, shares, voting rights or assets, merger or amalgamation to be deemed to be a combination under this section…” said the proposed bill.
In an interview last month, CCI chairman Ashok Kumar Gupta had also said that the provision is required to assess the tech giants’ M&As impact on competition in the Indian market.
Public comments on the bill have been sought until March 6.
In July 2019, Corporate Affairs Secretary Injeti Srinivas-led Competition Law Review Committee had submitted its report and suggested amendments to the existing Competition Act and subordinate legislation.
The MCA, after considering the suggestions, has drafted the Competition Amendment Bill, 2020.