India Regulatory Brief: Anti-trust Body Warns Google, New Environmental Norms Coming
CCI Outlines Complaints against Google
The Competition Commission of India (CCI), India’s anti-trust authority, recently published a report that claims Google is abusing the dominance of its search engine to promote its services over competitors. According to the local media, the CCI report makes two primary allegations against Google: one, Google’s search engine prioritizes Google-related services and content despite search relevance; and two, Google’s search engine prioritizes sponsored content or advertising based on advertising paid to Google.
The CCI has requested that Google respond to the report by September 10. The CCI will hold a hearing with Google representatives thereafter; however, CCI authorities report that the quasi-judicial review is a lengthy process. Interestingly, the CCI report was released ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s planned trip to the U.S. in late September. The media has reported that Modi will visit to Google’s headquarters in California state; it is unclear whether Modi will meet with designate Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who was born in India.
The CCI investigation was launched as a result of a 2011 complaint made by an Indian dating website and a non-profit organization. The CCI report mirrors investigations conducted by regulatory authorities in the U.S. and E.U against Google. Although Google reformed some practices to sate the concerns of the U.S. Fair Trade Commission, the European Commission (EC) investigation over Google’s search engine practices remains on-going. Experts expect Indian regulators to follow the EC’s lead.
New Environmental Norms for Industry
The local media report that the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) plans to introduce a new classification scheme to rationalize compliance with environmental regulations. Specifically, the CPCD plans to organize industries under four color categories, which will in turn inform regulatory compliances for businesses’ online reporting of emission and effluent data.
The federal government has already mandated online reporting of emission and effluent data for many in the industrial sector; however, the proposed reform is expected to increase mandatory reporting to 80 percent of the industrial sector. Before the new scheme becomes law, the government will need to propose amendments to current laws. Media reports claim that penalties for non-compliance will also increase following any amendments.
FSSAI Framing New Regulations
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) reportedly plans to introduce new regulations for the food processing industry in the next six months. The FSSAI reportedly concluded that its internal procedures were inadequate for regulating the food processing industry following court decisions made as a result of the high-profile recall of the ‘Maggi’ instant-noodles produced by Nestle India. A FSSAI circular reports that the regulatory body will reform regulations for product approvals, imports and internal procedures for producing guidelines and instructions.
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