New Delhi, February 02, 2005, Press Release

The Government should make the necessary amendments in the Competition Act to get the Competition Commission working on its agenda, within one year. These amendments should focus on the independence, autonomy and operability of the Commission. This sentiment was expressed while discussing the National Competition Policy Statement tabled in a conference held on the release of a report on “Towards a Functional Competition Policy for India” by CUTS International.

The National Competition Policy seeks to provide guidelines to different branches of the Government and agencies at all levels in maintaining the appropriate competition dimensions. Either the Planning Commission or the Department of Economic Affairs could be the forum to take up an assessment in this regard when any step or decision, which will have an impact on the economy and consumers, is to be taken.

Taking up a pragmatic approach, the Commission should focus its advocacy agenda on business compliance education and consumer awareness. Also to build its own capacity, the Commission should take up past cases, and analyse them as per the provisions of the current Act, recommended R Shyam Khemani of the World Bank. Echoing the same sentiments, V.K. Dhall, member of the Competition Commission of India (CCI), complimented the project output, which he said would help the Commission in prioritizing its future research programme. Large amendments would only further delay the implementation of the law, added Dhall.

A higher level of credibility at the enforcement agency would help generate the demand for competition in the country. David Lewis, Chairman of the South Africa Competition Tribunal quoted the experiences in South Africa where, within six years, credibility of the competition authorities as well as demand for greater competition and enforcement from the public have been successfully built up, by making the whole process public.

Frederic Jenny, a renowned competition expert and judge at the French Supreme Court pointed out the challenges awaiting the CCI: Its independence and role in promoting competition in India.

CUTS Secretary General, Pradeep S. Mehta, concluded the conference but called for more proactive contributions from both the domestic and international communities towards starting a fresh chapter in the competition regime of India.