Washington DC, September 24, 2013
In his welcome remarks, CUTS Secretary General, Pradeep S Mehta, said that this lecture series are being organized around the world by CUTS as it is an international NGO pursuing economic equality and social justice within and across borders. The twin purpose of this series is to acquaint people about its work and for it to draw fresh ideas for its own work agenda for the next twenty years. Its work is around three verticals: trade, regulation and governance, which it is pursuing in the developing world through its own presence in Asia and Africa.
Also speaking at the occasion were Bill Kovacic, Professor, George Washington University and Co-Host of the event, Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, Consulting Editor of The Times of India Group and Edward Luce, Chief US Commentator, Financial Times. Nirupama Menon Rao, India’s Ambassador to USA chaired the session.
“The key issue to ponder over is what will happen in the future, given the big changes that are taking place with the emergence of different institutions in the world and whether the governance in multilateral institutions were to change with more even representation with economic weight or they will remain US/EU dominated” said Dr Mohan.
“Thus, the question that arises is that in some ways if you have one top dog who governs, might lead to more stability as compared to 4-5 top dogs trying to compete with one another on how to govern global situation, which goes beyond just economics. But, during the next 5-10 years we are going to see changes, that we have not seen since a long time”.
Nirupama Menon Rao, India’s Ambassador to USA briefly spoke about the commitment of the Indian government towards ensuring inclusive growth and to ensure that fruits of growth and progress are shared with large sections of our population, which is the mantra of the day.
Mrs Rao reflected on the various steps being taken by the Indian Government, such as Food Security initiative, rural employment guarantee scheme, which provides right based employment to the people, Right to Information Act, which creates legal obligation on the government to share information on how it work with the people and so on.
She acknowledged the important contribution being made by CUTS in order to inform policymakers at the highest level in government and that it has truly conveyed the message of South-South Cooperation with its presence in many countries and that it should continue to grow to promote equity and social justice across borders.
Bill Kovacic, Professor, George Washington University, spoke about the need for capacity building in the new competition systems and touched upon the seminal contribution of CUTS on this subject through its 7Up initiative i.e. Bottom Up Approach in over 30 countries in Africa and Asia.
Prof Kovacic emphasised on the importance of creating the right team and getting the right people to head a competition agency, who have some experience of having worked in the private sector in order to understand how they function, without this important understanding the agency would be in some sort of a deficit. Thus, recruitment of the right people and the right level is one of the key ingredients to ensure success of the institution.
Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar briefly spoke about the transition from the days between MRTPC to the present Competition Act in India. He did mention that there was a time during the MRTPC era, government control was the key and being big was bad. One of the key changes in the present Competition Act, being big is not bad but its abuse is bad.
Towards the end, reacting to the issue of change in global economic calculus, he did mention that it is difficult to discount US but the powers of EU/US are diminishing relatively. He emphasised that the original idea that the dominant force is going to be EU or US in the world is getting diluted and we are moving towards a multi-polar world.
Edward Luce, Chief US Commentator, FT drew the attention of the audience towards the formative years when CUTS came into existence, which was an era of license raj, 1991 crisis, etc, thus the emergence of CUTS as a unique pro-market organization, was a breath of fresh air. He emphasised that the change in global economic geometry is more of a problem for US, as compared to China and/or India, as because it is becoming increasingly irrelevant.
There was a lively Q&A session, when numerous micro and macro issues were raised by the over 100 participants in the hall. Marking an end to the session, Pradeep Mehta in his summarisation highlighted the importance of donor co-ordination on the vast issues that CUTS and other organisations are working on, which is important. He referred to the Paris Declaration, which is a soft law and requires the donor to co-ordinate, which is being ignored.
Udai Mehta, Associate Director, CUTS proposed a vote of thanks at the end and handed out mementos to all the speakers.
For further information please contact:
Udai S Mehta, +919829285926 or +12022584856, firstname.lastname@example.org