ROLE OF COMPETITION IN PUBLIC WELFARE IS PIVOTAL: GOVERNOR E.S.L. NARASIMHAN
Roadshow On Competition Law organized by Competition Commission of India on 25th February in Hyderabad
The Roadshow on Competition Law was organised in Hyderabad on 25 February 2019 by the Competition Commission of India with a thematic focus on Public Procurement, Trade Associations, Cartels and Leniency. The Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA), a think tank under the aegis of Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, was the Implementation Partner for the Roadshow. The Roadshow is part of a series of Roadshows being organised across the country on competition law and constitutes one of the major advocacy initiatives of the Commission. This Roadshow brought together various stakeholders from Industry, Trade Associations, Charted Accountants, Company Secretaries, Lawyers and Researchers from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to engage in an active discussion on various competition issues that require deliberations for creating awareness and compliance amongst the industry participants.
The Chief Guest for the Conference, ESL Narasimhan, the Hon’ble Governor of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in his Inaugural Address stated that with the decreasing role of state in non-sovereign functions, market’s role in achieving optimal public welfare is pivotal. Governor also released Competition Advocacy Booklet in Telugu. He stated that bringing out of competition literature in local language will go a long way in spreading the message of competition in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. He further said that erosion of moral values and integrity have emerged as root causes of multiple problems including anti-competitive conducts such as cartels. He commended CCI for hosting the Roadshow in Hyderabad.
Addressing the eminent speakers, Chief Secretary, Telangana, Shailendra Kumar Joshi applauded the CCI’s initiative to reach out to states for generating awareness about competition law and its impact on economic policy. He emphasized that role of CCI in advising the states in infusing competition in economic policy would reap rich dividends. He stated that deliberations on public procurement and competition law will help in mitigating the loss of public money on account of anti-competitive practices. He further added that trade and industry which are major actors in the state economy stand to gain immensely by complying with the competition law.
Ashok Kumar Gupta, Chairman, CCI, in his theme address, mentioned that the Competition Act 2002 casts upon the Commission a duty to eliminate anti-competitive practices and promote competition in the country. In the last nine years, since CCI got its enforcement power, the CCI has so far received a total of 644 combination filings, reviewed 1001 anti-trust cases and conducted more than 650 advocacy events, he added. Outlining priorities of the Commission, Chairman said that busting cartels remains top priority. He further said that approximately 100 leniency applications have been so far submitted to CCI to avail the lesser penalty benefits. He expressed that the evolving regime of cartel mitigation will bear significant fruits in times to come. He also mentioned that the recently launched online guidance system of CCI is helping the industry in determining the notifiability of mergers and acquisitions. Touching upon the recent developments in online markets, Chairman stated that the Commission intends to study e-commerce sector in India to understand the role of algorithms and artificial intelligence in collusion. He underscored that competition has been the single most important agent of the transformation, India has undergone, in the post reforms period. He further added that for achieving long-term growth trajectory, achieving level playing field, characterized by healthy competition, is central. He said that all stakeholders stand to gain from a healthy market competition. In order to build robust competition eco-system, series of Roadshows is being conducted.
In his address, KVR Murty, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs touched upon the ongoing work of Competition Law Review Committee. He shared that through extensive consultations, the Committee has gathered inputs from all stakeholders and in the process of making substantive recommendations for amendments in Competition Act.
M. Venkateshwarulu, President, Telangana Chamber of Commerce and Industry proposed vote of thanks and highlighted that Telangana industry is keen to understand importance of competition law and is actively engaging through a Competition Law Committee of the Chamber. He expressed his gratitude to the Commission for hosting the Roadshow in Hyderabad. Dr. Navneet Sharma from IICA had earlier welcomed the participants in inaugural session.
Deliberations in the Roadshow were divided in two open house sessions. The first session on ‘Infusing Competition in Public Procurement’ was chaired by Mr. S. Chakravarthy, former Member, MRTPC, and the second session on ‘Trade Associations, Cartels, Vertical Restraints and Leniency was chaired by Ms Sangeeta Verma, Member, CCI.
Advocacy booklets were distributed to participants. Each of these sessions saw extensive discussions and active participation form the audience as well.
The Roadshow was attended by senior policy makers from Central Government, Gujarat Government, participants from the public sector enterprises, industry, legal and finance professionals, corporate lawyers, academics, and other relevant stakeholders.
About CCI and IICA
The Competition Commission of India was established in the year 2003 under the Competition Act, 2002 to prevent practices having adverse effect on competition, and to promote and sustain competition in markets, to protect interest of consumers and to ensure freedom of trade in markets in India.
Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) is a think tank under the aegis of Ministry of Corporate Affairs established for holistic treatment of matters impacting on corporate functioning and provide instruction and capacity building in the subject to a wide range of stakeholders drawn from the government, regulators, professionals and public.