Competition Law & Policy

  • A Competition Policy for Growth

    Economic Times, September 29, 2009

    The Planning Commission will soon be conducting a mid-term review of the 11th five year plan (2007-2012). It will also take a look at the issue of a national competition policy, one of its recommendations in its policy document “Inclusive Growth” that was adopted by the National Development Council in December 2007. The new government should revisit the same to ensure that inclusive growth is promoted and poverty reduced.

  • Cartelisation: Blue Collar Corruption

    Space for Transparency, September 24, 2009

    In common parlance, the cartel of oil producing nations (OPEC) is something which is well known, but it is not illegal as it is operated by governments. Albeit, drug cartels are illegal as these are run by criminal elements to market illegal drugs and narcotics. In the competition law lexicon, a cartel is a collusive agreement between firms not to compete with each other, which is illegal and prosecutable.

  • Abuse of Dominance and Monopolisation

    Financial Express, September 22, 2009

    The essence of the new Competition Act, 2002, is to curb abuse of dominance and other anti-competitive practices, rather than frown upon size. On May 20, 2009, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) became ready to begin operations after the notification of sections 3 and 4 of the Act. The sections contain provisions relating to anticompetitive agreements and abuse of dominance, respectively.CCI becomes operational at a time when countries such as the US have expressed renewed determination to pursue abuse of dominance cases under the Obama administration.

  • Corruption in market competition: collusion and cartels

    Global Corruption Report, September 14, 2009

    On a positive note, the close links between corruption and cartels offers opportunities for mutual learning about innovative enforcement strategies. The great success of whistleblower programmes and the lessons learnt on how to design them can inform similar efforts with regard to corruption and vice versa. The potential synergies go well beyond mutual learn-ing, however. When bribery and price-fixing coincide, as in the area of public procurement, competition authorities and anti-corruption authorities may find it useful to expand their cooperation and information-sharing. Exposing firms colluding to bribe their way through a public tender process may hint at the possibility of a more systematic collusion in the broader market. Likewise, the revelation of cartels in a specific industry may prompt the authori-ties to review public tenders for the same products for potential bid-rigging and explore the possibility of claiming compensation for cartel-related damages.

  • Is UPA committed to competition?

    The Economic Times, July 28, 2009

    With the budget capturing headlines everywhere, worries about a distinct reduction in commitment to the promotion of competition observed in the transition from UPA-I to UPA-II have escaped articulation. This is surprising because competition reforms are essential for inclusive growth which continues to be one of UPA’s major objectives. The development potential of competition remians underexploited. But the government seems to have taken its foot off the accelerator just when a further push to competition reforms is necessary.

  • We Can and We Should Do

    The Economic Times, May 22, 2009

    The recommendations for reform in infrastructure governance arising from the splendid work done by the Planning Commission and NGOs have to make the journey from paper to the realm of implementation.

  • When economy slows, cartelisation grows

    Business Line, April 28, 2009

    The Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices (MRTP) Act, 1969 and its implementation thus far shows it is ineffective in dealing with cartels. A new law which prescribes severe penalties for cartelists, therefore, needs to be drafted. In a free-market-driven world, cartelisation is considered an evil. Effective measures need to be taken against the same.

  • Reforming corporate governance

    The Economic Times, March 14, 2009

    The Satyam scandal was unique in many ways. Satyam chairman Ramalinga Raju’s candid confession, when seen in the context of various business criminals who would never have done so, except in the recent case of Madoff is quite unusual. The fact that Satyam was awarded the Golden Peacock award in corporate governance in September 2008 brings in both hubris and complacency.

  • Corporate governance cries out for reforms

    The Financial Express, January 15, 2009

    As the country recovers from the jolt received from the confessions of Satyam’s chairman B Ramalinga Raju and the consequent precipitous slide of the Sensex, it is important to glean the broader lessons for corporate governance and become wiser about the need for swift systemic changes. Corporate India’s reputation and, therefore, its position as a key competitive player in the global financial and corporate environment is at stake.

  • Monopoly is a beast that rules by abusing fair trade, June 23, 2008

    Many businesses, however, either collude through cartels or plainly abuse their dominance through monopolistic and exclusionary behavior. Every other day, cartels are being hauled up by fair-competition agencies around the world. But a more difficult fight is against dominant players abusing their preeminence through monopolistic practices.

  • Tackling abuse of dominance by checking monopolies

    Business Standard, June 21, 2008

    A new competition law passed in 2002, further amended in 2007, will be operational soon. One of its active agenda will be to curb abusive monopolistic practices by businesses.

  • Cartelising inflation?

    The Economic Times, June 14, 2008

    This article examines the allegations of cartelisation against the iron and steel industry. Iron and steel are inputs into a wide variety of goods — from cycles to automobiles, bridges to stadiums, apartments to offices. When iron and steel prices rise, accusations, even if they are not justifiable, are understandable on the grounds of human psychology.

  • Cement cartel: Damning evidence, no action

    The Economic Times, June 04, 2008

    While inflation touches new highs, a finger continues to wag accusingly at producers of basic inputs like cement and steel. Over the last year or so, cement prices have increased by around 15% which exceeds by far the general rise in the level of wholesale prices.

  • Busting Cartels for development

    The OECD Observer, May 28, 2008

    Promoting effective competition in developing countries means getting tougher on cartels in the OECD area, and compensating customers internationally. Through a new competition fund, the OECD could play a lead role in making sure poorer countries get a fairer deal.

  • Competition policy and governance

    The Financial Express, May 18, 2008

    The possible link between competition policy and good governance is often a matter of debate in different forums. However, in the Indian context, the debate seems to be irrelevant. Not because the link is non-existent or irrelevant, but implementation of a Competition Policy is an essential component of governance in India.

  • Freeing farmers from intermediaries

    The Hindu Business Line, April 16, 2008

    One way of reducing the intermediary chain and generating competition among intermediaries is through better road and rail connectivity and improved storage infrastructure such as well-maintained warehouses and modern cold storages.

  • M&As and Corporate India

    The Economic Times, February 01, 2008

    The ultimate test of how the new M&A regulations are applied will depend upon the quality, knowledge and skills of people who man the new authority, and that is where the crux lies.

  • Fair competition vigilance

    The Financial Express, November 03, 2007

    As India is now in a position to operationalise its new Competition Act, 2007, it is worthwhile revisiting some of the drivers for it. The need for a competition law becomes vital when a country adopts economic reforms aimed at converting a command economy into a market-oriented one in which the private sector plays the lead role.

  • Searching new laws to promote competition

    The Economic Times, October 20, 2007

    After setting in motion the process of adopting a new and modern Competition Act in 1999, a new law was adopted in 2002. In 2007, Parliament passed a revised version of the Act which has taken eight years to do so. Despite the delay, the economy continued to grow at 8-9%. An effective competition law, along with other market regulatory laws, ensures that markets are orderly and economic democracy prevails.

  • Airline cartel fines could be better used

    Financial Times, October 16, 2007

    Record fines of more than US$500m have been levied on British Airways and Korean Air Lines by the UK and US competition authorities for their part in a web of global conspiracies in airline travel. These fines will accrue to the British and American treasuries.

  • Once opportunities arise

    The Financial Express, October 03, 2007

    At a recent seminar in Kathmandu on trade in South Asia, the issue of regional trade cooperation figured prominently. The meeting resolved to focus on supply-side issues, which include a rationalisation of standards and implementation of an effective competition policy and law.

  • Customers as enemies…

    The Economic Times, August 18, 2007

    This is a tale of two cartels, which is occupying front pages of pink newspapers in India and elsewhere. One is on the cement industry in India and the other is on the airline sector in the western world.

  • Dealing with vested interests that mar competition

    The Economic Times, June 28, 2007

    Good intentions of the government in pushing reforms are often thwarted by vested interests. So, any policy aimed at accelerating growth must also identify the opposition.

  • Cement cartels: flavour of the day

    The Financial Express, June 10, 2007

    Policymakers need to implement an effective competition law that could be a deterrent and policeman.

  • Vested interests mar sound competition policy

    The Financial Express, May 27, 2007

    Good intentions of the government in pushing reforms anywhere are often thwarted by vested interests. Thus any policy to be adopted for accelerating growth must concomitantly identify the opposition, their concerns and solutions.

  • Useful, but not really so

    Business Standard, March 23, 2007

    The book “Competition Law Today: Concepts, Issues and the Law in Practice” Vinod Dhall (ed.) is a useful compendium of various dimensions of competition law, and can be a good reference to any reader who is looking for all of this in one place.

  • The invisible force that must not fail

    The Financial Express, New Delhi, February 02, 2007

    The amendments in the Competition Act, 2002 as recommended by CII must be ensured. It can provide the competition regulator with resources to ensure that there is some check on any attempt at collusion or industrial dominance that could result in artificial price escalation.

  • Foster competition via law & policy

    Economic Times, December 23, 2006

    If we in India wish to accelerate our growth rate to 10%, we need to not only speed up the establishment of the Competition Commission but also have a pro-active competition policy.

  • Strengthening the competition culture

    Business Line, August 11, 2006

    The plan panel-set up Working Group on Competition Policy must nurture a competitive environment in the government so as to boost overall economic development.

  • Farm growth via market regulation

    The Economic Times, New Delhi, July 22, 2006

    At present it is intermediaries who corner much of the value generated by the farm sector, either by supplying inputs, or by marketing the produce.

  • Reforms need a competition policy framework

    Business Line, June 06, 2006

    It is time the government adopted a National Competition Policy as the mantra for implementing economic reforms.

  • Hauling up cement and oil cartels

    The Economic Times, May 23, 2006

    The new competition law in India has provision for extra territorial jurisdiction and it too can take on abusive cartel behaviour abroad. But when will the new law be implemented is a moot question.

  • How to enhance growth and competitiveness

    The Hindu Business Line, April 12, 2006

    Government policies need to be framed and implemented in harmony with the market process and not in a manner that stalls it.

  • A marriage, but conditions apply

    The Economic Times, March 23, 2006

    Air Sahara’s aviation rights should not automatically accrue to Jet. The latter will instead have to re-apply fro securing these rights. The DGCA should use this window to redistribute Air Sahara’s rights to all airlines.

  • Do M&As need to pass the competition test?

    The Business Standard, February 08, 2006

    A pre-merger notice is required in most countries since using demergers to stop collusive behaviour is akin to unscrambling an omlettte.

  • Competition Bill: still too many flaws

    The Business Standard, January 07, 2006

    From giving the proposed commission some adjudicatory powers which are those of the Tribunal, to staffing it with ex-MRTPC personnel, the list goes on. Since the Competition Commission and the Tribunal have to be headed by those above 60, it will become a parking lot for retirees.

  • Does competition law help the poor?

    The Economic Times, October 28, 2005

    Cartels can operate at all levels in the country and sap the economy. However, the poor do benefit from action against competition abuses if they can access justice.

  • Competition vs regulation — The best way forward

    The Hindu Business Line, September 16, 2005

    In the current draft amendment Bill on the Competition Act, the government has proposed mandatory consultation for regulators with the competition authority, as against the earlier provision of `may’ consult. A welcome move, but better would have been an unambiguous coverage of behavioural problems in the domain of the competition authority.

  • Competition and the UPA regime

    The Economic Times, August 19, 2005

    The government must make a competition assessment of all its policies and practices. This calls for the adoption of a national competition policy to maintain the appropriate dimension.

  • Defanging the Competition Act

    The Business Standard, August 01, 2005

    If the proposed amendments go through, the competition authority will become an eunuch and India will be a laughing stock.

  • Competition policy for 10% growth

    The Economic Times, June 16, 2005

    It’s not enough to have a competition law, we need a competition policy. A ‘competition audit’ of all new and old policies will certainly help the government promote competition.

  • Banking mergers and workers

    The Economic Times, May 20, 2005

    How will banking sector deal with the issue of retrenchment of workers made surplus as a result of mergers and acquisitions.

  • India needs to go a long way

    The Financial Express, India, April 05, 2005

    An effective competition regime is still a distant dream.

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