Need to mainstream competition in our economy
New Delhi, January 13, 2017
“We must mainstream competition in our
economy to grow and to be able to deal with technological
disruptions”, said Rajeev Kher, former Commerce Secretary of India
and Member, COMPAT, at a panel discussion on “Politics of
Competition Reforms in India”, organised by CUTS International in
Delhi on 12th January.
The panel constituted of renowned experts in the field of
competition such as Allan Fels (Former Chairman, Australian
Competition and Consumer Commission), Frederic Jenny (Chairman,
OECD Competition Committee) and Augustine Peter (Member,
Competition Commission of India).
CUTS Secretary General and a trade & competition expert, Pradeep
Mehta moderated the panel, while Ashley Bell, Minister -
Counsellor (Economic) of the Australian High Commission, as
co-sponsors, welcomed all the guests and spoke of the importance
of competition reform in Australia.
The event saw participation from government institutions,
practitioners, lawyers, academia, media, research institutions and
In his opening remarks, Pradeep Mehta spoke about the impact of
competition on various legislations, giving examples of the high
costs associated with anti-competitive practices. “However, the
government has introduced many competition-enhancing measures such
as the goods & service tax (GST), claiming it to be one of the
biggest competition reforms in the country” said Mehta.
Mehta added: “Many other competition reforms and
business-facilitating measures are also being promoted, but we
still need a competition policy statement which has been drafted
by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs in 2011”.
“Competition is imperative for the economic and social growth of a
nation, as well as to ensuring consumer welfare. After realising
the benefits emanating out of healthy competition in the market,
many countries, across the globe, have adopted a competition
policy to their framework”, said Allan Fels.
The conversation at the panel discussion yielded important
perspectives on reforming the state of competition in India, which
may aid in propelling India’s growth. Owing to a level playing
ground for all players, healthy competition will facilitate
industrial growth and inflow of investments.
Fels also spoke highly of the GST, claiming it to be
pro-competitive. He claimed that the increasing digitisation of
the economy will fuel competition issues in the future. He also
emphasised the need for a strong and inclusive political will to
achieve competitive neutrality.
The main roadblock to the acceptance of policy reforms, is that
they are being tried to be sold as dynamic macroeconomic reforms,
whereas they are needed to be sold as static microeconomic
policies” said Frederic Jenny.
Jenny asserted that effective competition law in a country may
result in a rise in productivity as well as economic growth. He
stated that though competition may not ensure poverty alleviation,
but anti-competitive practices cause adverse impacts on the poor,
who are hit the worst.
Rajeev Kher rooted for competition at the municipal level and
claimed that the competition in the future will be defined by
Finally, Augustine Peter claimed that many of the existing
policies and regulations are the biggest obstacles to a healthy
competition. He spoke about the proposal of CCI to carry out
competition impact assessments of such policies using the OECD and
The discussion was followed by a round of questions from the
participants, which made the session information rich. “Owing to
the advent of disruptive technologies, it is critical to ensure
competitive neutrality, so as to realise the advantages of the
newer models, while optimising the benefits of the former. This
may only be achieved through devising optimum policies and
regulations, assisted by a strong and dedicated political will”,
Dr Arvind Mayaram, former Finance Secretary of India and Chairman,
CUTS Institute for Regulation & Competition proposed the vote of
thanks and spoke about the way forward, stressing on how the
Government should mainstream competition in its economic policy
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