New Delhi (India), July 24, 2013
Developing an Approach to Assess Benefits of Competition Reforms on Consumers and Producers: CUTS Multicountry Research Study
New Delhi (India), July 24, 2013
CUTS CREW Project focuses on staple food and passenger transport sectors but they act as a “window” of providing the scope of venturing competition reforms in other sectors as well to enhance social and economic welfare in developing countries, said Shyam Khemani, Senior Advisor, CUTS International while delivering the opening address during the First National Reference Group (NRG) Meeting held in India on 24th July, 2013. With support from DFID (UK) and BMZ (Germany) facilitated by GIZ (Germany), CUTS International is implementing this project from November, 2012 over the period of three years in four countries: Ghana, India, The Philippines and Zambia. The NRG is composed of multi-stakeholder experts and practitioners from various groups of competition scholars, practitioners and sectoral stakeholders comprising of 15 members in each of the project country. The objective of the First NRG meeting was to orient the members about the project and its progress, discuss and gather inputs about the methodology of Diagnostic Country Report (DCR) with particular reference to India.
“The project will focus on identifying gaps in the policies which are existence because of vested interests; analysing kind of reforms that have been undertaken and identify what has been left and draw up an advocacy agenda in how do we take them forward with the governments”, asserted Pradeep S Mehta, Secretary General of CUTS. As pointed out by Mr. Chittranjan Dass, Secretary General, All India Confederation of Goods Vehicle Owners’ the results and outcome of this project will act as an impetus to Government policies and reforms particularly in the transportation sector where much of reforms have not taken place in India. Though measuring competition reforms and its impact on consumers and producers has always been a challenge and a slow process in developing countries, but CREW project will shed more light on the “competitive process”, the degree, nature and drivers.
While presenting the overall research methodology, Mr. Ram Tamara, Managing Director of Nathan Economic Consulting India Private Limited, a subsidiary of Nathan Associates, stated that focus should be more on consumer and producer benefits that on welfare. Further, the study should highlight the regulatory landscape, business practices and policies that have led to competition or competition enhancing reforms in the selected sectors. In the lively question and answer session one of the major issues in the staple food sector that should be highlighted in the study is the Model APMC Act which was circulated by the Central Government to the States in 2003. A comparative analysis of why few states have effectively implemented the same whereas other states have not will make this study more fruitful and effective. Further, collusive practices is observed in the agricultural market and there is need of regulation in this sector stated Rajesh Chaddha, Senior Fellow of NCAER.
Prof. P. G. Chengappa, National Professor of ICAR stated that focus should be equally on the inputs market, access to finance by the farmers, labour market, commodity exchanges, research & development in agriculture, implication of reforms on small farmers and role of NGOs in providing development services. In the transportation sector greater emphasis should be on the Motor Vehicles Act which is the regulatory framework for road transport highlighted Prof. Sriraman, Department of Economics, University of Mumbai. Over the next three years, CUTS International will implement this project along with its partners in respective countries and develop an approach which would help in assessing benefits of competition reforms on consumers and producers in select two sectors.