Turf of CCI, other regulators needs to be defined: Khurshid

PTI, October 21, 2010

Corporate Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid today underlined the need for the turf of the Competition Commission and other regulators to be more well- defined amid a controversy over the Reserve Bank’s opposition to giving the CCI powers to vet banking mergers.

“Given the evolving nature of a modern competition law in India, there is a need to address the issues of overlapping jurisdiction between the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and sectoral regulators,”Khurshid said at a conference on’Competition Regime — Benefiting the Consumer’.

Khurshid’s comments comes in the backdrop of talks that notification of sections 5 and 6 of the Competition Act may take a while, as they are facing opposition from the Finance Ministry and the RBI on certain issues. The two sections empower the CCI to look into big, market-impacting merger and acquisition deals.

The Reserve Bank has asked for the banking sector to be exempted from the proposed sections of the Competition Act, which would make the CCI’s nod mandatory for all big M&A deals, saying that no other regulator would understand the complexities of bank mergers better than the central bank.

Speaking on the occasion, Law Minister Veerappa Moily further said the Indian economy has numerous instances of anti-competitive practices that are reflected in wild price fluctuations in certain sectors.

Although the CCI became fully functional in May last year, notification of certain sections of the Act is still pending.At present, the commission has the power to check the abuse of dominant position and anti-competitive agreements between companies.

CUTS International Secretary General Pradeep S Mehta said there was a need for a greater political will to take the competition regime forward for the benefit of the common man.Also present was Consumer Affairs Minister K V Thomas, who underlined the need for strengthening consumer organisations by other ministries as well as the CCI.

“Competition policy is the fourth cornerstone of economic governance along with monetary, fiscal and state policy,”he said.

More than 30 consumer organisations from different parts of the country took part in the day-long conference, jointly organised by the CCI, the Department of Consumer Affairs and CUTS International.

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