New Delhi, January 29, 2015
“We need to adopt the long pending National Competition Policy so as to create a market friendly economy to enable us to grow and create jobs”, said Yashwant Sinha, former Finance Minister of India.
Mr Sinha was speaking at a Roundtable organised by CUTS International here today. The meeting was organised to push the draft National Competition Policy which has been prepared in 2011 and is awaiting adoption.
Dr Veerappa Moily, MP and Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance could not attend but his speech was distributed.
“National Competition Policy has the potential to trigger second generation reforms in India and can push economic growth by 4-5 per cent, over a period of time, thus achievement of double digit growth”, said Dr Moily.
Nearly 50 participants which included MPs such as Mr. K. N Singh Deo, and experts such as Dr Pronab Sen, Chairman, National Statistical Commission, Mr Dhanendra Kumar, Chairman, Committee on NCP, Mr. T. K. Arun, Opinion Editor, Economic Times, Dr Shekhar Shah, DG, NCAER, Mr R. Gopalan, former Economic Affairs Secretary, Mr Hamish McDonald, Economic Counsellor, Australian High Commission spoke at the meeting which was chaired by Mr Arun Maira, former Member, Planning Commission and President of CUTS International.
Mr Pradeep S. Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS International, spoke about various studies done by them to make the case for competition reforms. He recalled that many of the reforms can lead to higher revenues. He also acknowledged certain competition reforms in the pipeline such as the GST which would put all states at a common ground to compete. Asserting open access in the electricity sector is another competition reform.
Mr Arun Maira said that enough emphasis has been already been made on the need for competition policy, the important thing to deliberate is ‘How’ best to implement this, building the right buy-in among stake holders.
He said the desirable end state should be where the regulators encourage innovation and learning, in the process learning itself. He said the newly constituted NITI Aayog can play an important role in advancing such a policy as its mandate is to improve processes and to further federal participation.
In conclusion Mr Mehta suggested the way forward through concrete steps on continuing with the cost benefit studies, conducting round tables and engaging with media and stakeholders.
Mr Sinha suggested CUTS to prepare a brief memorandum and seek an audience with the Prime Minister. Another suggestion was having Standing Parliamentary Committees on various subjects to champion the effort towards a comprehensive competition policy.