The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) is pushing for the setting up of a Cabinet Committee on Competition to address turf wars between the Competition Commission of India and sectoral regulators.
In a note for the Union Cabinet recently,the MCA has argued that while sectoral regulators are there to ensure quality service at affordable rates in their respective domain,but promoting competition and prevention of anti-competitive behaviour may not be high on their agenda,which could trigger conflicts. The conflicts between CCI and the sectoral regulators could be caused by legislative ambiguity or jurisdictional overlap or legislative omission, the MCA has noted. Interpretational biases of the officials or experts involved,it has said,could further aggravate the conflicts. Such conflicts may be fanned by market players and legal arbitrators for obvious reasons,it has said in the note.
The MCA said such conflicts are bound to hurt consumers and uncertainties that go with them can increase investment risks. It reminded that conflict resolution by a court could be time consuming and is generally the last resort of the aggrieved parties. In short,there is a strong case for a framework within which issues of mutual concern to the competition regulator and sectoral regulators could be dealt with, the ministry said. Citing this,it has demanded creation of a Cabinet Committee on Competition (CCC) for approving priorities for fostering policies and practices including regulatory reforms that enhance competition in any sector. It has also pitched for the CCC for dealing with any jurisdictional grid-locks among the sectoral regulators or the competition regulator.
Among the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the CCC should be to issue suitable directions for efficient implementation of National Competition Policy. It should also continuously review the policy reforms in various sectors based on the outcomes of Competition Impact Assessment undertaken in those sectors,the MCA suggested.
The MCA also sought the Union Cabinets approval for setting up of an Advisory Committee under the chairmanship of the minister for corporate affairs and secretaries comprising from economic ministries,consumer affairs and representatives form 5-6 states on a rotational basis,besides two members from the industry and an economist and two experts.
The said committee on the competition policy will provide broad guidance to the MCA for setting up agenda to achieve the goals as enshrined in the policy. In addition,it will act as a bridge between the states and the Centre and other stakeholders.