9th Progress Report as on March 31, 2008

point SUMMARY
point REGISTRATION
point GOVERNANCE
point STRATEGIC BUSINESS PLAN
point FUNDING

point INFRASTRUCTURE

point INTELLECTUAL RESOURCES

point OUTREACH

ANNEXURE 1


1. SUMMARY

This ninth progress report summarises developments of CIRC during the period January to March, 2008. The Strategic Business Plan (SBP) has been finalised; premises have been hired; and registration for CIRC has been done. In this reporting period, collaboration has been secured from Competition, Regulation European Summer School and Conference (CRESSE), Athens University of Economics and Business to provide capacity building on Competition Policy and Law. In terms of events, one training programme on Commercial Diplomacy (Strengthening Skills on Commercial & Economic Diplomacy), and a Parliamentarians’ Panel Discussion on ‘Political Economy of Regulation in India – What do we need to do’ was successfully organised by CIRC. In addition to the above, CIRC has developed proposals on running capacity building initiatives in various new sectors outlined in the SBP.

For updates on the activities discussed above, please visit: http://www.circ.in/about.aspx

2. REGISTRATION

On January 18, 2008 CIRC got registered as a society at New Delhi under the Societies Registration Act 1860. The registration certificate has been received to this effect. Other formalities such as opening of bank account, registration under Section 12 A and 80 G of Income Tax Act and Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 1976 have now been initiated. There has been a delay in the above-mentioned formalities due to an error in the pin code mentioned on the registration certificate. After several efforts, an amended certificate was received on March 26, 2008 and now other formalities are being followed up.

3. GOVERNANCE

3.1 Governing Council: The Governing Council (GC) has been extended by adding two members to it. They are Mr. Amit Kapur, Partner, J Sagar Associates and Ms Ritu Anand, Chief Economic Advisor, Infrastructure Development and Finance Company Limited (IDFC). They would also be members of the Managing Committee (MC) and would be closely involved with the institute’s functioning. Dr Subir Gokarn, Chief Economist, CRISIL as a member of the Executive Committee of Consumer Unity and Trust Society, will be a Special Invitee to the GC and MC meetings.

The third meeting for the GC has been proposed for August 11, 2008. The agenda for this meeting would be discussed during the IX Managing Committee meeting scheduled for April 18, 2008.

For the constitution of the  Governing Council please see: http://www.circ.in/govrn_council.htm

3.2 Managing Committee: The eighth meeting was held on February 8, 2008 at New Delhi. In the meeting, it was discussed at length whether commercial diplomacy should be a part of CIRC’s programme areas or not? It was agreed that CIRC should concentrate on the streams of competition policy and law and infrastructural regulation while commercial diplomacy would be handled by CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment (CUTS CITEE).

3.2.1 The key issues of the above-mentioned meeting are as follows:
a) Director: Names that were suggested during the meeting are being followed up. GC members have also been approached for identifying some potential candidate for this post. Once the director is in place, along with faculty and other support staff, the Institute would be able to execute in a more systematic manner. All possible options/sources are being explored.
b) Start-up activities: It was suggested to divide the managerial activities of CIRC into two streams: academic and administrative, and not burden the Director with both sets of tasks. Three-four faculty members and a Director are being looked for. Faculty may be on part/full time basis.
c) Course structuring: CIRC should begin the process of course structuring instead of waiting for the Director’s recruitment. Two ongoing CUTS projects, namely Competition, Regulation and Development Research Forum (CDRF) and India Competition Regulation Report (ICRR) would be transferred to CIRC. Course modules have been designed on Contract Management & Negotiations and Public Private Partnerships. These modules would serve to provide training to the target clientele. The above-mentioned courses have been discussed at point number 7.3.

For the constitution of the managing committee members, please log on to http://www.circ.in/manag_comt.htm

4. STRATEGIC BUSINESS PLAN

As mentioned in previous reports, the Strategic Business Plan (SBP) prepared by Ernst & Young provides the Institute with a business plan for the next ten years. The SBP categorises CIRC as a High Potential Knowledge Institute (HPKI). The proposed activities under the SBP have been put into groupings, which are described hereunder.

Flagship or Core Capacity Building Programmes: The core courses would address the fundamental issues under the broad framework of regulation and competition. The following core programmes are proposed to begin with:

  1.  Core programme on energy sector regulation and competition

  2.  Core programme on Public Private Partnerships

  3.  Core programme on bid process management, contract negotiations
     and alternate dispute resolution

  4.  Core programme on infrastructure economics and regulation

While it is anticipated that at least one such core course would be held per year for each of the subjects identified, the more popular courses could be organised more frequently. It is also anticipated that over time CIRC will deliver such courses with increasing frequency, and at multiple locations. In particular if there is donor support available, there could be substantial demand in Africa and South East Asia that such courses could address.

Custom Programmes – These would be designed and delivered from time to time based on emerging demand. Such courses could be of varying duration, and the mode and location of delivery would depend on the origin of the demand.

Partnership Programmes - One of the key findings of the supply side analysis has been that there are few programmes available from the present set of capacity building institutes that have been proactively working with the client organisations to develop and deliver custom programmes, and to deliver them based on the needs of the client organisations. In fact, CIRC can work with the client organisations right from the identification of capacity building needs, design and delivery of the programmes, to the measurement of effectiveness of training delivery.

5. FUNDING

5.1 Additional Central Assistance
 
One-time grant under Additional Central Assistance (ACA) would be sought once the issue of land with the Government of Rajasthan is sorted out. (See para 6.2 for details on the land issue)

5.2 Funding Agencies
Discussions are on with several donor agencies, which have not been formally approached for support as yet. We now need to be sent a funding proposal, along with the copy of the SBP to secure funding. The funding proposal would be ready by the end of the next quarter.

5.3 Friends of CIRC

Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation (IDFC) has agreed to lead a ‘Friends of CIRC’ (FoC) network in Mumbai. The FoC would help to raise the needed start up capital. CIRC requires bridge funding and for which a Start-up Cost proposal has been submitted to Shri Rajiv Lall, Managing Director and CEO, IDFC along with a letter of appeal from CUTS to contribute in the establishment of this novel institute. Shri Rajiv Lall would be sending out letters of request to potential philanthropists in Mumbai and elsewhere under the FoC network. One way to raise the required funding, is to encourage potential philanthropists in supporting Chairs in CIRC. Companies and organisations such as Tatas; IDFC; BSES; NTPC; Airtel; Shell, British Gas, RBI, and IDBI etc. could be approached for this purpose over time.

5.4 Funding under the MPLAD Scheme
Under Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) scheme, funds can only be utilised for brick and mortar purposes and not for procurement of land. Therefore, it has been decided that the funds would be apportioned towards the development of the campus once land has been secured. Hence, follow up with MPs and nominated members of Rajya Sabha are being done gradually, as land has still not been procured. In the initial stages, CIRC would function from a hired premise, as land procurement and construction of the building would take a significant amount of time and funds. In response to the letters of support sent by CIRC, some of the MPs have shown interest and they are being kept informed on the progress of CIRC.

6. INFRASTRUCTURE

6.1 Premises
CIRC has signed a Leave and License Agreement for hiring premise at B-2, Greater Kailash Enclave II, New Delhi 110048. The license shall commence from April 16, 2008 and shall expire on April 15, 2011. Necessary logistic arrangements such as hiring of the support staff, etc have been initiated.

6.2 Land
At present, allotment of land at concessional/token price to CUTS is under consideration by the Government of Rajasthan. CIRC campus would be constructed on this piece of land in due course of time, provided the land is granted. Follow up is being done on a continuous basis.

7. INTELLECTUAL RESOURCES

7.1 Visiting Faculty: The Visiting Faculty members are constantly updated on the progress of CIRC. They contribute as resource persons in the training programmes and other activities of CIRC.

List of the Visiting Faculty members is available at:
http://www.circ.in/visit-fac.htm

7.2 Subject Expert Groups:
Subject expert groups have been formulated to provide guidance in structuring of the course material and modules. Their advice is sought on project proposals; they are requested to develop concept notes; contribute in the newsletter CIRCULAR by way of write-ups; comment on the event reports received after the training programme in order to evaluate the effectiveness and usefulness of the trainings and how to improve and do better in the future.

CIRC is planning to organise subject expert groups’ meeting in New Delhi as soon as start-up funding is available. The meeting would be scheduled once the new office is set and faculty is in place. It would also be subject to availability of these experts to seek their valued guidance in the new sectors identified in the SBP and the course modules to be designed.

7.3 Course Development:
Proposals have been developed on the niche areas identified in the SBP. State Governments have been approached with a proposal for organising specialised courses for their staff in the government and utilities, especially in the fields of water supply, waste disposal and urban infrastructure reforms. A proposal has also recently been developed on Contract Management and Negotiations, which has been sent out for comments to the expert group.

CIRC has also submitted a bid to the Competition Commission of India (CCI), to develop courses and undertake capacity building activities for the CCI staff on competition policy and law. The bid has been jointly submitted with CRESSE, with whom we have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). In this bid, CRESSE is the main partner, while CIRC is the national partner, as per the requirement of the bid. The results are awaited on the bid.

A proposal has also been submitted to the Indian Railways on an orientation programme on Public Private Partnerships (PPPs). Capacity building initiatives have been suggested for the senior staff of the Indian Railways and under this initiative four training programmes have been proposed in four metropolitan cities of India. Approval from the Ministry of Finance has to be taken on this proposal.

7.3.1 Online Courses
CIRC along with CUTS Hanoi Resource Centre are participating in a project entitled “Capacity Building on Competition, Trade and Business Environment Development through Advanced ICT Learning”, proposed by Center for Development and Integration (CDI), under the World Bank’s Vietnam Blended Learning Programme (VBLP), from March 2008 to July 2008. Under this project training courses on competition issues would be organised with a combination of face-to-face and distance learning, through the use of information and communication technology (ICT).

This would be carried out by way of video-conferencing. As a step to develop these courses, CIRC has identified experts in these areas, approached related organisations for tie-ups and have gained affiliation from some, while others are being pursued. Institute for Public Private Partnerships (IP3) which runs online as well as contact courses on PPPs has been approached.

7.4 Tie Ups and Affiliations:
CIRC is on the lookout for organisations and centres having common interests and similar work area for prospects of collaboration either on a long-term or case-to-case basis. These collaborations help CIRC build its brand as an institute of its own kind in providing quality training programmes, course material and gain access to a wide range of renowned and experienced people.

During this reporting period, tie-up with Competition, Regulation European Summer School and Conference (CRESSE), Greece has been formalised. The two centres would work together on capacity building activities and educational programmes of mutual interest with special reference to competition policy and law.

List of affiliations is available at: http://circ.in/links.htm

Discussions are on with several other organisations to secure collaboration. They are:

  •  National Law University (NLU), Jodhpur, India

  •  Fordham Competition Law Institute (FCLI), UK

  •  International Financial Services (IFSL), UK

  •  ASEAN Competition Institute (ACI), Indonesia

  •  Institute for Public Private Partnerships (IP3), USA

  •  Loyola University Chicago School of Law, USA

8. OUTREACH

8.1 Website - www.circ.in

The website is updated from time to time to reflect the activities taking place. With the premises being hired and new staff recruited, most of the activities would soon commence. Recruitment of full-time IT professionals is being done to maintain the website and carry out work on developing online course. The website has been linked to various search engines. Groundwork for starting online courses has already begun, which includes collating materials on various online courses, their pattern of delivery, identification of resource persons, etc.
 

8.2 Newsletter – CIRCular
CIRCular for the period January to March, 2008 has been published and is annexed with the report. The issue carries a special article on Competition Regime and Quality of Regulation in India by Dr Vijay Vir Singh, Fellow, CUTS International.

CIRCular can be viewed at http://www.circ.in/publication.htm

8.3 Marketing
To reach out to the target clientele CIRC uses multiple platforms. Marketing of the institute would be taken up in full stream once the new Director and other support staff is in place. Some efforts that are being carried out at present are:

Advertising through Internet to clientele as per the database: Each issue of the newsletter is e-mailed to a list in the database. The database contains CIRC’s target clientele i.e. civil servants, staff of regulatory bodies, civil society organisations, researchers, professionals, academicians and business and is updated on a regular basis. Event specific E-templates are also sent out to our target clientele.

Write-ups and discussion forums: Write-ups on a regular basis are sent to Learning Curve, Economic Times, ET Knowledge Curve, etc. The CIRC-Forum, which has been designed and used as a platform to spread information about CIRC, is kept active by way of postings and announcements of events that are being conducted under CIRC banner. Drawing from real life cases, the forum offers a platform to inform various clients about the relevance of the capacity building solutions offered by CIRC. The members of this forum include CIRC’s target clientele as mentioned above. Other than this, the participants of various CIRC workshops and events are added as members of this forum on an ongoing basis.

Registration in the group can be done at: circ-forum@googlegroups.com

Collateral: Brochure, Inserts, event-specific fliers, nomadic stand etc: Event-specific fliers and E-templates are designed and sent to the clientele for promoting the event and gaining participation. Nomadic stand for CIRC has been designed and is used during various events. The brochure for CIRC is on hold awaiting some more affiliations.

Press/News Release: Press releases are also made prior to the events as a marketing tool. The various press releases can be viewed at the following link: http://circ.in/media.htm

Classified Advertisements: This activity is event specific and is undertaken for participant mobilisation.

8. 4 Major Activities
During this quarter two major kinds of activities have taken place. One is a three-day training programme on Commercial & Economic Diplomacy and the other, a parliamentarians’ panel discussion on the “Political Economy of Regulation in India – What do we need to do?”. These are discussed below in detail.

8.4.1 Training Seminars
CIRC has so far organised seven training seminars on Competition Policy & Law (CPS) and four on Commercial Diplomacy (CDS). A combination of Indian and international resource persons have contributed to these events.

For more information on these events please visit:http://www.circ.in

  • Training programme on “Strengthening Skills on Commercial and Economic Diplomacy” (CDS.04) for Senior-level Civil Servants and Executives from January 09-11, 2008 at Jaipur. The Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India supported CIRC to conduct the training programme to address the need to fill the vacuum that exists in terms of absence of institutional base to offer training/educational programmes on commercial and economic diplomacy in India. It had participants comprising government officials from various ministries/departments of the Government of India handling work related to international trade and negotiations on various bilateral and multilateral issues.
    For more details please visit: http://circ.in/erCDS04.htm

8.4.2 Miscellaneous
A Parliamentarians’ Panel Discussion on ‘The Political Economy of Regulation in India – What do we need to do’ was organised in New Delhi, March 31, 2008. The objective of the panel discussion was to debate and evolve a consensus for an effective regulatory regime in India. The panel discussion comprised of distinguished parliamentarians: Santosh Bagrodia (Cong), Sharad A Joshi (Ind), Suresh Prabhu (Shiv Sena), and Vallabhbhai Kathiriya (BJP). Creon Butler, Deputy High Commissioner of UK, delivered the opening address. Pradeep S Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS International welcomed the guests and initiated the discussion and Shri Nitin Desai moderated the debate. The key points that emerged from this discussion are as follows:

  1. The Indian regulatory system has evolved differently as compared to the way it has evolved in other parts of the world. In India, the independent regulator is functioning in place of the ministry. Does it indicate a lack of genuine distance between the political process and regulator?

  2. Indian regulatory system has combined legislative, executive and judicial functions. There has to be clarity as to which functionary the regulators are responsible to.

  3. In practice the regulator is still controlled by the government, which raises the issue of independence of regulators.

  4. Is the regulator a barrier to the free operation of market forces?

  5. How do we operate a system of independent regulators so that it really fulfills the basic purpose of systematic management?

  6. There is a dire need to strengthen the ability of parliamentarians for which they should be assisted with research staff as is done in several other countries.

  7. The exercise of political power in economy is not directed towards substantive ends. Efforts are required to reduce the discretionary power of the government whether through independent regulators or any other device

Under the India Competition Regulation Report project, CIRC would address some of the above-mentioned issues.

For a detailed report please visit: (http://circ.in/PPD.htm).

8.5 Events Planned

  • Training programme on Competition Policy & Law, requested by the Ethiopian government, would be custom-designed for participants from government agencies including Members and Staff of the Trade Practices Investigation Commission Secretariat, Ethiopia May 12-16, 2008.

  • International training seminar on Competition Policy & Law, second quarter of 2008 at New Delhi.

  • Orientation programmes on PPP for Indian Railway senior management officials. CIRC in collaboration with IDFC and ITS would be offering these trainings.

  • Vietnam Blended Learning Programme via video conferencing, May 19/June 2/June 6, 2008.

    The tentative calendar is annexed at Annexure 1

Annexure 1

*CIRC – Calendar of Events (April-June, 2008)

S No.

Event

Time

Venue

1

Training Programme on Competition Policy & Law

May 12-16, 2008

Addis Ababa

2

Capacity Building on Competition, Trade and Business Environment Development through Advanced ICT learning

May 19, 2008
June 2, 2008
June 6, 2008
 

Video Conferencing from New Delhi to Vietnam

3

Orientation Programme on Public Private Partnerships for Railways

2008

New Delhi
Mumbai
Kolkata
Chennai

* This is subject to change. Please check for updates on www.circ.in