Report December 19, 2011

Panel Discussion on “Building Capacity for an Effective Competition Regime in India.”

The event started with the signing of the MoUs by PSM and Prof. Ranbir Singh and the formal launch of the course on Competition Policy and Law by CIRC and National Law University, Delhi. Thereafter, the panel discussion on “Building Capacity for an Effective Competition Regime in India” ensued.

John Davies
The panel discussion began with John Davies emphasising that capacity building is about learning how to do things better and the same holds true for the field of competition as well. He highlighted that a competition enforcement agency should get on with its job proactively in its nascent stages itself. This helps it to gain momentum right from the beginning. Davies also underscored the importance of learning from the experiences of other competition agencies worldwide. He gave the example of the UK Competition agency which came of age in 2002. Davies laid emphasis on the importance of designing remedies effectively and how the UK competition agency lost three appeals in 2003 on account of poor analysis of remedies. He also presented the example of the competition agency in South Africa and that it is regarded as one of the most successful competition agencies globally. Davies cited the example of the competition watch dog in Mauritius which had employed foreign experts as well. Davies concluded by saying that the objective of building capacity in the area should be aimed at the larger goal of inculcating a competition culture in the economy.

Dhanendra Kumar
Dhanendra Kumar complimented PSM and Prof. Ranbir Singh for the launch of the first-ever course on competition policy and law in the country. He confessed that the level of awareness about competition law in the country is limited and enhancing the knowledge base in the field would pay off in the long run. He stated that if competition culture is inculcated in the economy, the current problems of inflation, low manufacturing and others could be dealt with effectively. Dhanendra Kumar emphasised that the National Competition Policy which is in its finalisation stages has been drafted carefully, drawing from good points of other competition policies across the globe. He said that we are suffering from self- inflicted wounds by hitherto being without a competition policy and stated that though late India would be greatly benefited by having a National Competition Policy in place. Mr. Kumar laid thrust on the fact that competition policy has an important bearing on other public policies and therefore can be used to tackle issues in other areas as well. He highlighted that the CCI has had great five years in the beginning of its existence, great three years in the present stage and hoped that it would continue to grow stronger with each passing year.

Prof. (Dr.) Ranbir Singh
Prof. Ranbir Singh began by giving a brief overview of the landscape of legal education in India with particular reference to competition law. He stated that at present there are 900 colleges of law in the country, 400 universities imparting legal education, 150 law departments, 15 National Law Universities and 4 state law universities. He stressed on the fact that legal education in India is much sought after and has gained tremendous popularity in the last two decades. While more and more students are turning to law as a career, there is a dearth of good faculty in different areas of the subject. This is particularly true of competition law. Prof. Ranbir Singh expressed confidence that the association between NLU, Delhi and CIRC would go a long way in developing expertise in the field of competition law which is currently lacking in the country.

Pradeep S. Mehta
He drew attention of the audience to the current challenge of increasing acceptability of competition law among businessmen, members of the polity and society at large. He underlined the importance of getting skilled people in the area and the need for continuous R&D as the field is still evolving. He said that making common people conversant with the concept of competition law is equally important since it is aimed at achieving larger goals for the society.