Competition Commission of India (CCI) – Promoting Fair Competition for the Consumers.
Free and fair competition is one of the pillars of an efficient market economy. Therefore, competition has become a driving force in the global economy. In India, Competition Commission of India (CCI) was set up in March, 2009 under the Competition Act, 2002 to protect and promote competition. Sections 3 and 4 of the Competition Act, relating to anticompetitive agreements and abuse of dominance were notified in May, 2009, while sections 5 and 6, relating to mergers and acquisitions, were notified from June 1, 2011. The Indian competition law has thus fully come into force. The overarching aim of the Commission is to make markets work well for the benefit of consumers.
Cartelization doesn’t pay: Cement companies penalized
The Commission has found cement manufacturers in violation of the provisions of the Competition Act, 2002 which deals with anticompetitive agreements including cartels. The order was passed pursuant to investigation carried out by the Director General (DG) upon information filed by Builders Association of India. The Commission has imposed penalty on eleven cement manufacturers named in the information at the rate of 0.5 times of their profit for the year 2009-10 and 2010-11. The penalty so worked out amounts to more than six thousand six hundred crores.
CCI completes one successful year of Combinations Regulation (Merger Review)
One of the Commission’s most significant priorities has been to build an efficient merger control regime.
The merger review process by the Commission has completed one year on May 31, 2012. During this period, the Commission received sixty one notices. All the notices have been cleared within the self-imposed limit of thirty days.
The Competition Commission of India, after gaining experience of implementation of the Combination Regulations for almost nine months amended the Regulations. This was done with a view to provide relief to the corporate entities from making filings for combinations unlikely to raise adverse competition concerns, reduce their compliance requirements, make filings simpler and move towards certainty in the application of the Act.
CCI Keeps Promise of Fast Track Clearance of Combination Filings
The Commission approved 18 combination filings during this quarter. All filings were cleared within a period of 30 days from the date of filing the notice under Combinations Regulations 2011. It was held in all these cases that the proposed combinations were not likely to cause appreciable adverse effect on competition in relevant markets in India.
i) Alleged Abuse of Dominance: The Competition Commission of India has initiated an investigation against the global internet giant Google, for its alleged involvement in anti-competitive practices in India. Google is currently battling antitrust probes in five continents.
ii) Alleged Abuse of Dominant Position by Coal India Limited: It was brought to the notice of CCI that due to the monopoly position of CIL, it has been able to indulge in abuse of its monopoly power by way of enforcing a non-transparent contract regarding the quality and other parameters of coal. While implementing the terms of the contract, CIL is supplying poor quality coal, which is lumpy, sticky and wet. The international practice of washing coal is also not being followed.CCI found that there exists a prima facie and directed the DG to investigate the same.
i) Publicity Campaign: Competition Act mandates Competition Advocacy to promote competition, create awareness and impart training about competition issues. CCI had initiated a print publicity campaign as part of advocacy initiative. Advertisements were released nation-wide in Hindi, English as well as the prominent regional languages.
ii) Second National Level Essay Competition 2012: CCI organised its second national level “Annual Essay Competition”, taking cognizance of the fact that students are important stakeholders in the realm of competition law. The announcement for competition elicited overwhelming response from students across the country. Students spanning from remote corners of the country to the metro cities participated in the competition. The overwhelming response to the competition can be gauged from the fact that even Indian students studying in foreign universities sent their entries for the competition.
i) Eminent Persons Advisory Group Constituted: The Commission has constituted an Eminent Persons Advisory Group (EPAG) to get inputs and expert advice from eminent persons in various fields on a broad range of issues relevant for effective fulfillment of CCI’s mandate. The first meeting of the EPAG was held on July 23, 2012 at CCI office.
ii) Knowledge Partnership Initiative (KPI) Launched: CCI has launched a new initiative “Knowledge Partnership Initiative (KPI)” with the objective of helping to build a strong knowledge base in the field of competition law, promoting competition law compliance and expanding the outreach of competition law in the country. Under this initiative, a meeting with the prominent law schools in India was organised on September 14, 2012 in CCI.
iii) Distinguished Visitor Knowledge Sharing Series (DVKS): Mr. U.K. Sinha, Chairman, Security & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) delivered the fourth lecture under the “Distinguished Visitor Knowledge Sharing Series” on “Securities Market Regulations – An Overview” on September 10, 2012 in CCI. Such lectures play an instrumental role in capacity building of CCI officials.
iv) Capacity Building: Knowledgeable and well trained professionals are vital for effective enforcement of the Competition Act. The Commission has been regularly organising capacity building events during last three years in collaboration with mature jurisdictions like US and EU.
v) Engaging with the world: Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the US Antitrust Agencies Signed: MOU is expected to strengthen the existing friendly relations between Indian and US competition authorities
vi) CCI Chairperson Elected to Chair UNCTAD’s Twelfth Session of Intergovernmental Group of Experts (IGE) on Competition Law and Policy
vii) CCI Annual Day Workshop in collaboration with UNCTAD: Competition Commission of India (CCI) commemorated its Annual Day i.e. enforcement of the Competition Law in the country by organizing a workshop jointly with UNCTAD on May 21-22, 2012 in New Delhi on “Competition Law & State Owned Enterprises”. The workshop was inaugurated by Dr. M. Veerappa Moily, Hon’ble Minister of Corporate Affairs. The workshop was attended by more than hundred participants, which included CMDs of NTPC, Oil India, IOCL and Shipping Corporation of India, senior officials from various PSUs, representatives from academia, professional organizations etc.