The Competition Act is a modern legislation that incorporates all the broadly accepted principles of antitrust, such as provisions prohibiting anti-competitive agreements including cartels and bid rigging, and abuse of dominant position, and regulation of mergers. It has provisions relating to the interface of intellectual property and competition, the leniency tool for cartels, provisions for investigative and inquiry powers, as well as for a whole range of remedies. The objectives of the Act are sought to be achieved through the Competition Commission of India (CCI), which has been established by the Central Government.
Enabled by the advocacy mandate of the Competition Act; the Competition Commission of India has started facilitating competition assessment of rules, regulations and government policies, contents of which may inadvertently impact the competitive atmosphere adversely. Considering the domain knowledge of senior functionaries of various government departments; the Commission has engaged them as Nodal Officers for undertaking the competition assessment of their respective Departments. Till date 50 Ministries/Departments of central government have already nominated Nodal Officers for this purpose.
Similar exercise has been extended to all States and Union Territories. Chief Secretaries/Administrators of States/Union Territories have been asked to appoint Nodal Officers to facilitate undertaking the similar exercise with reference to rules/regulations/policies framed by their respective State/UT. Keeping in view the federal structure, the Commission’s role will only be of advisory nature and that of a facilitator. It will be entirely on the State Governments to consider and decide appropriate measures in this regard.
Competition assessment is the process of evaluating government policies, regulations, rules and laws for identification of those which unnecessarily impede competition and suggest measures to redesign the identified ones so that competition is not unduly inhibited. Policies framed by governments have diverse social and economic objectives; competition assessment of these policies mandatorily requires balanced cost-benefit analysis of all their socio-economic goals. The competition assessments of such policies, rules and regulations ensure that the potential harm they may cause to competition should not be more than necessary to achieve these social goals.