Mr. Anurag Goyal, Member, Competition Commission of India (CCI) and faculty members of Indian Institute of Management – Raipur held discussions on various facets of competition. Earlier in the day, Mr. Anurag Goyal addressed the students and told them about the activities of CCI.
Competition is the best means of ensuring that the common man has an access to the broadest range of good and services at the best possible price. A healthy competition between companies ensures that markets transform from a sellers’ market to a buyers’ market. Producers, competing against each other have a greater incentive to innovate and specialize. All this results in reduced costs and greater choice for the customer.
While origins of competition laws can be traced back to Chanakya and Roman times, the modern version of competition laws came into being with the Sherman Act of 1890 in the United States. The Sherman Act was aimed to break the monopolies of large companies like JP Morgan, Rockefeller and Carnegie. During the late 1800s, the three businessmen monopolized steel, electricity, fuel (petroleum and kerosene) and transportation (railroads) in the US, thereby controlling not just the American economy but also politics. The Sherman Act sought to break these monopolies. The Sherman Act was later called the antitrust law or more generally the competition law.
After Independence, the Indian state decided to follow strategy of planned economic development as the means for growth in agriculture, as well as in the industrial sector. Much emphasis was laid on public sector, and the production and prices used to be determined/fixed by the Government. Indian industries were protected as competition from abroad was restricted by the Government policies in terms of quantitative restrictions, high tariff walls and restrictions on foreign investment. A review of the position in 1965 [Monopolies Inquiry Commission Report] indicated that there was high concentration of economic power in over 85 per cent of industries in India. The Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices (MRTP) Act, 1969 was, therefore, passed and India became one of the first developing countries to have a competition law.
In the wake of economic reforms of 1991, the MRTP act was revised to put in place a strong legislation that could dispense justice in commercial matters. The Competition Act was passed in 2002. The Competition Commission of India is the quasi-judicial body established for enforcing provisions of the Competition Act. The goal of CCI is goal is to create and sustain fair competition in the economy that will provide a ‘level playing field’ to the producers and make the markets work for the welfare of the consumers.
The discussion between the faculty of IIM Raipur and Mr. Anurag Goyal, Member, CCI focused on how the country could benefit by leveraging on each other’s strengths. While CCI has a huge repository of data, information and cases, the IIM Raipur faculty members are extremely skilled researchers.
Dr. B.S. Sahay, Director, IIM Raipur suggested that the country needs to assess its competitiveness both within the states and among other countries. He suggested that this could be done by creating an Indian competitiveness report. Such a report shall assess the states’ competitiveness on factors like Infrastructure, Institutions, macro and micro economic environment, education and training, healthcare, market efficiencies, technological development, availability of funds and resources, innovation, etc. It was agreed that such a report shall be an annual feature from IIM Raipur.
A possibility of the faculty members and fellow students of IIM Raipur using this data to write cases, work on competition – related research that has both academic and practical implications was discussed in great detail. Areas of collaboration like research on competition and mergers and acquisition; agri-business; sectorial; consumer behavior; etc. were discussed in great length.
IIM Raipur’s belief in not just knowledge creation but also knowledge dissemination lead the two bodies to discuss possibilities of conducting joint conferences centered around the theme of competition. Although no decision was taken in this regard, but both institutions agreed that in principle this was a good idea.
For the benefit of IIM Raipur students, Mr. Anurag Goyal consented to sharing of a course at IIM Raipur. It was generally agreed that his experience and insights into the matter would be a great value add to the knowledge of budding managers.
Avenues for funding of research projects on the theme of ‘Competition’ were also discussed. A possibility of CCI instituting a Chair in IIM Raipur was also discussed, though no decision was taken in this regard as yet.