Competition is a catalyst for change and when competition works well, the consumers are well informed as well as fully empowered. This was stated by the Union Minister of State for Communication (Independent Charge) and Railways Shri Manoj Sinha. He said that fair and healthy competition in the long run benefits businesses as well as consumers and economy as a whole. The Minister said that “the unfolding competitive federalism among States is the new reality of brand India”. Shri Sinha was delivering the Valedictory Address at the International Competition Network’s 17th Annual Conference 2018 which concluded here today. The three day ICN Annual Conference was organized by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) from 21st to 23rd March 2018 in the national capital. The Conference brought together more than 520 delegates from 73 countries.Delivering the Valedictory Address, the Union MoS, Shri Sinha further said the resultant benefits of fair competition — in the form of more choices, better quality, and lower prices for the consumers — are too obvious to be recounted. The Minister said that competition has positive impact on the economy at large. He said that competition also leads to innovation because if a company is the sole player in a monopolistic market, there is hardly any rational or incentive for it to innovate and drive improvements in its products and services.
The Minister said that collective enforcement is the need of the hour in the globalised world. While complementing the CCI for holding 2018 ICN Annual Conference, the Minister expressed confidence that the outcome of the 3-day Conference would help address many of the practical challenges that come in the way of making our businesses and economic environments more vibrant, fair, equitable, inclusive and sustainable. He also appreciated CCI for their diligent and prompt processing of merger in the Telecom sector in less than one month.The Union Minister, Shri Sinha said the big jump in India’s rank from 55 to 39 in World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report in two years; improvement in its ranking from 142nd position to 100th in Ease of Doing Business in last three years and from 65th to 40th position in WEF Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index in just four years, reflect the significant progress we have made as a nation under the dynamic leadership of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi.Shri Sinha lauded the role of CCI in providing the competition authorities of different countries with a formal but specialised platform by hosting the ICN Annual Conference 2018 for working towards convergence of sound competition policies and best practices. It has been a torch-bearer for 138 competition agencies in 125 countries. He said that events such as these become important for all the stakeholders to come together, exchange thoughts, ideas and information, and learn from their collective experiences.
There were eight Plenaries and Twenty-Four Breakout Sessions in the three days International Conference. From India’s point of view, the focus of discussion was on the ‘Special Project on Cartel Enforcement and Competition’ that provides insight into the areas of rampant cartelisation, use of tools for effective cartel investigation, and the need for focussed advocacy in vulnerable areas. Other areas of discussion that generated an enthusiastic response among participants were ‘perspectives from the bench: litigating competition cases’, ‘advocacy at the top at any time’ and ‘vertical restraints in offline and online markets’.In his Closing Remarks, Shri D.K.Sikri, Chairperson, CCI highlighted that despite differences in geographies, businesses and content of law across the globe, there is a common language of communication when it comes to implementation of competition law. He said the energy and activity of delegates from more than 70 countries was unique and enthusiastic. Relating competition and law, the CCI Chairperson said at the heart of competition are the economic principles that must be governed by law. He said that the role of the ICN Annual Conference was to bring stakeholders face to face with issues and this Conference has helped in facilitating international cooperation and sharing of best practices on competition law and its application amongst member countries.The event concluded with CCI handing-over the baton to Colombia for the next ICN Annual Conference - 2019. The 2019 Conference would focus on digital economy, leniency programme, private enforcement, vertical mergers and vertical restraint.