Regulators ensure fair play, no 'great incoherence': CCI chief

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Competition Commission Chairman Ashok Chawla has said that all regulators seek to ensure fair play in their respective areas.  (PTI) Competition Commission Chairman Ashok Chawla has said that all regulators seek to ensure fair play in their respective areas. (PTI)
SummaryCompetition Commission of India has found itself in the middle of various turf issues.

Downplaying perceptions of regulatory turf wars, Competition Commission Chairman Ashok Chawla has said that all regulators seek to ensure fair play in their respective areas and there is "no great incoherence and conflict" amongst them.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI), relatively a new entity in the country's regulatory landscape, has found itself in the middle of various turf issues, including those related to banking and power sectors.

Speaking on the issue of overlaps between various regulators, Chawla told PTI in an interview that people tend to "make too much of this thing".

CCI Chief said that all regulatory Acts in the country have some reference to encouraging competition and protecting the interests of consumers.

"The state is slowly ceding its functions to various regulators... There is no great incoherence, I would say, if every sectoral regulator tries to ensure that the player in that field operate appropriately and according to the rules that they may lay down, whether it is electricity or telecom," Chawla said.

According to Chawla, even though issues among regulators are seen as some kind of conflict, "there is no conflict".

"Most of the issues get settled as things go through. That happens with all regulators and all over the world," he added.

Recently, differences are said to have emerged between CCI and electricity regulator CERC regarding regulation of competitive aspects of the power sector. There have been similar issues involving other regulators as well.

There also have been demands from certain quarters for keeping mergers and acquisitions in banking and insurance sectors out of the CCI purview.

"Where we come in, is basically in promoting competition. If they are preventing competition, of course you have good, sound principles to address it (the issues)," Chawla said.

CCI, in recent times, have found anti-competitive trade practices in various sectors including real estate and cement.

"You tell your children that don't do this and do that, but after that their behaviour is not up to the standards, then they (sectoral regulators) have no powers for that particular purpose.

"But for the particular fact that their behaviour is not according to either what they prescribe or what our Act enjoins us to, we can punish them, impose penalty on them...

So, let's not read too much into the overlap business," the CCI chief said.

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