Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said if India talks about the ease of doing business, easy access to the competition commission for all businesses should be one of the important goals. “In that regard, physical presence in different parts of the country marks a very important end goal,” she said.

The FM, who was speaking at an event organised by the competition regulator, inaugurated the CCI’s regional office (west) and released e-coffee table book and advocacy booklets, which she said are important for awareness building. “It should not be in Hindi and English only. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) can't remain as an exclusive club of those who understand its nitty gritty but actually for those who need that information. Access is what is empowering people to know more, excess more, and excess better. Today, we released two of them -- one in Urdu and the other in Punjabi.”

She said the CCI must be more proactive and should fairly and squarely address issues related to mergers and acquisitions. The minister said as India evolves as a digital economy, the challenges this transition brings are equally important to address. “They are important issues, especially related to competition authorities. They need to be benchmarked against the best practices all over the world as it’s a rapidly evolving area.”

The FM said every country has its own experience in ensuring fair trade. As a result, the issues of fair competition do arise. “And if they arise, they have to be fairly addressed as per the laws of the land. The competition commission can keep one eye on Indian law and its evolution with regards to fair trade and competition, and another eye on what is happening in the rest of the world and benchmarking best practices that can be brought to India’s advantages.”

She said CCI has to be proactive and do a lot more proactive studies. “I am glad that you stood the test of time during Covid but more proactive steps using your powers vested in you should be taken. You should not wait for people to approach you in areas, which you think are posing some questions of fair competition.”

The minister said the competition commission brings confidence in the minds of the people, who actually want to access it for some relief when they think the fair play has been flouted. “But unless the competition commission remains visible – informing people, being rich in content in both digital and publications, and instilling confidence – a fair neutral arbiter will never be built.” The minister said it’s necessary to be seen doing things and bringing out content-rich documents, both digitally and hard copy versions. “Your (CC’s) visibility itself can bring in a great deal of confidence in the minds of businesses."

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