Fair competition must in public procurement: Sitharaman

Union Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Thursday that public procurement could be opened to ‘fair competition’.

Published: 03rd March 2017 12:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd March 2017 07:10 AM   |  A+A-

Commerce & Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman delivers the inaugural address in a conference in New Delhi on Thursday | PTI

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Union Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Thursday that public
procurement could be opened to ‘fair competition’.

Speaking at the Second National Conference on ‘Economics of Competition Law’ organised by the Competition Commission of India (CCI), the minister said, “Public procurements have got to be opened to fair competition... and most of it is coming from defence, railways, and telecom sectors.”

According to Sitharaman, the central government is balancing the privatisation process by
supporting the private sector in terms of providing a level-playing field. She said that the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre “is neither pro- nor anti-business”.

Sitharaman said India needs a fair trade regulator like the Competition Commission of India (CCI) in the current transitional phase of the economy to prevent formation of oligarchies, monopolies or cartels.

“We want a Competition Commission that is going to look at things from the point of view of today’s situation of India rather than think we are in a completely free market, and we need a regulator that is minimal or don’t need a regulator,” she added.

Sitharaman urged the CCI to develop sectoral understanding and engage sector experts for this purpose.

“Collusive bidding, cartelisation...these are serious issues, and so the CCI has a very important role to play for fair trade as well as for consumer benefit,” the Minister said, pointing out that the regulator had recently penalised a cement cartel for anti-competitive behaviour.

Commenting on the different development strategies adopted by India, she said that it might not be correct to compare India with Singapore or China, which have followed completely different development strategies and where the development is evenly spread. It is not possible to “jump from control economy to complete privatisation,” she added.


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