Answer ... The Competition Commission has a strong anti-cartel regime which, as at 31 July 2017, had resulted in the imposition of a total of 55 contravention orders and total penalties of $2.69 billion.
The commission has been successful in using dawn raids and leniency applications as effective tools to combat cartels in India. In FY 2018–19, the commission dealt with six leniency applications, with 19 of 47 applicants receiving a 100% penalty waiver. Three dawn raids, out of a total of six, were conducted in 2019 alone.
There has been an increase in the number of bid-rigging cases, especially in the public procurement sector. As a result of the commission’s advocacy measures, some state governments have updated their public procurement policies to make them more compliant with competition policy.
In October 2018 the Competition Law Review Committee (CLRC) was set up to review the provisions of the Competition Act and the associated rules and regulations. Based on the recommendations made by the CLRC, the government introduced a draft Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020 in February 2020. Key amendments proposed to the competition act include:
- a provision for buyers’ cartels and hub and spoke cartels;
- a provision for agreements other than horizontal or vertical agreements;
- the introduction of a leniency-plus regime;
- a provision allowing withdrawal of a leniency application; and
- power to DG to impose criminal sanctions in case of non-compliance.
Once the draft bill is final after public consultation, it will be put before the Parliament for approval.