CCI organises a National Conference on Competition Law to celebrate the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav as part of Iconic Week of Ministry of Corporate Affairs in New Delhi

By Staff Reporter

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) organised a National Conference on Competition Law as part of the ongoing Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM) here today.

Shri Rao Inderjit Singh, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation; Ministry of Planning and Minister of State for Corporate Affairs was the Chief Guest on the occasion.

The Union Minister of State released a film capturing the 13 years of the Commission’s journey, in addition to releasing the special edition of Fair Play, the quarterly newsletter of CCI, themed on AKAM, as well as competition advocacy booklets in regional languages. He also felicitated the winners of the essay and quiz competitions held earlier.

Shri Singh, in his address, congratulated MCA and CCI for celebrating the iconic event. He urged that India has to regain its lost glory and become an economic powerhouse. India, on an economic growth metric, is forging ahead of its peers, he said. He mentioned that, historically, before it was colonised, India was an advanced economy with a high share in the world economy. We, as a nation, will be in the league of the most advanced and economically developed nations in the next twenty-five years, as envisioned by our Hon’ble Prime Minister, he said. The Indian government is committed to being a facilitator of business to be able to achieve this vision. The change that has happened since independence is reflected from the fact that agriculture’s contribution to the economy has declined and the manufacturing and services sectors are the major contributors. He hoped that CCI will provide institutional support to facilitate this transition by ensuring well-functioning markets. He commended CCI’s efforts in metamorphosising from the erstwhile MRTP Act into a modern competition law suitable for a modern market economy. Concluding his address, the Union Minister implored the citizens of India to work in unison to make India a better nation for the generations to come.

Earlier, Chairperson, CCI, in his address welcomed the dignitaries and reaffirmed the unwavering commitment of CCI to protect the interests of all stakeholders by making markets work well. The Chairperson emphasised that, as we enter “Amrit Kaal,” there is a need to constantly strategise and retool ourselves to provide the necessary institutional support for well-functioning markets. Given the potential growth in trade and technology in the coming years, and in view of the possibility that several sectors still not open to real competition may also see new entry and activity, the role of the agency is set to expand substantially, he said. He further stated that we have to do everything possible to meet the challenge.

He also highlighted that CCI has developed a sound body of jurisprudence through its review of over 1100 antitrust cases. With increasing use of forensic tools, data analytics, and dawn raids to aid the investigation process, coupled with incentivising self-reporting through the leniency programme, the enforcement regime is now well-equipped to uncover cartels, he said. As India emerges as one of the biggest and fastest-growing digital consumer bases, market distortions need to be corrected promptly, he stated. At the same time, while addressing the competition problems in technology markets, due regard must be given to aspects of innovation and efficiency.

Mergers and acquisitions are crucial instruments for investment flows, creating economic synergies and contributing to the processes of industrial development, he said. They also help create scale economies for firms, which are crucial for competing in today’s globalised economic order. CCI acts as a facilitator in this process through expeditious assessment of combination filings. The compliance burden has been reduced through the system of Green Channel, and the focus is on procedural simplification, speedy disposal, and lessening compliance. Besides, revised guidance notes have been issued, clarifying various aspects of combination filings. He further said that, in the near future, CCI will release FAQs on various issues, which will be available in regional languages as guided by the Union Finance Minister during the MCA Iconic Day celebrations.

The Chairperson said that, in order to bridge information gaps, CCI will proactively engage with stakeholders through more market studies and curated workshops. In view of the growing number of cases and complexities of the digital sector as well as the increasing need for data and technology skills, CCI is planning to set up a dedicated digital markets as a centre of expertise. He also underlined the importance of CCI participating in policy deliberations and engaging with various arms of the government for promoting a culture of competition. The Chairperson, in his concluding remarks, stated that it is the endeavour of CCI to build a harmonised, trust-based regime for the industry.

Shri Rajesh Verma, Secretary MCA, delivered the special address on the occasion and complimented CCI for holding the AKAM and Jan Bhagidari advocacy events and mentioned that, since the launch of AKAM, CCI has conducted more than 250 advocacy programmes across India, which is the highest number of programmes conducted by any regulator under MCA, engaging stakeholders from various quarters and using technology to the fullest extent. He acknowledged the role played by the Indian industry and entrepreneurs, especially the private sector’s contribution in nation building, and stated that MCA is committed to providing an enabling regulatory framework that facilitates the corporate sector to function productively. He said that the focus and design of competition law has changed fundamentally, i.e., to protect competition rather than curb monopolies and ensure a level playing field regardless of whether the enterprise is domestic or foreign, public or private, and leaves lesser discretion with government functionaries. He said that the Commission regulates the exit strategies of companies, i.e., mergers, acquisitions, amalgamations, etc., and plays a key role even at the insolvency resolution stage.

He commended CCI for being an effective and credible regulator in a relatively short span of time.  He made special mention of the advocacy initiatives of the Commission, particularly the State Resource Person Scheme. He spoke about the necessity of strong international cooperation in a globalised world and the various MoUs signed between CCI and other competition regulators. In his concluding remarks, the Secretary placed confidence in the workings of the Commission and said that an institution like CCI can be a propelling force to aid a culture of competition.

Earlier, the Welcome Address was delivered by Smt. Jyoti Jindgar Bhanot, Secretary, CCI, followed by an address by Shri Ashok Kumar Gupta, Chairperson, CCI, where he spelt out the various initiatives undertaken by CCI. The Special Address was delivered by Shri Rajesh Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), and the Inaugural Address was delivered by the Union Minister of State for Corporate Affairs Shri Rao Inderjit Singh. Hon’ble Mr. Justice Rakesh Kumar, Member (Judicial), Hon’ble Mr. Kanthi Narahari, Member (Technical), and Hon’ble Dr. Ashok Kumar Mishra, Member (Technical), National Company Law Appellate Tribunal, also graced the occasion.

The National Conference also featured two panel discussions. The session on ‘Emerging Issues in Antitrust Enforcement’ was chaired by Dr. Sangeeta Verma, Member, CCI, and moderated by Ms. Nisha Poddar, Editor, CNBC TV18. The session on ‘Emerging Issues in Regulation of Combinations’ was chaired by Shri Bhagwant Singh Bishnoi, Member, CCI, and moderated by Shri Arijit Barman, Deputy Resident Editor, The Economic Times.

The panel discussions saw engaging discussions and dialogue between the distinguished panellists on a range of contemporary and emerging competition law issues. Panellists and moderators represented the legal fraternity, industry, business, and academia.

CCI approves combination involving setting up of Mindspace REIT by K. Raheja Corp Group

By SRELJ Bureau

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) approves proposed combination involving setting up of Mindspace REIT (REIT) by K. Raheja Corp Group and acquisition of certain equity shareholding held by selling shareholders in the Target Entities by REIT, under Section 31(1) of the Competition Act, 2002

The parties to the combination are:

  1. Acquirer: Mindspace Business Parks REIT (“Mindspace REIT”)
  2. Target Entities: K. Raheja IT Park (Hyderabad) Limited, Intime Properties Limited, Sundew Properties Limited, Avacado Properties and Trading (India) Private Limited, Gigaplex Estate Private Limited, KRC Infrastructure and Projects Private Limited, Horizonview Properties Private Limited; and Mindspace Business Parks Private Limited (“Target Entitites”)

Mindspace REIT is set up as a contributory, irrevocable and determinate trust under the provisions of the Indian Trusts Act, 1882, with object and purpose to carry on a real estate investment trust, as permissible under the REIT Regulations, to raise funds through the REIT, to make investments in accordance with the REIT Regulations and the investment strategy and to carry on the activities as may be required for operating the REIT, including incidental and ancillary matters thereto.

The Target Entities are special purpose vehicles and are active in the commercial real estate industry. The business of the Target Entities consists of 10 commercial real estate projects. These commercial real estate projects are a mix of information technology parks, commercial buildings and special economic zone projects located in Mumbai Region, Hyderabad, Pune and Chennai.

The proposed transaction pertains to setting up and listing of a real estate investment trust (REIT) in India. It essentially entails acquisition of certain equity shareholding held by the selling shareholders in the Target Entities by Mindspace REIT, in accordance with the Securities Exchange Board of India (Real Estate Investment Trusts) Regulations, 2014 (REIT Regulations) (Proposed Combination).

The CCI approved the Proposed Combination under Section 31(1) of the Act.

Detailed order of the CCI will follow.