How's my Luck now?

Reflections, views and descriptions during my stay at IIM Lucknow from July 2004 to March 2006

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Location: India

Sunday, October 30, 2005

'Competition in Markets'

This was the topic on which a talk was delivered by Mr. Amitabh Kumar, Director-General of the Competition Commission of India. This talk was as part of the event called IBLC organized by the Innovision committee. Following Mr. Pradip Baijal's talk some time ago, this was the second government regulator/monitoring authority we were getting to interact with in a short time. And this interaction was also as good as the first one.

For the students of the strategy course called ATSC, this was actually like a guest lecture for the course. Mr. Kumar opened wittily by saying that he was going to prepare a speech for this occasion, but keeping in mind the teaching methods in B-schools, he had decided to make a
PowerPoint presentation. And the presentation was beautifully structured, each slide to the point and maintaining flow.

The aspects covered included the things that competition regimes (including Acts and monitoring mechanisms) across the world normally monitored: prohibiting anti-competitive agreements; prohibiting abuse of dominant position; regulation of combinations ('merger control'); and advocating competition. Each aspect was defined and the considerations involved in determining whether a party or parties had undermined competition under each, was discussed. Some of these considerations were: defining 'market power' and the whether a party
had used it unfairly; defining 'dominant position' and its determinants; defining 'relevant market' for each case. Some details of the Indian Competition Act, 2002, were discussed. All of the above was discussed using several examples from around the world in a range of industries, from shipping and railroads to software to bananas. The questions posed by the audience were also answered more than adequately, with more examples.

Mr. Kumar is obviously very well read and has wonderful knowledge in his area of work (including minute details of famous cases and judgments involving competition-related issues). It is always a joy to listen to and interact with a person who knows his job very well. Two hours very well spent today.

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