The Takshashila Institution hosted Dr. Geeta Gouri for a talk on competition and market reforms on 1 September 2016.
Dr. Gouri is a former Member of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and has 15 years of extensive experience working as a Regulatory Economist. She has also served as Director (Tariffs) at the Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission.
Given her rich history in ushering competition and market reforms into the Indian economy, Dr. Gouri spoke extensively on the theory and practice of competition in India. She clarified how the new regulatory regime did not target companies just because they were dominant or had a monopoly on the market, but because these companies had abused this position.
This was just one of many such misconceptions that she cleared, such as the difference between the terms ‘discriminatory’ and ‘anti-competitive’, and the need for patents to only be granted to disruptive technologies.
Dr. Gouri also spoke extensively on some of the issues facing the Competition Commission as well as its track record. She elaborated on what she considered the Commission’s best success, the case with DLF and also discussed the governmental approach to agricultural regulation. She clearly explained the many political economies that the Commission faces and used her experience as an electricity regulator to suggest a two-part pricing model to solve IP disputes over seeds.
Dr. Gouri emphasised how recourse to the commission was relatively cheap and that around 600 cases had been heard since the Commission opened its doors in 2009. She concluded by stating that the biggest constraint felt by the CCI was processing the excessively technical nature of the matters involved in competition suits, and that it was a thankless but necessary task.