With the Competition Bill set to be approved once the Parliament session resumes on 26 April, the Competition Commission of India (CCI), the authority dealing with anti-competitive practices, is set to sharply increase its staff strength.
The commission, which currently has about 10 employees, including its chairman and director general, is looking at hiring staff from government ministries as well as the private sector.
The commission had earlier engaged the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, to conduct a study on staffing levels once its current role—mainly advocacy—changes to dealing with specific cases. The IIM suggested that CCI will require 240 staffers with degrees or experience in accounting, law, economics and company affairs. Over the next five years, the IIM study recommended, the commission should have at least 480 employees.
The commission is looking at economics graduates for entry-level jobs. It will also look at bringing in government officials on deputation, along with consultants from the private sector.
Officials at CCI, however, fear it may not be able to attract quality professionals because of salary constraints. “CCI will initially survive on the budget allocated to it and salaries can’t be very attractive,” said one official who didn’t want to be named.
CCI is hoping to hire staff in line with other regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Board of India and Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority. Compensation there typically falls between salaries earned by the government employees and those given out in the private sector for similar skills.
The ministry of company affairs, of which CCI is a part, says the commission does not need to worry about manpower. “The ministry has already set in place a fast-track system through which existing government officials can be placed in CCI in accordance with its needs. These will include officials having sufficient knowledge in areas relating to competition and company laws,” said a ministry official who also didn’t want to be named. He said the fast-track committee includes senior officials from the ministry, the expenditure department in the finance ministry, department of personnel and training, and CCI.
Some officials with experience in accountancy and company laws have already been shortlisted and government officials alone can get the commission functioning initially, said the official.
The commission had earlier taken some staff from the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission on loan but since CCI’s work did not get started with the Bill awaiting clearance, most of these people went back to their parent. Ministry officials also say there will be considerable outflow of people from MRTPC, which anyway is expected to wind up in two years of CCI getting started.