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Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday told officials of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) that there is a possibility of threat from cartelization, adding there is a need to ensure there are no monopolistic or duopolistic tendencies leading to price rise.

In today’s context, when the government is pushing infrastructure growth to scale up demand, there is a possibility of threat from cartelization, a statement from CCI said quoting Sitharaman, who spoke at the 13th annual day commemoration of the regulator in the capital.

Cartelization refers to an understanding among market participants on pricing, production or supply that adversely affects competition, a practice more likely to be seen in sectors with limited players or where players have cross-holdings or where industry bodies tend to send price signals to businesses.

The minister underlined her concerns that input costs are rising despite India having a huge capacity to cater to both domestic and export demands, the statement said. Sitharaman highlighted that there is a global shortage of commodities due to the pandemic, and now, following the war in Eastern Europe, the supply chain has been adversely aff-ected. The minister said that there is a need to look into these and ensure that there are no monopolistic or duopolistic tendencies leading to price rise and supply side manipulations.

Sitharaman urged CCI to understand the technological nuances of the digital era and whether these markets are being fairly, effectively, and transparently used for the benefit of consumers. She urged CCI to be always sensitive but firm in its approach.

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