Business News/ Politics / News/  Govt names Ravneet Kaur as CCI chief for five years

New Delhi: The central government has named Ravneet Kaur as chairperson of the Competition Commission of India (CCI), two people familiar with the development said, citing an official order.

Kaur, the first woman to hold the position, has been appointed for five years or till she reaches 65, one of the people cited above said on the condition of anonymity. She belongs to the 1988 batch of Indian Administrative Service officers, and currently serves as an additional chief secretary in the Punjab government, according to publicly available information.

The appointment of Kaur helps fulfil the crucial requirement of a three-member panel to deliberate on critical matters and help reinvigorate the regulatory body. Currently, CCI faces limitations in issuing orders, save for instances related to mergers and approvals, owing to its inability to meet the quorum requirement.

The government is also hiring more members to CCI, anticipating the retirements of members in the Commission to prevent any potential regulatory gaps and ensure continuity in its operations.

The top post at CCI fell vacant after the completion of Ashok Kumar Gupta’s four-year tenure as chairman on 25 October. Gupta’s departure prompted the government to name Sangeeta Verma as acting chairperson. The provisions of the Competition Act mandate that CCI must have a chairperson and a minimum of two members. The total number of members, however, cannot exceed six.

With the government expanding the regulatory mandate of CCI with the latest amendments to the law, adding more manpower and infrastructure to CCI has become critical. Amendments to Competition Act earlier this year have brought certain transactions meeting the specified value threshold of acquisitions under CCI’s purview. Also, CCI is now empowered to get into negotiated settlements with businesses and other parties in cases of anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominance.

Once the new chairperson joins, CCI will have to issue pending orders and frame regulations for the newly introduced provisions, such as negotiated settlements. The regulator has, over a period, scaled up its oversight of the digital economy and has set up a separate internal unit to deal with new-age firms.

CCI also has been given the mandate of adjudicating GST-related profiteering cases after the National Anti-Profiteering Authority was wound up last year. Anti-profiteering-related orders in sectors such as real estate and consumer goods are now expected from CCI.

The regulator also has to brace for tighter deadlines in clearing mergers and acquisitions. One of the amendments to the law introduced in the budget session of Parliament provides for deemed approval if the regulator does not take a prima facie opinion on a transaction within 30 days of receiving a request for approval.

Gireesh Chandra Prasad
Gireesh has over 22 years of experience in business journalism covering diverse aspects of the economy, including finance, taxation, energy, aviation, corporate and bankruptcy laws, accounting and auditing.
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Updated: 17 May 2023, 12:45 AM IST
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