Key sectors such as agriculture, steel and paper have come under the scanner of the Competition Commission of India (CCI)—the anti trust body, which has decided to monitor and commission studies on these areas to see if the players have indulged in unfair practices.
A member of the commission said that prima facie evidences have shown that “there could have been some use of unfair play which may have impacted the market.”
“The CCI has decided to undertake detailed studies on these sectors to ensure that there are no distortions in pricing and the end consumer is not impacted in any way,” said Dhanendra Kumar, outgoing CCI chairman on Thursday.
Kumar said that other sectors could also come under the CCI scanner. Cement is one sector which is already being monitored by the anti trust body. “In the long term, we may look into other sectors as well to ensure fair play and protect consumer interest,” he said.
The spurt in food prices in the recent months has brought back the focus into critical issues of price volatility in agricultural commodities, market structures and other dynamics. Onion prices had touched a high of R80 per kilo in December, 2010.
The anti-trust body noted that the recent price spikes in some instances could not be fully explained by the fundamentals of demand and supply and “that underscored the need to study the agriculture market structures in the country and pin down the real causes of price volatility in agri commodities.”
“The purpose of the proposed study is to capture the supply side dynamics for select agricultural commodities including onion, the structure, degree and nature of market competition at each stage of the supply chain of these commodities,
functioning of mandis, process of price discovery therein based on direct field investigations and identification of competition and efficiency bottlenecks,” the Competition Commission of India said in a statement.