A Parliamentary panel has pulled up the Competition Commission for watching silently airlines charging exorbitant fares during the recent Jat agitation in Haryana and at the time of making last minute bookings.
Besides, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance has sought to know the preparedness of the government to “proactively intervene” in instances of cartelisation, price parallelism and abuse of dominance, especially in the wake of new business models such as electronic and mobile commerce.
In a report tabled in Parliament today, the panel said it took up the case of airlines charging exorbitant fares during the recent agitation in Haryana and also from passengers reserving their seats at the eleventh hour.
“CCI, which is empowered to examine anti-competitive conduct not only in India but also on acts taking place outside India, watched silently and only now on being pointed CCI has woken up and have informed that the issue of abnormal rise in airfare is currently under consideration of the Commission,” it noted.
Further, the panel said it would like to be apprised of the outcome in the case at the earliest.
In February, during the Jat agitation, the price of air tickets for flights in certain routes from Chandigarh was exorbitantly high for sometime.
Earlier, there have been concerns expressed from various quarters, including from Parliamentarians, that air tickets were priced very high during certain periods.
The committee, headed by Congress leader Veerappa Moily, has made the observations in its report on the Demand for Grants (2016-17) of the Corporate Affairs Ministry (MCA). CCI comes under the administrative control of MCA.
The panel said it would like to be apprised of the Ministry’s efforts in a “system which can proactively intervene in cases of cartelisation, price parallelism and abuse of dominance especially when new business models like e-rail, e-commerce and m-commerce will come”.
Further, the committee has sought to know the “preparation of CCI as a watchdog to intervene where Government of India have/will allow 100 per cent FDI in e-commerce in the interest of consumers”.
According to the report, CCI has received 680 cases and out of them, 582 have been decided, 49 are pending and 69 are stated to be under consideration of the Commission.
Of the 377 merger filings received, decisions have been taken only with respect to 353 cases, it noted.
“The committee would like to be apprised of the steps the Commission has taken so far to bring the pending cases to their logical conclusion. The committee also desires a similar appraisal in case of 24 merger filing cases,” the report said.