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ICAI, Infy to study norms to counter cartelisation
August, 20th 2008

Accounting regulator Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) has initiated a study that will look into the policy framework of mergers and acquisitions from the touchstone of competition laws. The move comes in the backdrop of apprehension in the government that price manipulation and cartelisation may have gripped key sectors such as cement, steel and telecom.

The regulator, at a board meeting of its core research body Accounting Research Foundation (ARF) on Tuesday, decided to study the policy that governs joint ventures, and the regulatory safeguards to counter the ills of cartelisation. The research study has been initiated as part of the regulators MoU with information technology giant Infosys.

We encourage capacity-building measures for joint ventures. The idea of the study is to understand the causes and effects of cartels vis--vis joint ventures, ICAI president Ved Jain told ET. Maintaining that the study is solely a research initiative of the regulator, Mr Jain said suggestions evolving from the study will be forwarded to the government.

Cartelisation which in simple terms means coming together of competing entities to distort competition affects the consumer. While the government considers cartelisation a negative force in its efforts to contain the spiralling inflation, the country still lacks regulatory teeth to counter it. With market regulator MRTPC lacking teeth to rein in suspected cartel formations and the upcoming Competition Commission of India (CCI) yet to get its enforcement rights, the economy stands susceptible to such unethical business practices.

The meeting, attended by Infosys officials, also approved a research proposal to study the process employed by domestic companies towards creation of intellectual assets and fostering a culture of intellectual property rights (IPR). The study lays its thrust on the needs and requirements for domestic companies in their endeavour to create a competitive structure of intellectual capital.

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