Ashok Chawla is new CCI chairman

A Gujarat-cadre IAS bureaucrat of 1973 batch, Ashok Chawla retired as finance secretary on 31st January. He was heading a committee on allocation, pricing and utilisation of natural resources till recently

New Delhi: Former finance secretary Ashok Chawla Friday sworn in as new chairman of the Competition Commission of India (CCI), filling up the key post that was lying vacant for over four months, reports PTI.

Mr Chawla was sworn in by corporate affairs minister Veerappa Moily in the presence of members of the CCI and MCA officials.

When asked about his mandate after taking charge, Mr Chawla said, “It is difficult for me to prioritise any matter right now as I am yet to take a stock of the Commission.”

Last week, the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) approved the appointment of Mr Chawla as head of the anti-trust body—Competition Commission of India.

Other contenders for the post were Anurag Goel, a member in the Commission, and Vijay Sharma, former secretary in the environment and forests ministry.

The appointment assumes significance as after 1st June, all high-value merger and acquisition (M&A) deals have come under the CCI purview.

A Gujarat-cadre IAS bureaucrat of 1973 batch, Mr Chawla retired as finance secretary on 31st January. He was heading a committee on allocation, pricing and utilisation of natural resources till recently.

The Commission was established in 2003 to replace the erstwhile Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission. Dhanendra Kumar was appointed its first chairman in February 2009 and his term ended on 5th June this year.

The commission draws its power from the Competition Act, 2002, to keep check on unfair practices including M&As that abuse dominant position by market players.

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Pesky calls: Tele-marketers outdo government

“You know that people are very smart now they are using the Internet to send such messages. Now, we do not have any control on the Internet. We have no jurisdiction over it. We do not even know who the person is... at the moment I do not have any solution...,” telecom minister Kapil Sibal told the media

New Delhi: Smart tele-marketers have outsmarted the government machinery by resorting to Internet-based SMSes and call services on which regulators have no control, reports PTI.

Telecom minister Kapil Sibal expressed his helplessness in controlling such Internet-based pesky calls but claimed that such communication has reduced significantly.

Replying to a question why users are still receiving such messages and calls from the Internet, he said, “Well, you know that people are very smart now they are using the Internet to send such messages. Now, we do not have any control on the Internet.”

“The Internet is a difficult thing to regulate because the server may be somewhere outside the country, you may put your calls or message through that server how will we deal with that server. We have no jurisdiction over it. We do not even know who the person is... at the moment I do not have any solution...,” he said while addressing the Economic Editors Conference here.

On the issue of restricting SMSes to 100 per day per SIM, the minister said he got representations from a few young persons from Mumbai and also from private employers and expressed concerns.

“...I conveyed that to the chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) that some people have complained. I think we have to evolve... TRAI will have to evolve this policy in the context of the experience of users. So I am sure TRAI will look at it,” he said.

It is in TRAI’s jurisdiction to look at it and come to (conclusion), Sibal said. He added that there are some glitches in the implementation of regulations and “I am sure TRAI will look into this.”

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India’s first IDF likely in next 2 months: Economic Affairs Secretary

Economic affairs secretary R Gopalan, who is on a two-day visit to promote the IDF in Singapore, said the fund could be launched within the next two months, and for now the fund was going through the initial process of establishment

Singapore: Economic affairs secretary R Gopalan on Thursday said he expects India’s first Infrastructure Development Fund (IDF) in the next two months and the size of the fund is estimated at $3 billion, reports PTI.

While discussing the IDF with Singapore investors here, Mr Gopalan said that it was early to state the size of the first IDF but it could be as much as $3 billion.

Mr Gopalan, who is on a two-day visit to promote IDF here, said the fund could be launched within the next two months, and for now the fund was going through the initial process of establishment.

The decision to set up IDFs follows an announcement by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee for 2011-12, with a view to accelerating and enhancing flow of long-term debt for funding the ambitious programme of infrastructure development in the country.

The IDFs could be in the form of a mutual fund or non-banking financial company (NBFC). While the IDF-Mutual Fund would be regulated by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the RBI will be in-charge of the IDF-NBFC.

Mr Gopalan said once the first fund is established with Indian investors’ participation, other similar funds would be followed on with participation from foreign investors.

Mr Gopalan said the Singapore visit was an ongoing campaign to explain the concept of the fund, with other Indian government officials doing so on their regular visits to international financial centres.

On the impact of European crisis on India, he said it would not have an extreme impact on the Indian economy.

Mr Gopalan arrived Thursday morning in Singapore to promote the fund and held a series of meetings with the Monetary Authority of Singapore and Singapore-based financial institutions and banks.

He would call on deputy prime minister and finance minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, meet with top management of the state investor Temasek Holdings and continue meeting Singapore-based financial and investments on Friday.

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