Contrast the present to the period between 2004 and 2009 which saw a perceptible change in the competition

scenario. Progressive amendments of the Competition Act were carried out ² a Competition Appellate Tribunal headed by a judge to hear complaints against the Competition Commission ushered in greater accountability, and the legislation of a selection procedure instead of the previous ad-hoc one raised hopes of greater independence in the functioning of that agency. Such improvements were not just confined to paper. Surveys carried out by CUTS International revealed an almost universal improvement in stakeholder perception of the competition environment in 2006-2008. It is in the light of this recent phase of pro-active implementation of competition reforms, that the absence of an active show of support for further competition reforms from UPA-II comes as a disappointment. The development potential of competition remains underexploited. For instance, effective competition reforms still elude the power sector, the backbone of our infrastructure. Consequently, increases in generation still continue to lag increases in demand. We are about 60% behind achieving the targeted addition this year. The issue of open access remains unresolved in spite of all governmental efforts. The government seems to have taken its foot off the accelerator just when a further push to competition reforms is necessary. (The author is the Secretary General of CUTS International)

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