To keep a tab on possible unfair practices, the Competition Commission of India has begun a study of the functional aspects of the country’s growing financial sector, including banking and insurance segments.

The study comes in the backdrop of the Government push for various financial sector reforms as part of larger efforts to bolster the country’s economic growth.

The study will broadly look at different dimensions of the financial sector, CCI Chairman Ashok Chawla said.

“(The issues to be studied include) how the market functions and how could be the possible anti-competitive practices in those areas like banking, insurance so on and so forth. That is broadly the mandate of the study. These are underway at the moment,” Chawla told PTI in an interview.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has the mandate to act against anti-competitive practices across sectors.

Financial sector reforms

The Government is actively pursuing long-term financial sector reforms including further opening up of various segments, such as insurance and pension, to foreign players.

Liberalising the financial sector would lead to participation for more number of players and in turn may result in increased competition, while it could also increase the fears of anti0competitive practices.

Interest rate of banks

Asked whether CCI would look into the almost similar movement in interest rates fixed by various banks, Chawla said there is no concern of anti-competitive practice at this time on the issue.

“The Reserve Bank has given them (banks) the freedom to fix rates the way they want. Some of them have changed and some have changed. I don’t think there is any concern in that area at this point of time,” he said.

(This article was published on September 29, 2013)
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