With over three decades of experience in various Central and State Government positions, Ravneet Kaur, a 1988 batch IAS officer from Punjab cadre, will don the mantle of Competition Commission of India (CCI) Chairperson at a very challenging time for the statutory body.

Besides her post-graduation degrees in economics, it is Kaur’s stints and experiences at the various economic ministries of the Central Government over the last 15 years that are expected to stand her in good stead in navigating the challenges at the helm of CCI. 

Several decisions and actions are pending before the CCI, which in the absence of full-time Chairperson faced a lack of quorum issues and could not adjudicate on anti-trust matters.

Once Kaur assumes office, action will start on a slew of cartel matters (like cement) and Big Tech anti-competitive conduct issues that were languishing so far, CCI observers noted.

Kaur’s various postings

Kaur, who hails from Punjab and is well-versed in Hindi, Punjabi, and English, holds an MA in economics and M.Sc in Public Economic Management from the University of Birmingham. 

She has been serving the State cadre (Punjab) since July 2019 after her stint as the Chairman and Managing Director of India Tourism Development Corporation (2017-19). 

Currently, she is the Additional Chief Secretary and Financial Commissioner at the Department of Revenue, Rehabilitation and Disaster Management in Chandigarh.

In various postings at the Department of Economic Affairs (as Director in 2006-07); Disinvestment Department (joint secretary and CEO of National Investment Fund in 2007-08); Department of Financial Services (joint secretary from 2008-11); Department of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution (2011-12) and Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (joint secretary from 2015-17) at the Central Government, Kaur was present at close quarters to new economic policies that were being put in place to catapult India to a higher economic growth trajectory.

Some uncertainity

However, it is still not clear whether Kaur will assume charge of CCI Chief post immediately. 

With Kaur’s superannuation date from IAS service slated for October this year, there is some uncertainty as to whether she will immediately resign from IAS service and take up the CCI chief post or wait till October and take up the new role for the next five years.

Interestingly, the Government has not indicated any timeline till when the offer for the CCI Chief post is valid.

Having waited for nearly seven months to get a full-time CCI Chairperson, the latest Centre’s move to bring finality to the process of selection of a new Chief for the next five years is indeed a welcome step, CCI observers noted.

About the CCI

Since its inception, the CCI has played a critical role in regulating and ensuring a competitive market in India.

The CCI has been instrumental in enforcing the Competition Act 2002 and has played a significant role in promoting a level playing field for businesses. 

The CCI also has the power to review and approve mergers and acquisitions that could potentially have an adverse effect on competition in the market.