The government’s appointment of three new commissioners on 19 September helped to resolve a quorum issue that had plagued the Competition Commission of India (CCI) after former chairman Ashok Kumar Gupta retired in late October 2022.
The three new members appointed are the former director general of police and former additional secretary at the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Anil Agrawal; a lawyer who served as an interim chief compliance officer at WhatsApp, Sweta Kakkad; and retired additional deputy comptroller and auditor general of India, Deepak Anurag.
Kakkad is the first commissioner to be appointed from the private sector, not the bureaucracy. Her appointment shows the government is keen to ensure the effectiveness of the market regulator by arming the top brass with the necessary skillset and experience.
Kakkad’s legal background stands to benefit the authority as the CCI is in the process of framing rules and regulations following amendments made to the Competition Act.
The appointments bring people who are commercially savvy and have the necessary experience and know-how to appreciate how the commercial world operates.
Within 24 hours of joining the commission on 19 September, Agrawal and Kakkad, together with chairperson Ravneet Kaur, cleared four merger filings within a day.
Agrawal’s experience with startups and in the e-commerce space will equally benefit the commission as it takes on the global tech giants like Apple, Amazon, Google and Meta.
With the appointment of the three new commissioners, the CCI has a strong team of four with a five-year term, unlike in the past.