This post is inspired by an article
that appeared in The Mint on January 7, 2014.Written in the context of the aviation sector in India (applauding a move to set price caps on domestic airfares) and telecom sector (problems of net neutrality), it was surprisingly simplistic in its assuming that what cannot be handled by post facto
application of competition law can effectively be tacked through regulation. This view ignores the fact that regulation itself needs to be aligned to sound and well enunciated competition policy principles and bad regulation can do more harm than good.
Also available in the public domain recently are excellent articles about the problems of the Indian aviation industry which focus on poor regulation and the need for reforms. These are Spice Jet lessons for aviation
and another article
on destructive effects of lobbying by private airlines. What becomes clear from the views of sector specialists is that inept regulation that is not competitively neutral and interferes necessarily with markets, combined with regulatory capture can and has, done great harm to a liberalized sector like aviation in India with negative consequences for the entire economy.
I write mostly about telecommunications but the arguments in favour of competition, both ex ante (through policy and regulation) and ex post (through the application of competition law), are equally valid across sectors. Please see my previous posts and my article titled, “Why India Needs a Robust Competition Policy Framework.”