Ministers’ group finally okays Bill to set up coal regulator
After nearly one year of discussions, the Group of Ministers (GoM), headed by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, finally cleared the Coal Regulatory Bill, paving the way for an independent authority to tackle issues of pricing, supply and quality.
The Bill will now go to the Cabinet for approval before being placed in Parliament. As Parliament is not in session, the Cabinet may consider an Ordinance so that a Coal Regulator can be set up immediately. If this happens, the Bill will need to go before Parliament within six months.
Minister of State for Power (Independent Charge) Jyotiraditya M. Scindia said the Bill is likely to be placed before the Cabinet in a ‘week or 10 days’.
On May 7, Chidambaram had said the proposed regulator would not have the power to set coal prices — the most contentious issue.
“Pricing must be left to the producer. The regulator will have powers to adjudicate on disputes related to price, quality, and supplies. All disputes will be adjudicated by the regulator. And then there will be an appellate authority,” Chidambaram had said.
After Wednesday’s GoM meeting, Scindia said the Bill balances the interest of all stakeholders. “It protects the interest of all stakeholders and at the same time gives a very judicious balance to the regulatory authority to be able to supervise the supply and demand of coal in the country.”