New Delhi: The Union Cabinet has cleared the coal ministry's proposal for setting up a regulator through an executive order for the coal sector. The regulator will not have statutory powers and have no say in pricing of the fuel or allocation of captive blocks.
The aim of setting up the watchdog is to contain the muck in the coal sector, which is currently dogged by controversies in allocation of coal blocks.
The regulator for the coal sector would be set up through an executive order, the government said today.
"The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given nod to the proposal to set up coal regulator through an executive order," a senior Minister said after the meeting.
The regulator will be empowered to specify the principles and methodology for determination of price of raw coal and washed coal and any other by-product generated during washing.
The regulator will also regulate methods for testing for declaration of grades or quality of coal, specify procedure for automatic coal sampling and adjudicate upon disputes between the parties besides monitoring closure of mines and approval of mining plans, among other things.
Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal had earlier informed Parliament that a non-statutory regulator for the coal sector will be set up through an executive order as enacting a legislation on the subject will take some time.
The bill for setting up a regulator for the sector is pending before Parliament.
"The competent authority has...decided that a non- statutory Regulator will be set up through an executive order as enactment of legislation would take some time," Jaiswal had said in a reply to the Lok Sabha last week.
He had said that based on the recommendations of various committees, the ministry appointed a consultant to draft the Coal Regulatory Authority Bill.
This is for regulating as well as conserving resources in the sector and protecting the interests of coal consumers and producers, he had said.
The Draft Bill on the sectoral regulator was circulated to all the ministries and departments concerned seeking their views, he had said.
After consideration of the comments received from different ministries/departments and taking them into account, the draft Bill, 2012 was prepared and submitted for the consideration of the competent authority and it was decided to refer the same to the Group of Ministers (GoM).
The GoM held five meetings and a draft Bill, 2013 with changes as per the discussions was finalised with consultations with the Law Ministry.
The same was approved by the competent authority on June 27, 2013. The Ministry of Coal had introduced the Coal Regulatory Authority Bill, 2013 in the Lok Sabha on December 13, 2013.