The Union Cabinet today gave its approval to the proposal for setting up of an independent regulatory authority for the coal sector and also approved the introduction of the Coal Regulatory Authority Bill, 2013 in Parliament.
The setting up of an independent regulatory body for the coal sector shall help in the regulation and conservation of coal resources and will benefit all stakeholders; that is coal companies, coal consuming industries such as power, steel, cement and coal bearing States and people, directly or indirectly associated with the coal industry. The Cabinet also approved that pending enactment of the legislation, the regulator will be set up through an executive order.
The Authority shall specify methods of testing for declaration of grades or quality of coal, monitor and enforce closure of mines, specify principles and methodologies for price determination of raw coal and washed coal and any other by-produce generated during the process of coal washing, adjudicate upon disputes between parties and discharge other functions as the Central Government may entrust to it.
A fund called ‘The Coal Regulatory Authority Fund” would be created and all grants, fee and charges received by the Authority shall be credited to this fund. After passing of the Bill, details would be worked out and submitted to the Government for appropriate financial sanction for the initial start-up funding.
Based on the recommendations of various committees/expert groups, a Cabinet Note along with the draft Bill had been prepared and circulated to different Ministries/Departments for their comments. The Ministries/ Departments expressed divergent views on some of the provisions of the Bill. After consideration of the comments received and taking them into account, the draft Bill, was finalized and submitted for the consideration of the Cabinet. The Cabinet in its meeting in May, 2012 considered the matter and decided to refer the matter to a Group of Ministers (GoM). The GoM considered the matter and recommended a revised draft Bill for consideration of the Cabinet.