A group of ministers (GoM) headed by finance minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday approved a bill that seeks to set up an independent regulatory authority for the coal sector to address contentious issues like pricing, supply and quality. The Coal Regulatory Authority Bill is now expected to move to the Cabinet within ten days for its approval.
“We (GoM) had a very successful meeting on both issues of Coal Regulatory Authority Bill and pass-through mechanism for supply of coal. Both the things are ready and hopefully in a week or next ten days we should be ready to take it to the Cabinet,” power minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said after the meeting of GoM.
Scindia said some of the major functions of the proposed authority would be related to pricing, quality and supply of coal. “It (Bill) balances the interest of all stake holders, 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,” he explained.
Coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said: “The format for Coal Regulatory Authority Bill has been approved and would be forwarded to the Cabinet.”
The pass through mechanism involves passing of the hike in coal’s price to consumers.
Settling the issue of fixing coal prices, the GoM had earlier this month decided that the proposed regulator would not determine fuel rates, a job that will continue to be vested with the producers.
The regulator will be, however, be empowered to resolve disputes including those arising out of fuel supply agreements (FSAs).