The Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) and three other committees appointed by the government have strongly recommended the need for an independent coal sector regulator to regulate and determine coal prices for core users , including power, steel and cement.
ASCI is a government thinktank on business and economy. It was mandated to look into the need for a regulator for the coal sector. The regulator would promote competition in the coal sector, the ASCI said. This would lead to competitive pricing and ensure optimal use of the natural resource to promote energy security.
An independent coal sector regulator, according to the ASCI and government committees, will help in improving "exploitation and allocations of available resources and regulate e-auctions to enable competitive coal markets to take shape."
The paper suggests the need to de-link the existing regulatory agencies that deal with certain parts of overall governance in the coal sector and bringing it under a single agency – the Coal Governance and Regulation Authority. The proposed authority will look into the overall resource management, safety, health and employment, prices, taxes, royalty and other associated aspects.
At present all coal producing companies are regulated by the coal ministry, which controls 94 per cent of the country's total coal production.