What has the SC said?
Coal block allocation procedures were non-transparent and arbitrary.
What had the CAG said?
A CAG report of 2012 said that arbitrary allocations during 2005-2009 had robbed the Centre of potential revenues of Rs 1.86 lakh crore.
How was the coal blocks allocated?
Coal fields were allocated by a screening committee.
When was the screening committee formed?
It was formed in 1992.
Who are the members of the committee?
The Coal Secretary chairs the13-member committee comprising representatives from state govts, environment, steel, and railway ministries among others.
How were the coal blocks allotted?
Interested firms were ranked on the basis of different parameters such as land and environmental clearances.
Why didn't the government call for bids?
UPA govt maintained that state governments had opposed a process of bidding.
How different or similar is this to the 2G spectrum scam?
Many of the “coalgate” companies, it was alleged, may have used the allotted mines to raise money from the market at hefty valuations.
· Mines that have already begun production may have to pay a fine.
· Those yet to start production may lose the block allocations or end up paying more.
· SC will hear the matter on September 1.
What about the auction policy?
· Last year, the government had approved a policy to give coal-mining licences to private companies through competitive bidding.
· Coal fields will be auctioned through a transparent competitive bidding.
· Blocks put up for auction will come pre-approved with preliminary environmental clearance.
· Successful bidders will have to make production-linked and upfront payments.