The Government is planning to introduce the Coal Regulatory Bill or Coal Regulatory Authority Bill in the Budget Session starting from February 21, 2012.
Objective of the Coal Regulatory Authority Bill
This bill aims to regulate and conserve the coal sector resources in the country and protect the interest of the consumers and the producers. The bill would also facilitate the standardized operational norms and establish benchmarks in safety standards, performance and productivity through adoption of best mining practices. To encourage greater transparency, the bill seeks to replace coal block allocation done by a government screening panel with allocation of coal blocks through auction. Last year, an inter-ministerial screening committee, which includes representatives from concerned state governments, allocates coal blocks to private firms engaged in generation of power, production of iron and steel, and some coal washeries. The way to auction was cleared by the Government when the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2010 was passed last year. This bill paved the way for introduction of auction through competitive bidding for allocation of coal blocks to private companies for captive use.
Current Status of the Coal Regulatory Authority Bill
As per an statement of the Coal Ministry in January 2012, the ministry will introduce the Coal Regulatory Authority Bill in the 2012 Budget session of the Parliament. The Coal Regulatory Authority Bill will also address the transportation problems faced by the consuming industries among other issues. After becoming an act, the new Coal regulatory authority will determine the price of coal, grant authorisation to undertake mining operations, production and supply of coal, monitor and enforce closure of mines among others.