New regulator for Indian coal sector

THE INDIAN coal sector will now be overseen by a regulatory body that will monitor the supply and pricing of the fuel.

Staff Reporter

The regulatory authority will prescribe principles for price determination of the fuel, adjudicate on disputes between parties and enforce closure of mines, according to Indian english-language news source DNA.

India’s Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the proposed Coal Regulatory Authority Bill on Thursday, but it needed parliament's approval to become law.

In an official statement after a CCEA meeting in New Delhi, the cabinet outlined its vision for the agency.

"The Authority (coal regulator) 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," the statement said, according to DNA.

The coal regulator "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," said the statement.

The regulator, however, will have no say in allocation of coal blocks and state-owned giant Coal India will continue to decide the price of coal.

The initiative is part of a set of reform measures the government has undertaken to attempt to liberalize a minority-run energy sector and revitalize economic growth.

According to the World Coal Association, India generates about 69% of its electricity from coal, with production and consumption consistently rising over the past 10 years.

However, it hasn’t been nearly enough to power the country, with Coal India falling under serious pressure from power companies and government to increase the amount and quality of the coal it produces.

Coal India is the world’s largest coal producer and meets more than 80% of the country’s energy requirements but has been accused by critics of inefficient performance.

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