The Telegraph
Friday , February 21 , 2014
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Coal regulator gets cabinet approval

Keeping tabs

New Delhi, Feb. 20: The government has approved the setting up of a Coal Regulatory Authority through an executive order as the proposed legislation is unlikely to be passed in the current session of Parliament, which has been stalled over Telengana and other issues.

“The cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) has given nod to the proposal to set up a coal regulator through an executive order,” a senior minister said after the meeting.

The regulator, a non-statutory entity, will lack legislative teeth envisaged in the Coal Regulatory Authority Bill, 2012. Therefore, its orders will be advisory and not mandatory in nature.

It will be empowered to specify the principles and methodology to determine the price of raw and washed coal and any other by-product generated during washing.

The regulator will not have the power to decide the price in the domestic market, and Coal India will continue to enjoy its freedom to set the rates. The regulator will also have no say in the allocation of coal acreages.

It will not have the power and functions that are vested with the Coal Controller under the present law. Powers, such as the settlement of disputes over quality, will be transferred to the regulator once the bill is passed.

However, it will regulate testing methods to declare grades or quality, specify the procedure for automatic sampling and adjudicate upon disputes. It will also monitor the closure of mines and the approval of mining plans.

Experts maintain that the regulatory authority will go a long way in cleaning up the muck that has accumulated in this sector. This will make the sector competitive and increase private participation.

FDI proposals

A proposal by GlaxoSmithKline to bring foreign direct investment (FDI) worth Rs 6,400 crore received cabinet approval today.

The healthcare major will use the money to make an open offer to raise its stake in its Indian arm — GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals — to 75 per cent from 50.67 per cent.

The CCEA also approved a foreign investment of Rs 1,540 crore by Japanese company Hitachi for a 100 per cent stake in Prizm Payment Services.