The Union Cabinet approved the setting up of Coal Regulatory Authority (CRA) on 20 February 2014. The proposal for setting up CRA was made by the Union Coal Ministry.The regulator is a non-statutory entity. 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. 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.