An interesting update on regulatory reform in India is provided by an article by the India Times dated 13 Dec. (extract) "The government has given its go ahead to the proposed Draft Regulatory Reform Bill, 2013 which aims to make regulators across key infrastructure sectors accountable to the Parliament besides giving them power of licensing."The Prime Minister's Office gave its go-ahead to the bill last week. The bill is now up for consultation with various stakeholders and once it is finalised it may be taken up in Parliament during the budget session," a senior official told ET, requesting anonymity. The bill aims to fill a lacuna since India does not have a law to monitor the functioning of a large number of regulatory authorities existing in the country. The draft bill will apply to key sectors such as electricity, oil and gas, coal, telecommunications and internet, broadcasting and cable television, posts, airports, ports, waterways, railways, mass rapid transit system, highways and water supply, and sanitation." The overall operation of the regulator will be subject to scrutiny by the Parliament on a yearly basis.
Three days later, the Indian Express makes a unenthusiastic assessment of this development: "Given that the government hasn't been able to muster the courage to bring its regulatory reform bill to Parliament for the last four years, it is difficult to see how it will happen this time around, though the bill is now to be circulated among ministries for their comments. At its heart, the bill seeks to take away from ministries the discretionary powers to award and cancel licenses, and plans to give them to professionally run regulatory commissions which, as is the case today, will have appellate tribunals to ensure that those unhappy with the decisions get a chance to appeal them."