January 28, 2014
WB Govt questions UPA Govt`s motive behind the rush to pass the Regulatory Reforms Bill 2013
West Bengal Government has expressed its discontent against the hurried manner in which the Govt of India is trying to pass the Regulatory Reforms Bill 2013. The State Government has asked for clarifications regarding the sudden alacrity in the Govt regarding the passage of the bill. With the next general elections knocking on the door, the rush in passing important bill is not correct, feel West Bengal Government. It has informed the Central Government that it will not comment on the Bill for the time being and will take a view on the matter only after a new government is instituted at the Centre.
According to the Planning Commission, the new law is needed to maintain convergence in the way different regulators function and ensure that consistency is maintained in issues such as determination of tariffs, enforcement of performance standards, and promoting investment, especially in the infrastructure sector including electricity, telecom, Internet, airports, oil, gas, and ports.
A moot question here is with several existing regulators – both sector-specific and cross-sector, is there a need for another monitoring mechanism? If yes, what should be expected from this institutional framework proposed by the Planning Commission? A related question is, whether this is another attempt for formation of a super regulator. Countries such as India have witnessed problems of overlapping jurisdictions resulting in poor enforcement of regulations and inordinate delays.
In this light, the decision of West Bengal Government is surely worth applauding.