Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has asked the Planning Commission to prepare a draft bill seeking stakeholders comments on regulatory reforms, amid complaints from certain quarters about the haphazard functioning of the current set of watchdogs.

“An Approach Paper on the subject was published by the Planning Commission after extensive consultations with experts and stakeholders. I have asked the commission to prepare a draft bill outlining the next stage of regulatory reforms,” he said at a conference on infrastructure on Tuesday.

He said the government would welcome views of all stakeholders in this very important area.

“We need to review the approach that should guide our regulatory institutions in different sectors,” Dr. Singh said.

To a question from the floor that the government should bring out an omnibus legislation to set up “infrastructure czar” to override all other regulations, Dr. Singh said the government would look into suggestions.

Earlier, the Planning Commission had come out with an Approach Paper on regulatory reforms, saying it saw a need to bring regulators under the common format as there are many independent watchdogs for various sectors while many areas do not have any regulators.

The country has several regulators such as TRAI for telecom and broadcast industry, SEBI for the capital markets and IRDA for the insurance industry.

The paper said it wished to deal with the “somewhat haphazard and uneven approach to regulation across and within the different sectors of the economy resulting in inadequate and expensive reform.”

The paper pointed out TAMP (Tariff Authority for Major Ports) has limited authority in determining tariffs for major ports, while AAI (Airports Authority of India) is operator and regulator of airports, and DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) along with the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security is responsible for safety and technical aspects.

The paper also said there is no energy sector regulator, while the social sector lacks any independent and transparent regulation.

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