The Wednesday meeting is set to discuss the issue of a new allocation policy

At a time when the government is pushing hard its pending agenda on reforms, the Prime Minister’s Office has convened a meeting to discuss coal sector reforms where the issue of restructuring of Coal India Ltd. (CIL) and constituting a Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB)-type body for expediting clearances is set to be discussed.

The Centre is keen to set up a single-window mechanism for coal projects on the lines of the FIPB. The urgency for setting up a body is linked to the delays being encountered by coal projects due to issues such as land acquisition and environmental and forestry clearances.

The Centre is of the view that the delays are mainly at the State level. These clearances take between one year and seven years. It is now proposed to make the entire matter time-bound. The meeting is scheduled to discuss the possibility of setting up an office of coal governance and regulation. The government thinking is to mould this new body not merely as a regulating authority but as a development organisation with separate directorates for each aspect of coal production.

The meeting, which is scheduled for Wednesday, is also set to discuss the issue of a new coal allocation policy, the CAG report and the public interest litigation filed in this regard.

At the meeting, CIL has been asked to disclose its plans on developing the 116 Greenfield blocks that have been allocated to it recently. The possibility of making the inter-ministerial group (set up in the wake of the coal scam) as a permanent body is also set to be discussed at the meeting which would be attended by the coal and power secretaries, the chairman of CIL and senior coal ministry officials.

Shankar panel report

On the agenda of the meeting is a review of the status of implementation of the T. L. Shankar committee report recommendations on the future course of action on key policy areas and reforms that are necessary for the sector.

Price pool and FSA (fuel supply agreement) are also to be discussed at Wednesday’s meet.

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