Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has approved formation of a nine-member ministerial panel to sort out differences over the draft Bill for setting up a regulatory authority for the coal sector.
"The Prime Minister has approved the formation of a Group of Ministers (GoM) (to look into the draft Bill). The government has notified the formation of GoM today," a top Coal Ministry official said.
Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal, Home Minister P Chidambaram, Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Power Minister Sushil kumar Shinde are part of the GoM, the official said.
Mines Minister Dinsha Patel, Corporate Affairs Minister M Veerappa Moily, Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge and Law Minister Salman Khurshid are the other members.
The government is yet to take a call on who will head the GoM, the official said.
The Cabinet in its meeting on May 10 considered the note regarding constitution of coal regulatory authority.
The Coal Ministry had moved a draft Bill to the Cabinet which could not reach a consensus on some of the provisions in the Bill.
Sources had said that some of the Ministers were against grant of so many executive functions to the regulator.
Besides ensuring transparency in allocation of coal blocks, the proposed Bill seeks to provide a level-playing field to all stakeholders and promote investment in the sector.
As per the draft Bill, the regulator's functions include granting authorisation to any person for undertaking mining, monitoring and enforcing closure of mines and determining price of raw and washed coal.
According to the draft, the regulator will attempt to expedite resolution of disputes relating to pricing of coal and put in place benchmarks for performance of companies in the sector.