Downstream regulatory bill ready for parliament

Vol 5, PW 17 (10 Oct 01) People & Policy

In less than six months India sweeps away the mass of archaic controls that regulate the retail price of petrol, diesel, kerosene and LPG under the Administered Pricing Mechanism.

What follows Chaos A vacuum Luckily, none of these. Petrowatch has exclusive excerpts from a 14th September draft of the Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Board Bill, 2001 soon to go before parliament.

It's remit "To provide for the establishment of the Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Board to regulate the downstream petroleum industry activities, promote competitive markets under a regime of fair prices, uninterrupted and adequate supply of petroleum products in all parts of the country, and protect consumer interest, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto." Split into11 chapters and 67 clauses, the Bill goes before the next session of parliament, but could see life before. An oil ministry source tells us it could be enacted via a presidential ordinance.

"We can have the bill as an ordinance before parliament meets," he tells Petrowatch. "We don't have to wait till the winter session." In theory the bill allows independent regulators to replace government.

In practice government officials - ever reluctant to cede power - will no doubt ensure they still enjoy control.