New panel to modify energy Acts

THE department of power has set up a working group to prepare new legislation to modify the 14 existing Acts that affect energy consumption. The 10-member panel comprises experts in energy, law, industrial development and representatives from the concerned departments and ministries.

With this, the government would seem to have effectively shelved the proposal for a comprehensive legislation made in 1988 by the Indian Law Institute (ILI) and the Tata Energy Consultancy Services Ltd (TECS) in the form of a draft Energy (Conservation) Bill. The proposed legislation would have led to amendments in the existing law, including the Motor Vehicles Act of 1939, the Bureau of Indian Standards Act of 1986 and the Essential Commodities Act of 1955.

What reportedly forced the government to abandon the bill is opposition from industry, which was the primary- target of the proposed legislation. Says M A J Jayaseelan, joint secretary of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), "Industry will oppose a blanket legislation which does not reckon with present realities. Only an enabling legislation should be attempted in the first stage ......