Will report on natural resources be made public?

The government has refrained from making public the recommendations of a report on allotment of natural resources.

New Delhi: Amid the ongoing controversy over 2G spectrum and gas allocation, the government has refrained from making public the recommendations of the Ashok Chawla panel`s report on allotment of natural resources.

The committee was in favour of making public the report on `Open and Competitive Mechanism for Allocation, Pricing and Utilisation of Natural Resources` for eliciting comments from stakeholders.

According to sources, "There were certain recommendations which were different from the current policy framework...hence the government decided not to make it public".

In the aftermath of allegations of scandal in the 2G spectrum allocation and social activists protesting against corruption in government policies, there has been a sense of policy paralysis.

The CAG, which pegged the losses due to faulty 2G spectrum allocation at Rs 1.76 lakh crore, was also critical of the government`s oil sector policies.

The sources further said the government is likely to announce steps based on the recommendation of the committee, in the wake of criticism that there is a policy paralysis.

"Most likely they would bring it before the Cabinet by December and take some decisions," a source said. The committee, among other things, is believed to have
suggested that states should move towards a transparent bidding process to allocate mineral resources.

Chawla, a former finance secretary, had submitted its report to the Group of Ministers (GoM) on corruption, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, in June.

The committee was set up in January to recommend open and transparent ways for allocating natural resources like land, mining, coal, petroleum, natural gas, telecom, forests and water.

The GoM is believed to have accepted most of the key recommendations of the committee, except one that relates to seeking permission of the Supreme Court to evolve guidelines for de-reservation of land currently classified as forest land.


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