News reports suggest that the finance ministry and the Planning Commission want to bring regulators of various sectors under parliamentary scrutiny. In principle, it’s true that accountability is a must—as regulators’ role is to ensure competitive functioning of markets as well as consumer interest and equitable access. The Plan panel, in fact, in a paper late last year, touched on this, but also admitted that preserving the independence of regulators would then be a tough task.
It’s worth debating if adding another layer of control will check any inefficiency in regulators’ functioning. Should we not first get the right talent in that has the capacity to make efficient rules? Which means the government must curb its tendency to appoint retired bureaucrats in these bodies and get the experts in. This calls for market-based remuneration and removing the mandate that they can’t take commercial assignments for as much as up to two years after their regulatory tenure.