RS approves Indian Boilers (Amendment) Bill

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New Delhi, Nov 27 (UNI) The Rajya Sabha today approved by voice vote The Indian Boilers (Amendment) Bill, 2007 after the government assured the House that it would streamline the boilers industry in the country without curtailing the authority of state governments in the matter.

The Bill provides for appointment of technical advisers and registration of competent authorities to carry out inspection of boilers during their manufacuture and use.

Replying to the debate on the bill, Minister of State for Commerce and Industries Ashwani Kumar said the Act would facilitate formation of a Central Boilers Board, which would be the apex body for the formulation of rules and guidelines for regulation of manufacture and use of boilers.

Mr Kumar said the Board would have representation from each and every state government, besides technical experts, and any decision by the Board would be taken only by evolving a consensus.

''Consequently, any misgiving about the dilution of authorities of state governments is misplaced,'' he said.

He also defended the punitive aspects of the bill -- jail terms for two years and hiking the penalty amount from Rs 1000 to Rs one lakh -- saying these were required to take care of any mischief by the defaulters.

With regard to the provision allowing inspection of boilers by private parties, he said it had become imperative in view of advancement in technology.

He said the amendment was needed due to technological changes that had taken place the world over and boilers up to the capacity of 500 MW were being manufactured in India itself according to the latest international standards.

Mr Kumar said the existing Act of 1923 brought in by the British to provide safety of life and property of the persons from the dangers of explosion of boilers during the use had become outdated.

The administration of the Act was carried by Inspectorate of Boilers of the States in their respective territories, he noted.

He said the Government had set up a high powered committee in 1972 for a comprehensive review of laws on boilers and unfired pressure vessels. The Committee had concluded that the states did not have adequate machinery or manpower and technical expertise. The interpretation of the Indian Boilers Regulations and standards of inspection was also not uniform.

The minister said the need for amending the Act assumed importance because India had a galloping industrial base and the development which was taking place at 12.3 per cent, the highest in the independent India, could not be retarded by an obsolete law. Initiating the debate, Tirunavukkarasar (BJP) opposed the Bill and urged the government to refer it to the Standing Committee to incorporate the latest developments. Most of the States had opposed these amendments which took away their powers by appointing the consultants from the multi-national companies.

The States would also be deprived of their revenues while the MNCs would make money by way of huge inspection charges. The Government should have consulted states' Labour Ministers before the amendment was brought before the House, he said.

Eds: Here pick up suitably from earlier series.

UNI

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