[Answered] Highlight the desirability of constitutional status to regulatory authorities in India to ensure good governance.

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Introduction: Explain what are regulatory bodies.
Body: Write the challenges faced by regulatory bodies. Write how constitutional status would address those challenges.
Conclusion: Give a way forward.

Regulatory authorities are governmental bodies established by the government in order to set standards in a specific field of activity, or operations and then to enforce those standards. They are responsible for upholding good governance in their respective fields. Some examples of regulatory bodies are RBI, SEBI and CCI.

In India regulatory authorities face challenges that restrict their ability to ensure good governance.

  • Dependence on parent ministry: Several regulators depend on their parent ministry for funds and personnel which affects their ability to discharge their mandate effectively.
  • Government Interference: In India political populism often overtakes the governance agenda. There are constant interferences in the functioning of regulatory bodies by the ruling political parties. For example, Interventions of government in the RBI functioning.
  • Appointment by executive: Appointment of head and members of regulatory bodies done by the executive, enables executive’s sway over the decisions of regulatory bodies which affects their independent functioning.
  • Recommendations of Regulatory Authorities: Recommendations of regulatory authorities are rarely implemented which affects good governance in various fields.
  • Overlapping powers: Various regulators have common powers, like Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and National Green Tribunal (NGT) over environmental issues. Which creates contention between regulators and affects good governance.

How constitutional status to regulatory authorities would address these challenges.

  • Remove the asymmetry between regulatory authority and Ministries: Constitutional status would ensure that regulators are no longer treated as a department of a ministry, rather an independent body.
  • Reduce interference: Constitutional status would ensure that the regulatory bodies are independent in terms of functioning as the constitutional mandate would give them greater authority and protection from executive actions.
  • Transparent appointment and functioning: Once constitutional status is granted to regulatory bodies, the process of appointment and functioning would become more structured and transparent.
  • Recommendation of regulatory authority: Constitutional status would ensure that the reports by regulatory authority will be laid in parliament which would ensure their recommendations are taken up.
  • Defined sphere of functioning: Constitutional status would ensure clear demarcation of roles for regulatory bodies which would ensure that no two bodies would have overlapping powers.

However, giving constitutional status is not a panacea for all the challenges of regulatory bodies. It has to be supported with political will, financial autonomy and good work culture to ensure that regulatory bodies can achieve the goal of good governance.

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