New Delhi: A Parliamentary panel on Wednesday pitched for greater autonomy to the proposed statutory safety regulator for the nuclear sector, a step that would allow it to earn credibility and trust of the people.

It found certain clauses of the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority Bill regarding removal of chairperson and members of the Authority and the government's power to supersede the regulator may impinge on the functional autonomy.

"The Department (of Atomic Energy) should explore possibilities of making the Regulatory Authority more independent and autonomous not only to carry out its functions effectively but also to enjoy credibility among the public and the trust of the people," said the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology in its report on the Bill.

The report was tabled in Parliament on Wednesday.  The CPI (M) members Saman Pathak and Anup Kumar Saha gave dissent notes contending that the Bill failed to provide substantive autonomy to the NSRA. They said the Bill seeks to make the Authority subservient to the Central Government.

"Such a regulatory structure will be ineffective and not carry credibility with the people," they said.

The Committee also brushed aside clarifications by the government and suggested that it fix a time limit of 120-180 days for enforcement of all provisions of the Act. "This would ensure that various Authorities/bodies envisaged in the Bill are established in a time-bound manner," it said.

It also asked the government to restrict the number of members of the Council of Nuclear Safety and have a maximum of five experts to be nominated by the Centre. The current Bill has no such limit.

The dissenters - Pathak and Sahu - contended that the Council of Nuclear Safety was unnecessary and suggested that the Chairman for the Authority may be appointed by the Prime Minister after consulting the Speaker, Lok Sabha; Chairman, Rajya Sabha; Leader of Opposition and Chief Justice of India.

They suggested removal of Chairman of the Authority after approval by a majority in Parliament.

(Agencies)