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The South Asia Forum for Infrastructure Regulation (SAFIR) was established in May 1999. SAFIR aims at providing high quality capacity building and training on infrastructure regulation & related topics, in South Asia and to stimulate research on the subject by building a network of regional and international institutions & individuals that are active in the field. It also aims at facilitating effective and efficient regulation of Utility and infrastructure industries, initiate beneficial exchange of knowledge and expertise, and set the trend of rapid implementation of global best practices.
SAFIR Aims To,
(i) Provide a platform for experience sharing amongst the regulators of the region.
(ii) Build regulatory decision-making and response capacity in South Asia.
(iii) Facilitate the regulatory process.
(iv) Conduct training programmes to serve regulatory agencies and other stakeholders.
(iv) Spur research on regulatory issues.
(v) Provide a databank of information relating to regulatory reform processes and experiences.
The activities of the SAFIR are guided by a Steering Committee comprising all the members and an Executive Committee consisting of a representative each from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka was constituted to take SAFIR forward. SAFIR encompasses membership from Academic institutions, Consumer bodies/ NGOs, Corporate/Utilities and Regulatory bodies including Energy Regulators.
SAFIR‟s most visible activity is the Core Course on Infrastructure Regulation. The core course is aimed at utility regulators and their staff, senior government officials working on the reform of the infrastructure sectors, and executives from public and private regulated infrastructure service providers. The core course delivers practical lessons on the regulation and restructuring of infrastructure from within and outside the region. It also provides an ideal opportunity for participants to exchange their own experiences and to build networks within the region. The training course is designed for a select group of participants from government departments, regulatory agencies, regulated agencies, private institutions concerned with the infrastructure sector such as power, telecommunications, water, and transport from the South Asia region. Participants from other regions can also apply. All participants receive a certificate on completion of the course SAFIR also organises an Infrastructure Conference to present the vibrant and evolving policy and regulatory framework in South Asia, which has, over the period, played an important role in building, enhancing and channelizing private investments into Infrastructure sector. The Conference is addressed by key Policy Makers, Regulators and Investors from across the region. It aims to facilitate a constructive dialogue among all stakeholders to further strengthen regulatory framework and promote investments in the infrastructure sector. The Conference provides a unique opportunity to investors & business community to understand the emerging investment opportunities / projects on offer in member countries of South Asia, which includes Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and India.
In order to overcome the constraints due to time, space and organizational boundaries, SAFIR forms “Virtual Working Groups” from amongst the representatives of the Member organizations, to discuss, deliberate various issues of great importance to the infrastructure sector, viz. power, telecommunications, water, and transport effectively utilizing information and telecommunication technologies to accomplish such tasks assigned to the groups.
The SCM (Steering Committee Meeting) and the ECM (Executive Committee Meeting) of the SAFIR are also held at regular intervals.
Presently the Secretariat of SAFIR is housed within Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, at Chanderlok building, 36, Janpath, New Delhi, India and all the activities/Administrative function are carried out by SAFIR Secretariat housed at CERC (Central Electricity Regulatory Commission is a statutory body functioning under sec - 76 of the Electricity Act, 2003).
The activities of SAFIR and consequently of SAFIR Secretariat have been increasing over the period and include inter alia conducting in-house research, studies by engaging external agencies, conducting flagship core course, other capacity building programmes, organising meetings, managing the administrative and establishment matters of SAFIR.