Our Bureau

New Delhi, Sept. 15

ARE Orissa, Chhattisgarh and a few other States fair in demanding that the value addition to mineral ores mined in the State must be done within its boundaries?

While the heated debate on this continues unabated, the Planning Commission has set up a high-level panel to examine the implications of the same.

This assumes significance in view of the recent demand by some mineral-rich States that minerals mined within the State must be processed for value addition in the State and only the final product would go out, Particularly, Orissa and Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand insisted on this for mining of iron ore.

The commission has set up a high-level committee under the chairmanship of Mr Anwarul Hoda, member of the commission, to review the National Mineral Policy and recommend possible amendments to the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Act, 1957 and suggest changes needed to encourage investment in public and private sector in exploration and exploitation of minerals, according to an official release.

The terms of reference of the committee state that it would examine the implications of the policy of mineral-rich States to make value addition within the State a condition for grant of mineral concession and make appropriate recommendations in this regard.

The committee will also suggest ways for simplification and streamlining of the existing procedures for granting reconnaissance permit, prospective lease and mining lease. Procedures for according clearance to mineral exploration and mining projects under Forest (Conservation) and Environment (Protection) Act 1986 would also be reviewed to suggest ways for speedy clearances.

The terms of reference of the committee also include prioritisation of critical infrastructure needs of the Indian mining sector and ways to facilitate investment to meet these needs.

The high-level committee will also examine ways of augmenting state revenues from the Mineral sector and any other issue relevant for stimulating investment flows and inducting state-of-the-art technology into the sector. The committee will finalise the report by the end of December this year. The committee comprises representatives of various departments of the Central Government, representatives of some State Governments and industry associations.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 16, 2005)
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