Economy

Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill introduced in Lok Sabha

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 02, 2020

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Coal and Mines Pralhad Joshi

Removes end use restrictions for participating in coal mine auctions

The Centre has taken the next step towards providing statutory backup for commercial coal mine auctions with the introduction of a specific Bill for this purpose in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

The Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, when enacted, would replace the Mineral Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020.

The ordinance had brought in amendments to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 and Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015.

Introducing the Bill, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Coal and Mines, Pralhad Joshi, said, “The Bill will pave the way to offer coal blocks for mining through prospecting license-cum-mining lease, thus promoting foreign direct investment in the sector... Doing away with restrictions of end use will also help in boosting Ease of Doing Business.”

The passage of this act is being considered essential for commercial coal mining auctions that the Centre plans to conduct soon. The automatic transfer of environment and forest clearances for iron-ore mines being enabled by this legislation is aimed at assuring raw material supplies for the domestic industry.

“It has become necessary to make certain amendments in the Mines and Minerals Act and the Coal Mines Act so as to facilitate seamless transfer of all valid rights, approvals, clearances, licenses and the like for a period of two years to a new lessee in case of minerals other than coal, lignite and atomic minerals,” the Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill said.

But the domestic mining sector is far from excited from the amendments to the existing acts.

In an earlier statement, RK Sharma, Secretary General, Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) said, “The current mining policy has put India out of attractive destination for investment in mining. At one time, almost all major mining companies in the world were in India following amendment of MMDR Act, 1957 in December, 1999. Today, all these companies have moved out of India because of the auction policy adopted by this country in January, 2015.”

With the new auction based mining regime in place, the Canada-based The Fraser Institute, which conducts annual surveys on attractive destination for investment in mining and prospecting, has removed India from the list of countries from its survey.

“The result will be that India will be deprived for state-of-the-art technology and investment capital particularly in deep-seated minerals, for which the country depends on imports,” Sharma said.

Published on March 02, 2020

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