New Mining Bill set to lapse, not listed for this session

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 05, 2014

Profit sharing by mining companies with affected people not for now

Profit sharing by mining companies with people displaced by projects is unlikely to become a reality in the near future.

The long-pending Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Bill 2011, which envisaged the concept of profit sharing by mining companies with project-affected people, has not made it to the list of 39 Bills that are being taken up in the Lok Sabha in the current session of Parliament.

As a result, the Bill is set to lapse as the current extended winter session of the 15th Lok Sabha is the last ahead of the general elections in May. Now, it is left to the new Government to take a call on the Bill.

The mining industry had vehemently opposed the profit sharing provision in the Bill as it entailed incurring an additional burden of around ₹10,000 crore if it were to be enacted into law.

“We are not in a position to table it in the current session because there is no certainty that the listed 39 Bills would get taken up,” Mines Minister Dinsha Patel told reporters on sidelines of an event organised by the Geological Survey of India. The MMDR Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha in December 2011 and it sought to replace more than half-a-century-old law under the same name.

The Bill was subsequently referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Steel and Coal, which had made about 107 suggestions after deliberating over it for about 15 months in May 2013.

“If all the suggestions were accepted, the shape of the new mines Bill will completely change. There were about 25 suggestions which can be accepted, but for others we had to approach the States,” Patel added.

Conspiracy, says Opposition

However, the Opposition is apprehending a conspiracy. BJP leader and Lok Sabha MP Hansraj Ahir said blamed the Congress for blocking the passage of the Bill.

“They want to lease out the precious minerals. This is going as a scam as happened in the coal block allotment. The standing committee had more than 20 sittings on this bill and we made it stronger after talking to a lot of stakeholders. We will take up the matter in Parliament.”

According to the provisions of the Bill, coal and lignite companies would have to pay an amount equal to 26 per cent of their previous year’s profit from mining operations to the District Mineral Foundation for the welfare of the project-affected people.

The non-coal mineral firms such as iron ore and bauxite will have to pay an amount equivalent to the royalty paid for the financial year towards the same.

It also provided for a simple and transparent mechanism for grant of mining lease or prospecting licence through competitive bidding in areas with known mineral deposits and on the first-in-time in areas where mineralisation is not known.

Published on February 05, 2014

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