MMDR Amendment Bill 2015 to Implement New Strategies on Mining Industry

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Loksabha on its commendable process of setting aside archaic statutes passed the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Amendment Bill 2015 and on Wednesday a select committee of Rajyasabha members approved the bill. The statute of 1957 was put before the Loksabha for amendment on February 24. The Amended Bill is to be placed before Rajyasabha on Thursday.

 The new bill has two amended provisions was dissented by four members of the committee. The new provision includes allocation of minerals through auction, benefit sharing by miners and prevention of illegal mining. Re-drafting of the clause nine of the bill was also suggested by Bhupendar Yadav MP of Bhartiya Janata Party who was the panel head of the select committee. He recommended official amendment in the ninth clause with regard to the establishment of District Mineral Foundation and National Mineral Exploration Trust, where a distinction is required for the benefit sharing miners’ availed leases before and after the commencement of the MMDR Amendment Act 2015.  A contribution from the miners who availed the grant before the commencement of the act is expected by the committee. They are subject to the amendment of payment not exceeding the limit of royalty of DMF to the local welfare.

The Second amendment relates to the insertion of new para in the same clause for the State Government subject to constitutional provisions while implementing the act in Tribal areas. The administration of government in the scheduled caste and tribal area should follow the guidance of constitutional provisions and Panchayat Extension to the Scheduled Areas Act ( PESA).

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Disproval note on committees report was cast by TK Rangarajan, Shanta Ram Naik, Pavan Verma and D Raja. They strongly opposed the report alleging that the “view of Officials” from the mineral bearing states and tribal organizations were not considered and ignorance of the committee makes its entire exercise infructuous.

 The dissenters opposed several provisions and demanded withdrawal of  provision allowing enhancement of lease tenure from 30 to 50 years, to insert new provisions for curbing illegal mining in addition to penalties, incorporating provisions of  MMDR 2011 granting monetary benefits to the affected local population by mining, 100% royalty sharing for non-coal minerals and 25 % for profit sharing coal. The dissenters also put their disproval of Center’s mining plans with limited infrastructure and expertise at the states.

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by Dhanya R.