Centre to set up mining authority

Bill to be tabled in current session of Parliament
Last Updated 31 July 2010, 05:53 IST

The government decision follows suggestions from the Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee constituted to vet the proposed Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Bill, which is likely to come up in the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament.

The proposal to set up the mining regulatory authority will be included in the Bill and tabled in Parliament for its approval.

The members of the GoM, including Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily and Minister for Commerce Anand Sharma, have favoured setting up a strong regulatory mechanism to prevent plundering of mineral wealth, especially by those in power. Karnataka’s case, where three ministers from the BJP-led State government were facing charges of involvement in illegal iron ore mining, was among the examples given to press the need for a monitoring authority.

The regulatory body, to be formed by the Ministry of Mines, should oversee mining-related activities, including management of mineral wealth, by curbing illegal mining and proper auctioning of ore. The GoM also urged the Mines Ministry to probe the possibility of giving 26 per cent stake in mining companies to people whose lands had been acquired for the activity. This will ensure that the benefits of mining reach the impoverished tribal population,  the panel said.

The GoM’s suggestion to share the inclusive growth in the mining sector with affected people may help decrease the influence Maoists have among the tribals of mineral-rich states, a senior Ministry official told Deccan Herald. The panel has also asked the Ministry to work out the modalities on how the stake could be given to those who lost land to mining activities.
DH News Service

The proposals
*GoM headed by Pranab Mukherjee constituted to set up regulatory body
*Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Bill likely to be introduced in
*Karnataka’s mining scam taken as example for need to protect mineral wealth
*Regulatory body to be formed by Ministry of Mines
*GoM proposes 26 per cent stake in companies to people whose lands had been acquired for mining

(Published 30 July 2010, 19:28 IST)

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