Parliament passes crucial coal, mines bills

Parliament passes crucial coal, mines bills

Parliament on Friday passed two reform bills on the coal and mine sectors, seeking to bring transparency in the auctioning of several key minerals like coal, iron ore, bauxite, limestone and manganese besides aiding the mining industry.

As both the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2015, and the Mines and Minerals (development and regulation) Amendment bill, 2015 were put to vote after the debate, the floor managers from the government secured the support of Opposition parties like the TMC, SP, BSP, NCP, BJD and the AIADMK for getting the legislation passed. The NDA is in the minority in the Upper House.

The Mines and Minerals (development and regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015, was passed by the Upper House with a margin of 117-69 after an hour of debate whereas the verdict in favour of the Coal Mines Bill (Special Provisions) Bill 2015 was 107-62. Only the Congress, Left and the DMK voted against the two bills that were passed by the Lok Sabha.

As the mines bill has one new official amendment that was not in the previous version passed by the Lok Sabha, it was sent back to the Lower House, which approved the change.
Except the bill on land acquisition, almost all the of major legislation have been passed by Parliament.

A roadblock to the Mines and Minerals Bill was created by CPM member P Rajeeve, who moved a motion seeking to send it to the House Select Committee again. But Upper House members negated the idea as 112 MPs voted against the motion while it received support from 68 members.

Several Rajya Sabha members, however, pointed out that the bill might face a legal challenge as it ran contrary to several Supreme Court rulings, giving the ownership rights of the mines to the states.

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