New Delhi, March 15: Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi on Monday introduced a bill in the Lok Sabha to amend the Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957.
The amendments proposed in the Bill are aimed at bringing mega reforms in the mines sector with resolution of legacy issues, and making a large number of mines available for auctions. It will help strengthen the auction-only regime and boost transparency in the system.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor opposed the introduction of the bill, saying he has three objections to the bill.
The bill fails to acknowledge the adverse impact on environment and bio-diversity, it is a threat on lives of people residing close to the mines, and also impinges on the federal structure of the states, Tharoor said.
Joshi said the regulation of mines, mineral development is under the control of central government as per the Constitution.
The reforms as part of the bill include removing the distinction between captive and non-captive mines and introduction of an index-based mechanism by developing a National Mineral Index (NMI) for various statutory payments, among others.
In order to boost exploration, there will be review of functioning of the National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET). NMET will be made an autonomous body.
Private entities will also be engaged in exploration works now. Simplification of exploration regime will also be done to facilitate seamless transition from exploration to production.
The major objective of the reforms is to generate huge employment opportunities, reduce imports and increase production by bringing large mineral blocks into auction. - PTI