March 23, 2021 3:05:14 am
Amid protests by the Opposition, Rajya Sabha Monday passed The Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2021. The Bill proposes to remove restrictions of end-use for future auctions of mineral mining rights, allow operators of existing captive mines to sell up to 50 per cent of minerals extracted in a year, and empower the central government to conduct auction of mines if state governments do not conduct auctions in a timely manner.
Union Minister for Mines Pralhad Joshi, who moved the Bill, said there are eight major reforms to generate employment, redefine mining exploration, and to increase the sector’s GDP contribution. The National Mineral Exploration Trust, he said, would become an autonomous body that would allow private bodies to explore and end the difference between captive and non-captive mines, he said.
The Opposition demanded that the Bill be sent to a select committee. Congress MP Digvijaya Singh moved a motion to do so.
Joshi said that India produces 95 minerals and produces Rs 1.25 lakh crore of minerals, but imports Rs 2.5 lakh crore of minerals. The GDP contribution of mining is one per cent and “we want to take it up to 2.5 per cent”, he said.
“We know we have rich minerals but we are not able to dig it out,” Joshi said.
Singh said there needs to be proper discussion so that gram sabhas can give their consent and issues of the poor and Adivasis can be addressed. “Please don’t do what you did with the farm Bill again,” he said.
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