Centre moots greater role for States in minerals mining
The Dollar Business Bureau With an aim to expedite the mineral development, the Government of India on Thursday has taken decision to delegate power to the State governments. Notifying 31 major minerals under the minor mineral category, the Indian Union Minister of Steel and Mines Narendra Singh Tomar announced that this move of the Centre is to devolve more power to the States. The Minister was speaking on the sidelines of the 54th meeting of Central Geological Programming Board (CGPB) at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on Thursday. These 31 minerals account for over 55% of the total number of leases and nearly 60% of total leased area. The Minister further said that the Central government wants the Public Sector Units (PSUs) to actively take part in strengthening the mineral inventory database of India. He further added that the regulatory and administrative jurisdiction of minor minerals will fall under the purview of the State governments. Now, the State governments will have authority to frame rules, prescribe rates of royalty, contribution to District Mineral Foundation, the procedure for grant of mineral concessions, the Minister added. At the meet, the members of the Central Geological Programming Board and all the stake holders from the State governments, Central/State mining agencies, PSUs, presented their proposals for working in collaboration with the Geological Survey of India (GSI). Earlier in a meeting on Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Amendment Ordinance, 2015, in Odisha, the Central Government had asked the state mining officials, agencies and PSUs to work in tandem with the GSI to expedite the identification of mineral blocks to make them available for auction. Under Make In India policy, the Central government on January 19, 2015, had decided to move to States pitching for the MMDR ordinance which promotes the mining process through auction. Now, with the latest move, the Centre seems to have expedited the process of identifying the mineral bases across India, with an aim to provide them under auction for drawing private investments in the mining sector.
This article was published on February 5, 2015.