Narendra Singh Tomar, Union minister for mines, said on Thursday that amendments to the Mines and Mineral Development and Regulation (MMDR) Act, 1957 would be carried in the coming session of Parliament. Amending the MMDR Act is expected to strengthen the sector, hit by illegalities.
“We are working on changes to the Bill tabled in 2011-12 by the previous government. It could not be passed as it lapsed with the completion of the term of Parliament. We wish to reintroduce the Bill with certain changes in the coming session,” said Tomar.
The ministry is fine-tuning the Bill by making certain changes after consulting state governments, Tomar told reporters here after inaugurating the fifth edition of the ‘Mining, exploration convention & trade show’ organised by the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (Fimi).
The ministry has sought comments from mining states such as Goa, Karnataka, Odisha and Chhattisgarh. It has also elicited views from other stakeholders, including Fimi, as part of its efforts to frame guidelines. The government would consider the views and recommendations of the Shah commission, as well as some recent Supreme Court verdicts on mining. There will be greater transparency in the allotment of mining leases, Tomar noted.
The ministry has proposed to accord greater powers to states in terms of allocating resources.
Expressing concern over the negative public perception about mining, the minister said there was a need to have a transparent and efficient system of allocation of leases, along with a robust regulatory framework that best serves the interests of the country.
Stating the government was open to foreign direct investment in the sector, the minister said industry-friendly rules and regulations would be framed upon implementation of the Act, in consultation with stakeholders of the industry and state governments. He said it was the ‘greed’ of the profit-oriented mining industry which had led to the current mess in the industry and resulted in the intervention of the judiciary.