Indian Steel and Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday said the Narendra Modi-led government is making all efforts to introduce a new mines bill in the next Lok Sabha session and bring out guidelines to remove bottlenecks in the mining sector in a week’s time.
“We are making all our efforts to bring the new bill in next Lok Sabha session”. The government has completed much of the work in drafting guidelines and it would be finished in a week’s time. “The work on preparing guidelines will be completed in a week’s time,” he said.
Tomar said the government is holding talks with all stakeholders and discussing the issues with chief ministers and other officials of the states to come out with the new bill.
“The bill will serve the purpose of evolving a transparent and efficient system of allocation of leases, along with a robust regulatory framework that best serves India’s interests,” he said, addressing an international convention at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre.
He said the mining sector should work with synergy between the Centre and states.
“We would like to frame a transparent mining system for lease approval and auctions and efforts would be made in that direction,” he said.
The Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Bill, 2011 that provided for sharing of 26 per cent of profits with the project affected people has lapsed.
Seeking to replace a more than half-a-century-old law, the UPA-II government in 2011 had tabled the MMDR Bill, 2011 in Lok Sabha in December, 2011. But, it could not be passed.
The 1957 Act of the same name has already been amended several times and further amendments may not clearly reflect the objects emanating from the New National Mineral Policy.
Asked whether the Centre is planning to overhaul the bill, Tomar said “When it is ready, we will bring it out before the people.”
He said the new bill addresses two issues – to bring transparency in mining process and remove legal obstacles while taking up mining activities.
The MMDR Bill, 2011 also sought to empower the state governments to constitute special courts for providing speedy trial of the offences relating to illegal mining.
It also intended to empower the central government to intervene in the cases of illegal mining where the concerned state government fails to take action against illegal mining.
The Bill envisaged introduction of competitive bidding process to encourage the participation of private parties in the sector.