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Proposed Mining Reforms in a Month; at Least 500 Blocks to Be Auctioned in 2-3 Yrs: Pralhad Joshi

Union Minister Pralhad Joshi. (File photo)

Union Minister Pralhad Joshi. (File photo)

The mines ministry had earlier sought suggestions from the general public, mining industry and other stakeholders on the proposed reforms in the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957.

The Centre is planning to come out with the proposed mining reforms in a month or so and the auction of mineral blocks will kickstart two to three months after the amendments take place, Coal and Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi has said.

The mines ministry had earlier sought suggestions from the general public, mining industry and other stakeholders on the proposed reforms in the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957.

"We want to bring these reforms very shortly…In another month or so reforms (proposed mining reforms) should come out," Joshi said in an interview to PTI. The government, he said, is looking into the feedback it has received on the proposed reforms and stressed that the Centre wishes to auction at least 500 mineral blocks in the coming two to three years.

The slew of reform proposals include amending the contentious provisions of 10A(2)(b) and 10A (2)(C) of the MMDR Act, a move that would pave the way for auctioning of around 500 potential leases stuck in legacy issues now. Section 10A(2)(b) deals with leases where reconnaissance permit or prospecting licence were granted while 10A(2)(c) relates to grant of mining leases.

Joshi said there is mixed opinion on 10A(2)(b) and 10A (2)(C) of the Act and stressed that it does not want to go into the details on the same. The mines minister was of the view that the Centre would have to convince state governments before the auction of mineral blocks as the mines ministry was just the policy maker and "rest (with regard to auction) is with the state government." Under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat scheme, the Centre had in May announced enhancing private investments in the mineral sector and bringing in other reforms.

In order to implement the announcements, the mines ministry has proposed legislative amendments to the MMDR Act, 1957 for undertaking structural reforms in mineral sector with the objective of accelerating growth and employment generation. The proposals include increasing mineral production and employment generation by redefining the norms of exploration for auction of mineral blocks and ensuring seamless transition from exploration to production.

They also include resolving legacy issues to move towards an auction only regime for allocation of mineral resources, removing the distinction between captive and non-captive mines, developing a transparent National Mineral Index and clarifying the definition of illegal mining, among others.

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