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Despite being a part of Gondwana continent and rich in minerals such as coal, iron, mica, aluminium, and others, the mining sector’s contribution to India’s GDP has been steadily declining.

The mining industry contributes barely 1.75 percent of GDP.
Other countries, such as South Africa and Australia, provide 7.5% and 6.99%, respectively.

Reasons

Several tribal groups, as well as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs), are located in mining zones. An surge in mining has also put their home in jeopardy. Another key concern is their rehabilitation and compensation.

Concerns About Administration:

  • The auction of a mine is a process in which state governments have the final say. When two distinct political parties are in power at the federal and state levels, there may be ambiguity.
  • There is a lack of investment in exploration and technological advancement. The technology is still outdated and inefficient.
  • Unforeseen challenges, such as the Covid-19 epidemic, have harmed ferrous, non-ferrous, and minor mineral mining.

Environmental Concerns:

  • The act’s reforms untangle India’s mining sector, which is good to the country’s development. Mining has a negative impact on the environment.
  • The government’s policy attempts haven’t been successful yet, and they’ve run into a number of roadblocks.

The Government’s Initiatives 2021 MMDR Amendment Bill 

  • The bill aims to change the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act of 1957, which governs India’s mining industry.
  • End-use mineral restrictions are lifted: The Act allows the central government to set aside any mine (excluding coal, lignite, and atomic minerals) for lease through an auction for a specific end-use (such as an iron ore mine for a steel plant). Captive mines are the name for these kind of mines.
  • No mine will be set aside for a certain end-use, according to the bill.
  • Captive mines (other than atomic minerals) may sell up to 50% of their yearly mineral production on the open market after meeting their own needs, according to the bill.

In some situations, the Central Government will hold an auction:

  • In agreement with the state government, the central government can set a deadline for the auction process to be completed.
  • If the state government fails to finish the auction procedure within this time frame, the auctions may be held by the federal government.
  • Transfer of statutory clearances: It states that transferred statutory clearances are valid for the new lessee’s whole lease tenure.
  • Currently, within two years of the transfer from the former lessee, the new lessee must file for new clearances.
  • Mines with expired leases may be assigned to a government firm in certain circumstances, according to the bill.
  • The state government may grant a government firm a lease for such a mine for up to ten years or until a new lessee is found, whichever comes first.

Extending mining leases to government firms:

  • The Act states that the central government would set the length of mining leases awarded to government companies, which can be extended by paying additional fees specified in the Bill.

Conclusion

There is a need to speed up the clearance process in order to make the most use of mineral resources. To prevent mine-related accidents, strict enforcement of mining-related rules is required, particularly the prohibition on Rat-Hole and unscientific mining.

The solution is to concentrate on high-end technology for underground mining, which is used by miners all over the world.

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