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Offshore Areas Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill 2023

Context:

The Lok Sabha recently passed the Offshore Areas Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2023.

Relevance :

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Offshore Areas Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2023
  2. Key Highlights

Offshore Areas Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2023:

  • The Bill seeks to amend the Offshore Areas Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act, 2002.
  • It is aimed at regulating mining activities in maritime zones of India.

Key Highlights:

Reservation of Offshore Areas:

  • The government will have the authority to reserve offshore areas not held under any operating rights.

Composite Licence and Production Lease:

  • The administering authority can grant a composite licence or production lease to the government or a government company.

Fixed Period for Production Lease:

  • The provision for the renewal of production lease will be removed.
  • A fixed period of fifty years for production lease will be provided, similar to the provisions of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act 1957.

Private Sector Participation through Auction:

  • Production lease to the private sector will be granted only through auction by competitive bidding.

Operating Rights for Government Entities:

  • Operating rights can be granted without competitive bidding to government entities or corporations in mineral-bearing areas reserved by the central government.

Atomic Minerals Allocation:

  • In the case of atomic minerals, exploration licence or production lease will be granted only to a government or a government corporation.

Timelines for Commencement and Re-commencement:

  • A four-year timeline will be introduced for the commencement of production and dispatch after the execution of the composite licence or production lease.
  • A two-year timeline (extendable by one year) will be set for re-commencement of production and dispatch after discontinuation.

Conservation and Environmental Protection:

  • The central government will be empowered to frame rules for the conservation and systematic development of minerals in offshore areas.
  • Rules will also be formulated to prevent or control pollution caused by exploration or production operations, with a focus on protecting the environment.

-Source: Indian Express


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