A vibrant mining sector has the capacity to spur growth and add up to $70 billion to the country’s economy as well as generate 60-70 lakh jobs, a report by industry body CII said. The report — Mining Opportunities – Realising Potential — also stresses on dealing with clearances which it says “still remain an impediment for a smooth transition from auction stage to implementation stage”.
A vibrant mining sector has the potential to propel economic growth not just through its contribution to GDP but also through its forward and backward linkages, the report said.
“In high growth scenario, mining sector can add close to $70 billion to GDP from now to 2030. Mining could play a crucial role in employment generation for India moving many from poverty to empowerment. In an accelerated growth scenario, mining can generate an additional 6-8 million jobs,” it added.
Over last two years, the government has taken some important steps for removing stagnation in the sector. A major step is the enactment of Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 2015, which has made the process of allocation of mines transparent by introducing auctions.
The tenure of the mineral concessions has also been increased from the existing 30 years to 50 years, the report said. “Presently, the process of obtaining approvals and clearances still remains long drawn and varies from state to state. This requires to be made simpler and expeditious so that the time required for operationalisation of the mineral concession can be drastically reduced,” it added.
The report said that Environment and Forest clearances take long time in clearing adding that industry realises that these are non-negotiable and sustainable development needs have to be addressed at all stages. “However, the problem is the inordinately long time that is required for obtaining this clearance and the cumbersome process involved therein,” it said.
Environment Ministry has launched online portals for submission of applications and responses to queries but the desired results are yet to be achieved, it added.
“There is significant room for improvement in the clearance system in terms of efficiency, speed of decision making, predictability and transaction,” the report said.
On clearances, the report said finalise specific timelines for each approval process step, without modifying the overall stipulated time in the notification. Finalise responsibilities and accountability at each process step, wherever not defined at present.
Work on digitising the approval process for enabling integrated online communication channel between central, state and district authorities, it recommended.
“Areas free from national park, sanctuaries, wildlife corridors etc be put up for auction,” it said.