Cabinet set to clear mining Bill

Written by Ashish Sinha | New Delhi | Updated: Sep 30 2011, 07:20am hrs
The Union Cabinet is set to clear a slew of important legislation and amendments on Friday. On the agenda is the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulatory (MMDR) Bill, 2010, amendment to the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010, amendment to the Press and Registration of Books and Publishing Act, 2010, and the LIC (amendment) Bill, 2009, among others.

The MMDR Bill proposes to bring in a profit-sharing regime and bidding of mining rights. The Bill makes it compulsory for all coal miners to share 26% of profits with the affected communities. Companies operating in mineral sectors other than coal would have to share with the local population an amount equal to the yearly royalty payable by the mining companies to governments. The current Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, allows state governments to award concessions for all minerals, except for iron ore, limestone and chrome and strategically important ones like uranium, where the Centres prior approval is mandatory. However, the MMDR Bill has dropped this provision from which the Centre derives its power.

Another important agenda before the Cabinet is the amendment to the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010. The amendment is required because of the introduction of the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority Bill in Parliament earlier this month which seeks to create two regulatory bodies as part of measures to strengthen safety at the atomic power plants.

Sources said that under the amendment to the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, the proposed regulatory authority (to be set up under the NSRA Bill) will notify any nuclear incident within 15 days and give it wide publicity.

The Cabinet is also expected to give its nod to the LIC amendment Bill which relates to the paid-up capital required for the state-run insurer. Under the existing norms, the paid-up capital requirement for the state-run insurers is R5 crore, which is expected to be raised to R100 crore and at par with the private insurance players.

But according to the All-India Insurance Employees Association , the amendment Bill talks about the disinvestment of LIC through proposed reduction of bonus of policy holders.