Mining sector reforms likely to get Cabinet nod today

By: |
January 13, 2021 2:30 AM

Among the proposals, another important one was on amending the contentious provisions of 10A(2)(b) and 10A (2)(c) to pave the way for auctioning of around 500 potential leases blocked in legacy issues now.

The mines ministry also proposed to seek amendment the relevant provision of the Act and rules to make National Mineral Exploration Trust functioning fully as an autonomous body.The mines ministry also proposed to seek amendment the relevant provision of the Act and rules to make National Mineral Exploration Trust functioning fully as an autonomous body.

The Cabinet is likely to consider and approve the mining sector reform proposals, announced on May 16 by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman as part of the Atmanirbhar package, in its next scheduled meeting Wednesday.

Sitharaman had announced a series of reform proposals for the mining sector. First, as opposed to separate licenses for exploration and then for production – this added to considerable uncertainty – a comprehensive license was proposed to be given.

The second important proposal was to do away with the distinction between captive and non-captive mining. That is positive for firms with captive mines as they can now sell their output in the open market, and this will boost revenues as well as augment supplies in the country; this also means that the old policy of giving preference to ‘captive’ users will go and, instead, all mines will be available for anyone, including commercial miners.

The finance minister had also announced the concept of joint auctioning of bauxite and coal mines for the aluminium sector.

Among the proposals, another important one was on amending the contentious provisions of 10A(2)(b) and 10A (2)(c) to pave the way for auctioning of around 500 potential leases blocked 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 (ML). The mines ministry has sought comments from the stakeholders on these proposals till September 3.

“These (blocks) can neither be granted because the time period to grant them is already over, nor can they be brought to auction because of legal impasse. These cases coming under section 10A (2)(c) of the Act which stood extinguished in January 12, 2017 as per the law, but are still litigated or pursued unnecessarily at various level, need to be brought to a closure to end the policy stalemate,” mines ministry had earlier said in the reforms proposals seeking stakeholders’ suggestion.

There was also a proposal to develop a comprehensive and broad-based mineral index for determination of levies and taxes on the lines of recently launched National Coal Index. A committee will be set up to develop the National Mineral Index in which representatives of the state government will also be inducted. The National Mineral Index will determine the value of the mineral that will form the basis for calculation of royalty and other such levies of selected minerals.

The mines ministry also proposed to seek amendment the relevant provision of the Act and rules to make National Mineral Exploration Trust functioning fully as an autonomous body.

It also sought to amend rules to clarify the definition of illegal mining. At present, there is no distinction between illegal mining done outside the leasehold area and mining done in violation of various clearances and approvals inside a mining lease area.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, Check out latest IPO News, Best Performing IPOs, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news and updates.

Next Stories
1Offices 2.0 await employees this year; companies prefer adopting hybrid work model
2Spectrum auctions may be a no-show: Telcos expected to do minimum buying, leaving about 60% spectrum unsold
3Indian smartphones back in the game: Brands like Micromax, Lava ring loud again