‘New Mines bill to be placed before GoM again’

Last Updated: Sunday, February 6, 2011 - 11:46

New Delhi: The proposed new mines legislation that envisages 26 percent profit sharing by miners with project-affected people, among other things, is likely to be placed again before a Group of Ministers (GoM).

"We have sought a date from Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. One more meeting of GoM is required before finalising the draft," Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Mines Dinsha Patel told a news agency.

The ministerial panel, headed by Mukherjee, has already met four times on the proposed Mines and Mineral Development and Regulation Act, 2010.

The Law Ministry is vetting the draft bill while meetings with various stakeholders, including industry, will be done, he said.

Patel said his ministry would make efforts to introduce the legislation in the Budget session of Parliament.

The new legislation proposes to make it mandatory for miners to share 26 percent of their profits with project-affected people, among other things.

The industry and apex mining body FIMI had demanded that the provision related to profit-sharing should be watered down and corporate giants like Tatas and Jindals had suggested that
instead of profit, the sharing should be based on the cost of operation.

Criticising the proposed levy, the two firms had asked the government not to charge it as a separate tax, saying that social obligation is a part of the operating cost of a company.

For such profit-sharing, the GoM has proposed creation of a District Mineral Foundation for disbursement of the benefits to locals.

Patel said his ministry would make all efforts that the funds allocations are made properly and reach affected people.

During its fourth meeting, the GoM had asked Mines Ministry to strengthen the clauses on competitive bidding for prospecting and mining leases to address the concerns of
states like Jharkhand and Orissa.

States have opposed a provision of the bill, which says that first come first serve route will be adopted for granting large area prospecting licences (LAPLs) instead of competitive bidding method.

The LAPLs allow companies to prospect for mineral deposits in large tracts of land ? 5,000 sq km and above for eight years.

Besides Mukherjee, the 10-member GoM include Home Minister P Chidambaram, Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh and Law Minister V Moily.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, February 6, 2011 - 11:46

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