Law Min advises granting mining licences on existing norms
New Delhi: The Law Ministry has advised the Mines Ministry to continue with existing norms on granting licences for non-coal mines, which was on hold on a directive from PMO following a Supreme Court view that natural resources should be auctioned.
"The Law Ministry has advised us to carry on with the existing practices for according mining leases till Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Bill 2011, is passed in Parliament," Mines Secretary Vishwapati Trivedi said.
The MMDR Bill, 2011, which has been referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee after being introduced in Lok Sabha last December, has provisions for introducing a more transparent mechanism for granting mining leases through the competitive bidding process.
"The Bill has proposed that where there is confirmed known mineralisation, auction should be the way. But where the mineralisation is not known, it is difficult to auction. There are provisions for both kinds of concessionary systems," Trivedi said.
As the Supreme Court had said in its judgement on 2G spectrum case that all natural resources should be auctioned, the PMO had said the issue of allocation of mines as per the existing Act needed to be examined legally before any step could be taken in this direction.
Following this, the Mines Ministry had sought the Law Ministry's advise on how to go about granting mining leases.
According to existing guidelines on granting of mining licences, states as owners of minerals can give grant mining licences after getting prior approval from the Centre for the same.
This, however, called for a change after the Supreme Court's view that all natural resources must be auctioned.
Government auditor CAG had recently rapped the government saying, "Delay in introduction of the process of competitive bidding has rendered the existing process beneficial to the private companies. Audit has estimated financial gains to the tune of Rs 1.86 lakh crore likely to accrue to private coal block allottees."