The historic Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Bill, 2011, which had provided for 26 per cent share in mining profits for the tribal and project affected people, is likely to lapse as the government has no plans to table it during the present session of Lok Sabha.
The MMDR Bill, termed as a major initiative of the UPA II to make project impacted people part of the development and profit sharing process, is not among the 39 bills that the government has proposed to be tabled in Parliament during the ongoing session, the last session of the 15th Lok Sabha. “We are not in a position to table it in the current session, because there is no certainty that the listed 39 bills would get taken up,’’ Union Mines Minister Dinsha Patel told reporters after inaugurating the meeting of the Central Geological Programming Board in New Delhi on Wednesday.
He said the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Coal and Steel had suggested as many as 107 changes in the Bill and if all of them are accepted, the shape of MMDR Bill will completely change. “The entire Bill will get changed as the Standing Committee has given 107 suggestions. Of them, there are 25 suggestions, which we can accept. The Committee took 15 months to deliberate on the proposals. We had tabled it in the Lok Sabha in 2011,’’ he added.
Secretary, Mines, R.H. Khwaja said the Ministry had sent a draft note to the legislative and it still has to come back. “Whether we will table it in the current session or not, I think you know the answer,’’ he said. The Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Bill, 2011 was tabled in the Lok Sabha in December, 2011 and seeks to replace a more than half-a-century-old law under the same name. The Parliamentary panel had given its recommendations on the Bill in May, 2013.
As per the provisions of the Bill, coal and lignite miners would have to share 26 per cent of the profits from their mines with people impacted by projects and in the tribal region. The Standing Committee, however, had recommended deletion of this provision and instead replace it with a royalty payment based system.
For non-coal and non-lignite miners, the Bill has proposed payment of an amount equivalent to royalty paid by the firms to the state government. This recommendation was accepted by the Parliamentary panel. The collected money was proposed to be used for welfare of the project-affected persons through a newly created District Mineral Foundation (DMF). The panel had recommended bringing DMF under the CAG purview and increasing local community's representation in the DMF council.
The failure to clear the Bill is likely to cheer the mining community as they had strongly opposed the Bill and its provisions.