Other States

Jharkhand against inclusion of National Mineral Index in mining law amendments

A view of the Magadh coal mine in Chatra district of Jharkhand. File photo for representation.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

The Jharkhand government has opposed the introduction of National Mineral Index (NMI) in the amendments proposed in the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957.

“We do not agree with the introduction of NMI and we recommend that the existing regime of Indian Bureau of Mines average sale price should be maintained,” said the State government in its response to amendments proposed by Centre.

The Union Ministry of Mines had forwarded a note on the proposal for mining reforms with focus on employment generation in Atmanirbhar Bharat and transparent resource allocation to Jharkhand.

As per the mineral-rich State, the note provides the intent or broad framework of the proposed changes but does not detail the exact amendment proposed in MMDR Act, 1957 and other rules.

“We will be able to offer our opinion on the proposed index only after a draft methodology is circulated. Further, States must be adequately consulted with while deriving such NMI methodology,” it said.

Stating transitioning to NMI from existing IBM prices should not result in loss to the State government revenue on account of royalty or auction premium, the State recommended, “In the mineral industry, there are a number of captive mines and transfer price between the captive mine and plant should not be included in the calculation of national mineral index.”

“Similarly, mines that have long-term supply contract with the customers that are plants of the sister or associate companies of the mines should not be included,” it maintained.

Ore for metal such as copper, gold and aluminium are linked to the benchmark metal price and therefore this should continue to remain the same and should not be changed, said the State in response to the proposed amendment on NMI.

The government also opposed the move to rationalize stamp duty. “Stamp duty is within ambit of the rights of the State government and it is competent to decide on the same,” the government said.

“Stamp duty is not governed by the MMDR Act, 1957 and is governed by the State government’s Land Registration Department Further, stamp duty is imposed on the value of transaction and it is within ambit of the rights of the State government. Any attempt to change the same is in violation of the federal structure of the country,” it observed.

Among others, Jharkhand sought to continue with the Supreme Court’s interpretation of illegal mining, instead of that proposed in the draft amendments in MMDR Act.

Seeking to be consulted once more before finalization of the MMDR Act, the Hemant Soren Government said, “As this is an important and sensitive subject, the recent amendments and proposed amendments in the MMDR Act, 1957 can create a huge impact on the economy, job opportunities, industrial climate, protection of environment and various constitutional obligations of Central and State governments.”

“Eastern States, particularly Jharkhand's economy, is majorly dependent on mining and related industries and, so, any drastic change in policy may create a huge impact on existing industrial scenario and socio-economic development of the people,” it pointed out.

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 5:18:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/jharkhand-against-inclusion-of-national-mineral-index-in-mining-law-amendments/article32579882.ece

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