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Mines and Minerals Bill to be tabled in current Parliament session

The much-awaited Bill for allocation of minerals through auction route will be tabled in the ongoing session of Parliament, Steel and Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said today.

"I think Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (Amendment) Bill, 2014 will be tabled during current session of Parliament. We are putting all efforts towards that," Tomar told PTI.

Asked whether there would be major changes in the final Bill from the draft version posted on the website of the Mines Ministry seeking suggestions, the Minister answered in the negative.

"A majority of suggestions that have come say not to go ahead with the auction route for the allocation of mines, but we are going ahead," he said.

The mines ministry had earlier said the auction route had been chosen as states were not "very comfortable" with having any discretion in the allocation process.

The proposed amendment Bill seeks to amend the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. It has to be passed by the Union cabinet before tabling in Parliament for passage. The current session of Parliament will function till 23 December.

Tomar had earlier said that the objective of the Bill was to kickstart the mining sector by removing bottlenecks that are preventing the industry from becoming a growth-multiplier in the country.

The draft amendment Bill seeks to introduce competitive bidding through the auction route for iron ore and other such minerals. It also focuses on attracting private investment and latest technology and eliminating delay in administration, so as to enable expeditious and optimum development of mineral
resources of the country.

The proposed auction route has already received criticism from the industry. Miners' body Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that auctioning of mines as proposed in the draft Bill will sound the death knell for the mining industry.

The auction route may also lead to selective mining while leaving low grade minerals in the ground, wastage of resources and inflate the cost of final product making it uncompetitive vis-a-vis imports, it added.

Tata Steel Managing Director TV Narendran viewed that though the auction route would bring in more transparency into the allocation process, it would lead to hike in the cost of owning raw material assets.


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Updated Date: Dec 17, 2014 19:55:29 IST