JAIPUR:A National meet of Mining Ministers chaired by Union Steel & Mines Minister N. S. Tomar was held in Jaipur on Friday. In his key note address, Tomar said, “States must come forward to join the Central Government in enhancing contribution of Mining sector in GDP of the country from present level of 2.4%. Mineral exploration initiatives can be owned by state governments as more exploration can lead to more mining, which can result in employment generation and economic growth. Ministry of Mines has signed MOU with ISRO for use of space technologies in mining sector and states must take advantage of this opportunity.”
The States must make efforts to ensure that mining leases granted before MMDR Amendment, get Forest and Environment clearances by January 2017 deadline to prevent lapsing of leases, Tomar said.
The Mines Minister further said that the auction system for mines introduced in January 2015 has ended the era of corruption, favoritism and nepotism in mining. To further improve the image of this sector, we need to set up District Mineral Foundations at the earliest so that development of areas and welfare of people affected by mining can begin in earnest through Prime Minister Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojna.
State governments must start using provisions of amended MMDR Act pertaining to curbing illegal mining to set deterrent examples. Though ultimate aim should be to create an environment where miners themselves understand, own and fulfill their socio-economic responsibilities. For this purpose, we have launched Star Rating System for Mines to recognize self –driven top performers who adhere to best practices.
Secretary, Mines, Government of India Balvender Kumar asked state government representatives to work on setting up District Mineral Foundations, considering star rating systems and formulating rules in respect of minor minerals in tune with major minerals. He informed that National Mineral Exploration Policy is likely to be notified in next couple of months. He shared details of initiatives taken by the central government to facilitate exploration and mining in the country.
These include consent by Ministry of Defence to relax restrictions on baseline geoscientific data in public domain, coordination with MOD and DGCA for faster accordance of Survey/ flight related approvals and environment clearance related guidelines based on tree canopy percentage which would be issued shortly.Mining Ministers from nine states, who are holding charge of Mining in the respective states participated in the meeting. These include Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Nagaland.
More than 60 senior level delegates from Ministry of Mines, 25 States and other government departments also participated in the meeting. The day long workshop had various sessions, addresses and interaction by Mining Ministers of States and technical session with senior officers of the States.