India’s Union Cabinet has approved a set of reforms to attract private investments and speed-up mining activities in the country. The proposed amendment to the Mining Act will also remove the distinction between captive and merchant mines and allow captive mines to sell 50pc of their annual output in the open market, thereby, easing the crippling iron ore shortage in the country. The amends to the Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 will be table in the parliament during the upcoming budget session.
The government wants these reforms to be implemented soon to give a boost to the country’s self-reliance drive. India’s Coal and Mines Minister Prahlad Joshi was quoted by local media saying, “the reforms should be out in another month or so.”
Among other amendments is the reallocation of non-producing ore blocks of state-owned companies. This will free up more mineral resources for development as estimated say upto 500 potential leases could be auctioned through this amendment. The policy also calls for charges for extension of mining leases to state-owned companies.
- To attract more private investments in the mining sector, government is planning to give a 50pc rebate in the tendered revenue share based on quantum of production and speedy dispatches ahead of scheduled production deadlines.
- Guidelines to optimise funds collected from miners for local development is also proposed. Regulations are expected to be eased for quicker transition of mines from exploration to production phase. The government also plans to bring in uniformity in stamp duties across different states and set up an index, the National Mineral Index (NMI) for royalty and other payments. An autonomous body National Mineral Exploration Trust is also proposed to expedite mining projects in the country.