India’s minister of mines hints at introducing futrther policy changes in the mining sector

The government is planning to bring some changes in the mining sector and may invite suggestions from the stakeholders in a fortnight, Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi said. “We are thinking to bring some changes (in the mining sector),” Joshi said during an event to mark the handing over of 100 G4 mineral blocks by Geological Survey of India (GSI) to state governments.

This is in line with the government’s earlier announcement that the sector will witness reforms and a flurry of activities in the current year.

Without divulging the details of the proposed changes in the sector, he said “I think in another two weeks we can put for state’s comments and stakeholders’ comments. We are bringing amendment in the next session of Parliament in November.”

Joshi also called for more participation from people into exploration and mining. The minister also asked states to go for fast decision-making and bring the mineral blocks to early auction. “I want to make it very clear that the mines which are working and are going to expire, we will not give them through allotment route,” he said.

The government had earlier said that in order to realise the vision of a self-reliant India, the Geological Survey of India (GSI) has delineated 100 geologically potential mineral blocks for auction.

Handing over of 100 mineral blocks’ reports to state governments will ensure continuous supply of minerals in the country and more revenue to state governments by bringing more mineral blocks under auction, the mines ministry had said.

With time, the frequency of major discoveries of an economically viable mineral deposit has decreased and this is a worldwide phenomenon despite tremendous technological advancements.

Hence, the situation warrants an out-of-box thinking, new approaches, enhanced cooperation and enthusiastic participation from the government and private sectors, it had said. The MMDR Amendment Act, 2015 ushered in transparency in the allocation of mineral concessions in terms of prospecting licence and mining lease. In this continuous endeavour, the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act was further liberalised in March 2021.

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