Parliament Passes Law to Open Coal Sector for Commercial Mining
The Bill proposes to amend the Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act of 1957 and The Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015.
The Act was enacted in 1957 for planned development of our rich minerals and the coal reserves. The coal ministry said Parliament passed “The Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for amendments in Mines & Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act 1957 and The Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015.”
Parliament on Thursday passed a bill that will remove end-use restrictions for participating in coal mine auctions and open up the coal sector fully for commercial mining by domestic and global companies with 83 members voting in its favour and 12 against the same.
After a brief discussion on the bill, Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi said the legislation will help in bringing more FDI in the coal and mining sector and boost the economy and also India will be using its own Natural reserves instead of importing coal worth Rs.2.7 lakh crore.
The Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020, will open a new era in Indian coal and mining sector specially to promote ease of doing business.
The Bill will transform the mining sector in the country, boosting coal production and reducing dependence on imports.
The amended provisions clearly provides that companies which do not possess any prior coal mining experience in India or have mining experience in other minerals or in other countries can participate in auction of coal/lignite blocks.
This will not only increase participation in coal/lignite block auctions, but also facilitate the implementation of FDI policy in the coal sector.
The bill has provided for an additional licence named prospecting licence cum mining licence providing for both prospecting and mining activities.
Holders of non-exclusive reconnaissance permit for exploration of certain specified minerals may apply for a prospecting license-cum-mining lease or mining lease.
The bill provides that the various approvals, licences and clearances which are given to the previous lessee shall be extended to the successful bidder for a period of two years.
The bill has also provided that prior approvals of the central government are not required anymore for granting reconnaissance permit, prospecting license, or mining lease for coal and lignite.
Mr. Josh also assured the MPs that the government will strengthen state-owned Coal India Limited, pointing out that India has one of the largest reserves of coal in the world.
The Rajya Sabha saw the division of votes on the Bill after Elamaram Kareem from CPI-M pressed for it. Thereafter, the Bill was passed with 83 votes.
The bill shall now be placed before the president for presidential assent, before it becomes an act