New mineral policy to push private investment: Govt
The Centre will soon introduce a national mineral exploration policy which will promote private investment in the sector other than boosting exploration, Union Minister of Mines Narendra Singh Tomar said on Friday.
Speaking at the inaugural session of a national meeting of mines ministers here, Tomar said the Cabinet note is ready and the government will introduce the policy soon. He said private investment will be promoted in mineral exploration which will be done in a time-bound manner. The minister also asked the state governments to now focus on exploration. He called for a balance between mining and environment, saying “environment should be protected and exploration should also be enhanced”.
Mines is the second biggest sector after agriculture and contributes 2.4 per cent in GDP. “It creates huge job opportunities and if the sector is promoted, there would be ample job opportunities and GDP will grow,” he added. The minister asked the states to focus on creating District Mineral Foundation to improve economic status and empower communities living near mining areas.
“DMF would spend money for the development of the local area, welfare of the local populace
residing in the areas. Mine owners are seen as villains by people who live in the area and the role of DMF would be important in changing their perspective by enhancing their life standard,” the minister stressed. The minister said the government amended the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act and abolished discretionary powers of the Centre and the states. Now, mines are auctioned which has “not only made process transparent but also increased the revenue”.
Mines ministers from nine states of Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Nagaland, and officials from other states were present.