Govt forms panel to recast National Mineral Policy 2008

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In response to the recent Supreme Court order in a case of rampant illegal mining in Odisha, the central mines ministry has formed a committee to examine the existing National Mineral Policy 2008. The panel has the mandate to look at the shortcomings in the prevailing policy and prepare the roadmap for a new policy.

In a verdict dated August 2, the apex court, disposing off a Writ Petition filed by the NGO Common Cause, directed the Union government to have a fresh look at the almost decade old National Mineral Policy 2008 especially areas of conservation and development.

The panel is headed by K Rajeswara Rao, additional secretary with the ministry of mines. This panel would have adequate representation from the ministries of forest & environment & climate change, transport & highways, coal, finance, shipping and from organisations such as Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM), Railway Board, Geological Survey of India (GSI) and NITI Aayog along with industry associations like Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry (Assocham) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (Ficci). Mines secretaries from all mineral bearing states will also find a place in the panel.

The mandate of the committee is to review the present policy - the need for bringing in further transparency, balanced social and economic growth and sustainability of the mining industry. It will suggest recommendations for conservation, mineral development along with protection of the environment and measures to assess the carrying capacity of mining in states or regions.

Apart from that, the committee is expected to examine and make recommendations for the development of strategic minerals, review fiscal aspects conducive to the promotion of mineral exploration and development, including beneficiation and other forms of refinement. Also, the committee would suggest measures for improvement of survey and exploration of minerals, a database of mineral resources and tenements, scientific methods of mining, manpower development, infrastructure development, financial support for mining and research in mining.

The committee will submit its report by October 31.

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