Bills and Amendement Current Affairs

Lok Sabha passes Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015

Lok Sabha on 3 March 2015 passed Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015 to replace ordinance promulgated in this regard.

The bill amends the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 in order to regulate the mining sector in the country.

Key provisions of the bill

  • Addition of a new 4th Schedule in to parent Act in order to include bauxite, iron ore, limestone and manganese ore as notified minerals.
  • Creation of prospecting license-cum-mining lease as a new category of mining license. It is defined as a two stage-concession for the purpose of undertaking prospecting operations followed by mining operations.
  • Maximum area for mining- increase the area limits for mining, instead of providing additional leases as per parent Act’s area limitation.
  • Lease period- Mining leases will be granted for a lease period of 50 years for all minerals other than coal, lignite and atomic minerals. Lease period for coal and lignite remains unchanged.
  • All mining leases granted for such minerals prior to this bill, will be valid for 50 years. While, incase of expiry of the lease it will be put up for auction instead of being renewed.
  • Auction of notified and other minerals: State governments will grant mining leases and prospecting license-cum-mining leases for both notified and other minerals.
  • While in case of prospecting license-cum-mining lease for notified minerals will be granted by state with the approval of Union government.
  • Mining leases will be granted through auction by competitive bidding process, including e-auction.
  • The Union government will prescribe the terms and conditions, and auction procedure including parameters for the selection of bidders.
  • In case of mining leases, the Union government may reserve particular mines for a specific end use and allow only eligible end users to participate in the auction.
  • Transfer of mineral concessions: The Bill states with the approval of the state government, the mining lease holder may transfer the lease to any eligible person and as specified by the Union government.
  • Transfer shall be considered as approved if state government does not its approval within 90 days of receiving the notice. However, transfer will be not take place if the state government communicates, in writing, that it is not eligible.
  • While, only mineral concessions granted through auction will be allowed for transfer.
  • Institutions: Creation of a District Mineral Foundation (DMF) by the state government for the benefit of persons in districts affected by mining related operations.
  • Creation of a National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET) by the Union government for regional and detailed mine exploration.
  • Licensees and lease holders will pay the DMF an amount one-third of the royalty prescribed by the Union government, and the NMET two percent of royalty.

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Lok Sabha passes Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2015

The Lok Sabha on 2 March 2015 passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2015 by voice vote.

This bill will replace an ordinance promulgated in this regard and amend the Citizenship Act, 1955.

Key provisions of the Bill

  • It merges Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders.
  • In cases related to citizenship by registration and naturalization, this amendment bill relaxes the requirement of 12 months. In this case, 30 days break will be provided if the central government is satisfied in special circumstances with a written record.

On additional grounds, person may register for overseas citizenship card (OCC) such as

  • Minor children whose parent or parents are Indian citizens.
  • Spouse of an Indian citizen or OCI/ PIO cardholder subjected to certain conditions.
  • Person who is a citizen of another country, meets one of several conditions of Citizenship Act, 1955 then his great grandchild may register.

It also gives powers to Central government, to terminate OCC obtained by the spouse of an Indian citizen or OCI/PIO cardholder in case

  • The court dissolves the marriage or
  • Even after the first marriage has not been dissolved, the spouse enters into another marriage.

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