Mining Current Affairs - 2020

Annual Report of Environment Ministry

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has released the Annual Report 2019-20.

Highlights

The report says that around 11,467 hectares of forest lands have been diverted in 22 states in 2019. The diversion has been made under Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. The diversion was made for 932 non-forestry projects.

Of all the diversions made, one-third was for Odisha based projects. They were around 14 in number and 4,514 hectares of land was diverted. Odisha was followed by Telangana where the diversion was made for 11 projects diverting 2,055 hectares of land.

The maximum number of projects were in Haryana. However, the land diversion was comparatively less, 519 hectares.

Findings

The report also provided category wise details. The largest forest area land was diverted for mining projects and irrigation. The report observed that the ministry provided guidelines to help in relocation of villages. Whenever this was done, the legal-status of the land shall be changed to non-forest land under Forest Conservation Act.

Forest Villages

The report says that there was no conservation of forest villages in the year 2019. The forest villages were those that were set up by the Britishers to procure resources such as timber. Even today there are 2,500 forest villages in the country.

Project Monitoring Unit launched by Ministry of Coal

The Ministry of Coal recently launched a project monitoring unit to facilitate early operationalization of coal mines that were allocated by the central government. The aim of launching the unit is to bring in more bidders.

Highlights

The Project Monitoring Unit will facilitate Ease of Doing Business as it will support coal mines in receiving timely approval in order to operate the mines. The unit will also help the mines in getting clearances from the state and central government authorities for their operationalization. The unit will help improve business environment and production of coal in the country.

Ease of Doing Business

India ranks 63rd in ease of doing business in the ranking released by World Bank. India was one of the top 10 improvers in the 2019 ranking. The unit will help India improve further and promote international trade as well.

Coal Production in India

India has the fifth largest coal reserves in the world. The major states that produce coal in India are Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana.

Nationalisation and Denationalisation of Coal Mines

Nationalisation

The Nationalisation of coal mines was done in two phases. The first phase of nationalization was done in 1971 under the Coking Coal Mines (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1971 to manage coking coal mines. The Tata Iron and Steel Company Limited and the Indian Iron and Steel Company limited were nationalized and brought under BCCL (Bharat Coking Coal Limited).

Denationalisation

The Coal Mines were denationalized under the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015. The law allowed the private sector to mine coal.