Mining Sector Current Affairs - 2019
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The Union Cabinet has approved restructuring of Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) by upgradation, creation and abolition of certain posts of Joint Secretary-level and above. Decision in this regard was taken at Union Cabinet Meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
The Union Ministry of Mines had constituted Committee for comprehensive ‘Review and Restructuring of Functions and Role of IBM’ in the light of ‘National Mineral Policy’ (NMP) 2008. The Committee submitted its report in 2012 which was accepted by the Ministry.
The restructuring will help IBM to effectively discharge its function to help reform and transform the regulation of the mineral sector. It will enable IBM to adopt IT and space technology IBM to improve its effectiveness in mineral regulation and development. Further, it will entail great deal of decision-making and accountability in functioning of IBM. The improved and enhanced performance of IBM through restructuring will benefit the mining sector.
Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM)
IBM was set up by Central Government in March, 1948 under Ministry of Works, Mines and Power (now Ministry of Mines). It is multi-disciplinary government organisation engaged in promotion of conservation, scientific development of mineral resources and protection of environment in mines other than coal, atomic minerals, petroleum & natural gas and minor minerals. It is headquartered at Nagpur, Maharashtra. It is primarily advisory body to help in formulation of policy and legal framework for mining sector and advising Central and State Governments on development and utilization of mineral resources. It helps states in preparation of auction blocks, publishing of average sale price, assisting in post auction monitoring and approval process.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved methodology for auction of coal mines/blocks for sale of coal to private sector under Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 and Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957.
This decision opens coal sector to commercial mining by private eblntiti, ending 41 year old monopoly ot state owned Coal India Ltd (CIL). It will allow power cement and steel producers to source fuel more efficiently.
Supreme Court in its September 2014 order had cancelled 204 coal mines and blocks allocated to various Government and Private Companies since 1993 under the provisions of Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973. The pursuance of this order, Parliament had enacted Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 to bring transparency and accountability for allocation of coal mines by way of auction and allotment for the sale of coal.
Under this methodology
The auction will be ascending forward auction whereby bid parameter will be price offer in Rs./tonne which will be paid to State Government on actual production of coal. There shall be no restriction on the sale and utilization of coal from coal mine.
Moreover, the entire revenue from auction of coal mines will accrue to coal bearing States. It will incentivise these states to utilize this increased revenue for growth and development of backward areas and their inhabitants including tribals.
The methodology gives highest priority to transparency, ease of doing business and ensuring that natural resources are used for national development. It opens commercial coal mining for private sector and will help in boosting the economy. It is most ambitious coal sector reform since the nationalisation of this sector in 1973.
It will bring efficiency by moving coal mining from era of monopoly to competition and enable use of best possible technology. It will also attract higher investments and create more jobs in mining sector. It will also lead to the availability of low cost power as 70% of India’s electricity is generated from thermal power plants. States in Eastern part of the country will be especially benefited from this new methodology.