Ministry of Mines Current Affairs
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 Union Ministry of Mines has launched Sand Mining Framework to help states deal with the sand mining issues, including demand supply deficit and illegal extraction. It was launched at the third National Conclave on Mines & Minerals held in New Delhi.
The main objective of framework is to assist states in arriving at best possible options before them. It also seeks to addresses issues of state objectives, demand-supply assessment and measures to sand availability, allocation model, transportation and monitoring mechanism. Besides, it also includes suggestions for faster clearances and approvals and using its interventions in complete process chain of sand mining. It also lays emphasis on alternatives of sand i.e. manufactured sand, import of sand etc.
Need for framework
Sand is an important component for housing, infrastructure projects and construction activities. There have been various issues across the country in mining activities related to sand like non availability of sand, environmental degradation, high sand prices, illegalities in sand mining etc. The natural endowment of sand across many states is unable to meet the demand and is coupled with unease of extraction issues, pricing and illegalities in mining. So there was need of uniform framework to help states to frame their policies, taking into consideration their objectives, endowments and state deployment of resources.