National Mineral Policy

 4/4/2016  939

About the Policy

1. The policy is formulated as “The Indian Mineral Policy, 2008” for non-fuel and non-atomic minerals strength of the country.
2. It focuses on optimal utilisation of finite non-renewable natural resources to meet the long-term national goals.
3. It lays down emphasis on scientific methods of mining, beneficiation and economic utilisation.

Key Objectives

1. To scientifically explore and identify mineral wealth in Indian mainland and offshore areas.
2. To develop mineral resource base to meet national and strategic interests in a sustainable manner.
3. To promote forward and backward linkages for smooth, seamless and rapid growth of mineral industry to meet the long term goals of the country.
4. To promote scientific temperament and encourage R&D in mineral sector.
5. To develop Human Resource in the form of skilled manpower for the mineral industry through establishment of appropriate educational institutes and training facilities.

Positive Aspects

1. Indian Mineral Policy acknowledges the importance of sustainable development and promotes the principles of sustainability over random exploration.
2. The policy explicitly emphasises upon the need of the advanced scientific tools and technologies to propel the growth of Indian mineral industry in a sustainable manner.
3. The policy focuses on interdisciplinary nature of mineral industry and thus lays down equal emphasis for development of forward and backward linkages associated with the industry.
4. National Mineral Inventory (NMI) formulated under the policy would help government prioritise its national and strategic interest besides it will also facilitate the business sector.
5. The policy understands the importance of mineral sector to earn important foreign exchange. The policy of export of minerals to be drafted in accordance with the data of National Mineral Inventory to promote export of surplus minerals and generate valuable forex reserves.
6. Mining is one of the important sectors under “Make in India”. The mineral policy is expected to provide a fillip to the ambitious project of the country.
7. Ocean mineral exploration segment of the mineral policy promotes the PM’s vision of transforming Indian into a Blue Economy.
8. The policy focuses on improving the regulatory regime to “make it more conducive for investment and technology flows”.

Limitations

1. The policy does not include the alleviation measures for the social and environmental destruction that mining activity inevitably brings in its wake.
2. There is excessive reliance on more mechanised form of mining. This will make mining less labour intensive and more capital intensive sector.
3. The policy is lopsided for excessive reliance in terms of private equity and FDI for investment. This is the reason why it has been criticised as a product of international and private lobbying.
4. The policy is mute on how to tackle the issues of displacement, deforestation, environmental degradation and water scarcity.

Issues Involved

1. In India there is inverse relationship between mineral production and economic growth. 60% of the top 50 mineral producing districts are among the 150 most backward districts of the country. The policy does not appreciate this incumbent fact.
2. The mineral producing states like Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh have opposed the policy and called it as a product of international and private lobbying.
3. 40% of the mineral rich regions are affected by Naxalite insurgency. The policy misses this important fact and does not comment on how the menace of Left Wing Extremism will be prevented from being a hurdle in implementation of the policy and also making the locals a partner in the development.
4. Mine allocations suffers from arbitrariness and non-transparency and the process manifests “ad-hoc and casual” manner. There should have been a section in the mineral policy related to mine allocation process.
5. The issue of captive mining has still not been addressed. Captive mines means that mines can only be used for said industry for which the auction or allocation of the block has been done e.g. Coal mining sector
6. The legacy of abandoned mines continue unchecked.Abandoned mines are non-operational without any proper closure. The policy misses the issue of strengthening regulations on mine rehabilitation and closure.

Conclusion

Minerals are a vital component of any country’s economic strength. India is endowed with a rich mineral base. The Gondwana part or the peninsular part of the country has about 98% of India’s minerals and related resources. The mineral policy acknowledges the fact and envision meeting of Indian strategic and national long term goals in a sustainable manner. There is emphasis on change in methodology for mining and the policy calls for modern and state of the art mining infrastructure for the mineral industry for increased efficiency and end-to-end product delivery. The emphasis on forward and backward linkages are worth appraisal and the mineral industry is interdisciplinary in nature beyond any doubt.
However, equally true is the fact that nothing is perfect. There are certain lacunae or loopholes still persisting in the policy. Policy does not adequately answer the issues related to social and environment destruction arising from the mining process. Further, the issues related to captive mining and abandoned mines remains untouched. The policy has a flavour of excessive technological dependence. Unless the policy does not meet the above mentioned challenges and the issue of development of locals along with dealing with Left Wing Extremism in the area the outcomes of such policy will always fall short of desired and deserved outcomes.

Related to the Policy

National Mineral Inventory

1. It is a fully computerised database prepared and maintained by Indian Mines Bureau, Nagpur.
2. It provides to the entrepreneurs a comprehensive overview of exploration, development and mining activities carried out by Government Departments, Undertakings and Private Agencies.
3. A quick browse will help stakeholders to shortlist their targets.
4. It includes important information about following details:Reserves & Resources, Location, Nature of Land, Infrastructure, Geology, Exploration, Physical & Chemical Properties, Beneficiation, Free hold/Lease hold Status etc.
 

 

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