Overcoming obstacles, the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015, seeking to introduce the system of auction of mines to enhance transparency in mineral allocations was and also and the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2015 have been passed in Rajya Sabha on Friday (20-03-15) and hence becoming the second major reform measure to receive the approval of the legislature in the first half of the Budget Session.
The Bills were already passed by the Lok Sabha and seeks to replace an ordinance. The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015, was passed by the Rajya Sabha earlier today and later approved by the Lok Sabha within 20 minutes. Since Rajya Sabha had made amendments to the bill passed by Lok Sabha, it was sent back to the lower House for a fresh approval.
The bill was cleared by the Lok Sabha but was referred to a Select Committee in Rajya Sabha by a united Opposition. After a day of high drama yesterday, the Bill was cleared by the upper house as the government agreed to the amendment recommended by the Select Committee on March 18.
Rajya Sabha also rejected the motion to send the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015 again to Select Committee.
Rajya Sabha Select Committees on Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill and Coal Mines Bill on Wednesday recommended their approval without any change.
The 19-member panel on the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Bill, 2015 that provides for allocating coal mines through auction, referred the Bill to the House for passage without any change. The report also contained five dissenting notes from Digvijaya Singh (Cong), P Bhattacharya and Rajeev Shukla (all Cong), Tiruchi Siva (DMK) and K N Balagopal (CPI-M).
The one on the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015, too recommended no change in any of the clauses. However, it wanted the government to consider at a later stage issues like impact of mining activities on environment, rampant illegal mining, lack of proper and scientific mine closure, land acquisition and resettlement and capturing windfall profits for the welfare of local and tribal communities.
“The Committee, in view of limited ambit of amending Bill under its consideration, is of the opinion that these issues are of utmost significance that warrant serious consideration by the government. The Committee, therefore, recommends that the Ministry should consider these issues to be incorporated subsequently in the MMDR Act, 1957 at an appropriate stage as well as in the relevant rules/regulations required to be framed there under,” it said.