- May 27, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Section: Environment laws
The Mines Ministry has proposed to do away with the need for forest clearance
for exploration of mineral blocks.
A provision may be inserted in the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act (MMDR Act) to provide that any reconnaissance or prospecting operations undertaken within the period specified in MMDR Act in a forest land shall not be considered as diversion of forest land for non-forest purpose under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980.
- Reconnaissance and prospecting operations (exploration) do not cause any perceptible change in the forest land or the biodiversity thereon.
- No permanent diversion of forest land for non-forest activities is required for such activities which are for a short duration of 3-5 years.
- The low conversion ratio of exploration activities to mining activity is 100:1.
Diversion of forest land to non-forest activities:
Forest Conservation Act of 1980 (FCA) regulates the diversion along with others:
- Restricts use of forest for non-forest purpose
- Restricts dereservation of reserve forests
- Regulates diversion of forest land by way of lease to private industries and individuals.
- Restricts clear felling of trees
- Constitution of Advisory Committee for grant of approval for any of the activities above.
Note that the FCA does not itself ban any non-forest activity or the dereservation of forest land. It merely states that any such non-forest activity requires that the permission of the Central Government be secured for such actions i.e. Under this Act, no State Government can authorise such conversion without securing Central Government’s approval.
Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act:
- Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act (1957) enacted to regulate the mining sector in India.
- This act is applicable to all minerals except minor minerals and atomic minerals.
- Mining minor minerals comes under the purview of state governments. River sand is considered a minor mineral.
- For mining and prospecting in forest land, prior permission is needed from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
- This act provides for:
- The governance of mining leases within the country.
- The purpose of why the lease is given.
- How to ensure the well being of the people living in the areas where mines are auctioned.
- The act was amended by The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015.
- The amendment was proposed to bring transparency to the allocation of the mining licence process by auctions.
- The amendment seeks to introduce a system of auctions to allocate mining licenses.
- A fixed percentage to the revenue of any mine will be allocated to development of the area around it, to be called a District Mineral Foundation.
- The state government will set the rates and it will be in addition to the royalty.
- A National Mineral Exploration Trust was set up to explore and promote non-coal minerals.
- The licences will have a validity of 50 years, compared to the previous 30 years. There will be no renewal of licences, only re-auction.