Amendements in mines bill will help tribals: Government

New Delhi, March 20:

The government said on Friday that tribals will benefit from the mines act that parliament passed on Friday with two amendments suggested by a select panel.

Piyush Goyal, Union minister for Coal & Power
Piyush Goyal, Union minister for Coal & Power

“The amendments in the MMDR also apply to the coal mines… The District Mineral Foundation will pay special attention to tribals,” Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said in Rajya Sabha on Friday, while presenting the coal bill.

The amendments, suggested by the panel, were in the clause 9 of the bill, which is related to establishment of District Mineral Foundation (DMF) and National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET).

As per the bill, DMF is to be established by the state government for the benefit of persons in districts affected by mining related operations. The NMET shall be established by the central government for regional and detailed mine exploration.

Licensees and lease holders shall pay to both the DMF and the NMET a percentage of royalty.

In front of the select panel, the mines ministry had pointed out that there is no specific mention about need to look after the affected vulnerable groups specially the scheduled tribes.

The panel report said the environment and tribal affairs ministry also pleaded that funds from the DMF need to be mandatorily spent on welfare and rehabilitation of affected people as well as protect environment.

The mines ministry desired higher contribution to DMF by miners granted concession before the Act comes into effect.

The first amendment says the state government, while making rules shall be guided by the provisions contained in Article 244 read with Fifth and Sixth Schedule to the Constitution relating to administration of the Scheduled Areas and Tribal Areas and the Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 and the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.

This will enable redirecting money for welfare of the local population.

The second amendment provides for insertion of a para in the same clause highlighting that the state governments will be guided by constitutional provisions related to administration of Scheduled Areas and Tribal Areas and the provisions of the Panchayats Extension to the Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act. The amendment followed concerns raised in the committee on the impact of mining on tribal populations. IANS

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