Advancements in various fields ranging from agriculture, industry, infrastructure, electronics and energy to space technology are always through the innovative use of materials sourced from our mother Earth. Presently, India stands at the threshold of a new horizon of becoming self sufficient. Closely following the Prime Minister's 'Make in India' program, the Ministry of Mines brought about various changes in the policy framework, legislations and regulations. Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Amendment Act, 2015 has been a revolutionary step in revival of mining sector in the country, hitherto stagnated due to various reasons. The provisions such as auction mode of mineral concessions to bring in greater transparency, simplification and transferability to attract private investment, stricter penalties for illegal mining, establishment of National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET) to give impetus to exploration, removal of prior approval of the centre to eliminate delays, and provision for District Mineral Foundation (DMF) to address the concerns of mining-affected people has infused new life in the Indian mining sector.
Reforms initiated in January 2015 gained momentum over the period with notifying 31 minerals as minor mineral for delegating more powers to State Governments, drafting of sub-legislation under amended MMDR Act to facilitate speedy implementation, unveiling National Mineral Exploration Policy, rolling out of Sustainable Development Framework (SDF) laying down high quality standards for minimizing the impactof mining on the environment, launching of Mining Surveillance System (MSS) for curbing illegal mining activity through remote sensing technology, Star Rating System for evaluation of mining footprints, etc.
The results of reforms have been phenomenal. India has become one of the fastest growing and developing economy in the world. Till date 29 mining blocks have been successfully auctioned in the country which will generate additional revenue of more than one lakh crore rupees to the State Governments over the lease period. About Rs.7150 crores have been collected through DMF for welfare activities, funds of over Rs.800 crores have been received by NMET for boosting exploration activities.
This is a new beginning for the Mining fraternity to set new goals, carry on persistent efforts to achieve them and to overcome the bottlenecks. The exploration of mineral resources in the country requires a greater thrust with crucial challenge of finding deep seated and concealed mineral resources, it is also important to find strategic and rare earth elements to support Space and Information Technology Missions of the Nation to ensure self-reliance. At the same time we have to also adhere to the environmental sustainability concern with adoption of Zero Waste Mining and Total Project Development concepts, value addition, resource augmentation and last but not the least human resource development. At the same time we have to take initiatives to tap precious mineral resources hidden deep within the sea in offshore India.
Against this backdrop, MEAI Nagpur chapter is organizing a conference inviting the stalwarts from the Government & Industry to deliberate, discuss and debate the future course for the Indian mining sector post MMDR Amendment Act.