Even as the national food security and land acquisition bills hog the limelight, the UPA government is finalising a key social inclusion legislation which aims to plough back revenue from mining for development of tribal areas.
The revamped Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Bill being readied for Cabinet consideration provides for spending half of the royalty a state government gets from mining for development of areas where the mining takes place.
Senior government sources said the royalty for the state government from mining would be doubled with a condition that half of it will have to be used for development of people living around mining areas through the district mineral foundation.
"The provision would provide more money to the state governments for development of tribal areas which are most backward," said a senior plan panel functionary. Most of the mine rich areas are in tribal zones of India considered to be most backward and left wing extremist hit.
The UPA government had decided for more inclusive mineral policy through the bill introduced in Parliament last year. A Parliamentary Standing Committee submitted its recommendations in first week of May and the mines ministry constituted a group to consider the recommendations.
"We expect the bill to be ready for Cabinet consideration by the end of June," an official said.
The proposed law also provides for mandatory sharing of 26% of the profit from mining activity with locals, except in coal. The development activity would be carried out by a foundation to be set up once the bill becomes a law.
Officials said the mines ministry, which is piloting the law, has been asked to fast track the process for seeking Cabinet approval so that the bill can be introduced in the budget session of Parliament.