Mining firms must share 26% profits: GoM
Despite objections from the coal ministry and concerns of the Planning Commission, a GoM under finance minister Pranab Mukherjee - discussing the new Mines and Mineral (regulation and development) Act 2010 - approved the proposal of sharing 26% net annual profits from the mining activity with displaced locals. Prasad Nichenametla reports.delhi Updated: Dec 04, 2010 00:30 IST
Despite objections from the coal ministry and concerns of the Planning Commission, a GoM under finance minister Pranab Mukherjee - discussing the new Mines and Mineral (regulation and development) Act 2010 - approved the proposal of sharing 26% net annual profits from the mining activity with displaced locals.
The Bill replacing a 53-year-old law can be introduced in the ongoing session, minister for mines BK Handique said after the GoM meet on Friday.
"As far the GoM is concerned, it was the last meeting. All concerns have been addressed and there are no major changes," said Handique.
But sources said, serious concerns were raised by Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia who said 26% profit-sharing serves as big disincentive for the industry, hurting its interests.
The share of profits on annual basis can be equal to the royalty paid by the mining firm to the state, if there is activity or if the net profits are less than the royalty paid.
Plan panel wanted an assessment of implications of the provisions, which can be made party of the bill.
Coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal, also a member, objected the provision saying it would hit the PSU hard. Coal India Limited, the largest coal miner in the world, recently launched its IPO with initial target of Rs 15,500 crore. But the GoM chose to go ahead with the welfare measure.
The Bill assumes importance in wake of protests to mining, industrial activity in forest areas displacing indigenous tribes, leaving other forest dependent people out in the lurch.
Though the original proposal was to extend equity (shares) to the tribals, the GoM "found it impractical and settled for a more tenable benefits".
It still favored shares at par for the displaced families, "to give them a stake, though nominal, in the mining company affairs".
In a major shift, the MMRDA bill does away with prior approval of the Centre, putting the onus of allocations, license on respective states.
It, however, inserts a clause where the central regulatory authority can override allocation by states, bringing in conservation, strategic reserves and environmental concerns.The insertion, at the behest of the law ministry headed by Veerappa Moily, officials said, could be invoked to stop/put hurdles to mining in states/ areas where there is a spurt of mining activity.