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Ordinance for mines auction gets cabinet nod

Open-cut-coal-mineThe Cabinet, on Monday, approved an ordinance for auction of iron ore and other minerals, yet again opting for the emergency route that was adopted for coal, insurance and land acquisition reforms.

“The Cabinet has approved promulgating an ordinance to auction iron ore and other minerals,” a government source said after the meeting of the Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi here.

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The ordinance would pave the way for introduction of competitive bidding for allocation of iron ore and other non-coal mines.

It will also enable creating District Mineral Funds for the welfare of the project-affected people.

The need for taking the ordinance route was felt as the government was finding it difficult to allocate mines, because the Mines Ministry could not table a Bill in the winter session of Parliament to amend the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957.

Industry body Federation of Indian Mineral Industries, however, has been opposing the auction route, saying it would sound the ‘death knell’ for the industry, and might lead to cartelisation and waste.

While a draft Bill was put up on the Ministry’s website for public comments, the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (Amendment) Bill, 2014, could not be tabled during the session that ended last month.  PTI

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