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The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act

Mines and Minerals Development Act - Ekam IAS
UPSC Current Affairs

The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act

  • The Kerala government has opposed the new set of proposed amendments to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act.
  • In the federal structure of India, the State Governments are the owners of minerals located within their respective boundaries.
  • The Central Government is the owner of the minerals underlying the ocean within the territorial waters or the Exclusive Economic Zone of India.
The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957:
  • MMDR Act, 1957 regulates the mining sector in India and specifies the requirement for obtaining and granting mining leases for mining operations.
  • As per section 18 of the MMDR Act, Central Government is responsible to make rules for conservation and systematic development of minerals in India and for the protection of the environment by preventing or controlling any pollution which may be caused by prospecting or mining operations and for such purposes as necessary.
  • The MMDR Act, 1957 empowers the State Government to make rules for preventing illegal mining, transportation and storage of minerals and for purposes connected therewith.
  • The Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act was amended in 2015, introducing a new auction regime for a non-arbitrary allocation of the country’s precious major mineral resources.
  • Further, to provide for the welfare of areas and people affected by mining-related operations, Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY) was launched in 2015.
  • The District Mineral Foundation (DMF) established under PMKKKY is a game-changer in developing the mining-affected areas and improving the lives of people in such regions.
  • The MMDR Act was further amended in the years 2020 and 2021, along with amendments in the corresponding rules. These amendments allowed a seamless transfer of valid rights/clearances to new leaseholders.
  • This was done to overcome the impact on mineral production on the expiry of a substantial number of mineral blocks in 2020 and to ensure sustained mineral production.
  • The 2021 amendment removed the distinction between captive and merchant mines to promote competition, relaxed exploration norms, gave opportunities to small players and MSMEs, and improved the Ease of Doing Business, giving a new direction to our mining sector.
  • These reforms will ensure energy security as well as industrial development.
State’s objections:
  • The main objection is against an item in the note for consultation sent to the State governments that will empower the Centre to auction some minerals from the list of atomic minerals.
  • State governments are the owners of the mines and minerals located within the territory of the State concerned, and under Entry 23 of List II of the Constitution and the Constitutional right of the State under Article 246(3), State Assemblies can make laws on such minerals.
Prelims Model Question

Q. Consider the following statements :

  1. In India, the State Governments are the owners of minerals located within their respective boundaries.
  2. The Central Government is the owner of the minerals underlying the ocean within the territorial waters or the Exclusive Economic Zone of India.

Which of the statement given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: C

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