Rajya Sabha

March 20, 2015

Derek O’Brien speaks during discussion on Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015 | Transcript

Full transcript:

Sir, there are two ways of looking at this Mines and Minerals Bill after it has come from the Select Committee. One way of looking at it Sir, there is a glass of water which is half full and the other way of looking at it is that the glass of water is half empty.

My party believes in looking at this Bill in a positive way and has given some suggestions which have been incorporated. So let us be optimistic and say the glass is half full, let us not be negative.

Sir, there are five specific points I will make in three minutes as these are five parameters according to which we should judge this Bill.

First, local communities as partners of development. Here we gave the Government last week a specific suggestion on the floor of the House to allow the District Mineral Foundation set up by the State Government to include tribals because then the tribals will also feel they are part of the whole system. Tribals have been historically neglected. This is not the ideal solution but it is close, as I said the glass is half full.

The states have also been empowered to set up special courts for quick settlement for mining disputes and I am also glad that the entire composition of the DMF has been given to the state governments. Thank you for including that in the Bill.

The second point Sir, is to capture the windfall of profit within the nation, the state and the people. Here again in our own experience in West Bengal we have seen through e-governance we have actually increased revenues by 87% in the last three years. So we welcome the concept of e-auction, it is a transparent process. These are the good things.

On the other issues Sir, there is no regulatory mechanism for mining as yet. Now for environment friendly mines, I want to make a point which you have not included in the Bill but please think about including it and updating the 2011 rules because 80% of the mines today are not environment friendly. If you look at the rules, the environment Minister is here. Those rules call for 20 years and 30 years but now it has gone up to 50 years. Please look at those rules very carefully.

The other one Sir, is the scientific mining procedures for the future. That is the other reason why again the National Mineral Exploration Trust needs to do this.

Overall Sir we are going with this Bill, we are supporting this Bill. However at this stage I also want to say please pass the Mining and Mineral and subsequently the Coal Bill, but do not touch the Land Bill, the land is a different kind of mine, that is a land mine, it will explode. Stay away from the land mine of the Land Bill, you have some support from us now, very good, do the job but please do not touch the Land Bill.

Thank you Sir.