इंडियन आवाज़     03 Oct 2023 11:50:18      انڈین آواز

FIMI expresses concern over sluggish growth in mining sector

Vinit Wahi / NEW DELHI

Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) FIMI has urged the government to take urgent steps to check the sluggish growth in the mining sector.

It said that India was witnessing the most sluggish growth in mining sector in the history and if this trend continues, about 2.65 lakh jobs will be at stake by 2020 despite this industry being 3rd largest in terms of generating jobs per unit increase in sectoral GDP.

As the figures suggest, import of major minerals has gone up enormously- while production of minerals was worth Rs 58,638 crores, its import amounted to worth Rs 4, 34,925 crores.

These startling facts were revealed by the FIMI at its annual interaction with media here Monday. It is faced with a number of burning issues; exploration success rate being as low as 1:100, heavy taxes at 58 per cent for existing mines and 54 per cent for new mines granted through auction, an unsold iron ore stocks of 163 million tonnes (MTs) at present, and inordinate delay of 3-5 years in statutory clearances for grant of mineral concession, to name a few.

According to Mr R L Mohanty of FIMI, while during 2010-14, 494 mining leases were executed, after the enactment of MMDR Act, 2015, none of the mining lease has been executed out of the 42 Greenfield mineral blocks. In fact, mining leases have only been executed in case of four mineral blocks out of 14 ‘C’ category mines auctioned in Karnataka which were already under operations and where statutory clearances were required to be transferred to new lessees in accordance with the Supreme Court mandate, he added.

As per the figures given by FIMI, India has 319 billion tones of rich coal resources, yet coal imports have increased significantly in last three years- 191 MTs of coal was imported during 20`16-17 which is now more than 235 MTs during 2018-19,valuing about Rs 1,70,881 crore. The mining sector has potential to create five crore jobs, both directly and indirectly by 2025, but if this sluggish growth continues, 2.64 lakh jobs would be at stake by 2020.

Besides, said Mr. Mohanty, many of the existing private non-captive working mines will expire in March next and they supply about 70 Mts of iron ore, manganese, and chrome ore which constitutes 35 per cent of the current production of vital raw materials for the steel industry in eastern sector and Karnataka.

In view of this grim scenario, the FIMI has demanded a number of urgent and important measures by the government. Some of them include in-principle approval for statutory clearances like EC and FC and land acquisition should be in place before offering the mineral blocks for its grant, transfer of all leases should be permitted without any additional financial implications as was prevalent earlier, need to review the current auction mechanism to have conducive regulatory regime for allocation of coal blocks, allowing private sector to continue mining beach sand minerals and , above all, need for rationalizing taxation structure in the mining sector for sustainable development and deriving long-term benefits in terms of sustained raw material security for industries, among others.

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