Parliament approves Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020
Parliament approved the Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020 on March 12, 2020. Parliament gave its approval to the bill when Rajya Sabha adopted the same. The bill was passed by the majority members and twelve members opposed it during the division of votes in Rajya Sabha.
The Minerals Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020 will ensure a new era for promoting the Indian coal and mining sector, especially the ease of doing business. Experts believe that coal production will increase and dependence on imports will be reduced when this action will come into the force.
Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020
The amended bill has clear provisions for companies to participate in the auction of coal and lignite blocks even if they don’t have prior experience of coal mining in India. This will not only increase participation in coal and lignite block auctions but will also facilitate the implementation of FDI policy in the coal sector.
Now, companies that are not involved in any specific type of end-use can participate in the auction of Schedule II and III coal mines. The removal of the last usage barrier will allow for wider participation in the auction of coal mines specified by the Central Government for various purposes such as its consumption, sale or any other purpose.
The Bill provides for licensing of coal mining leases (PL-and-ML) which will increase the availability of coal and lignite blocks and provide for an allocation of different grades of coal blocks in wide geographical distribution.
Environmental and forest clearances will be automatically transferred to the new owners of the mineral blocks along with other clearances for two years. This will allow the new owners to continue with the hassle-free mining operations. They can apply for new licenses for two years during the period.
Now, the auction of the lease of mines can be started before the end of the lease term. This will enable the state government to take advance action for auction of mineral blocks so that the new leaseholder can be decided before the current lease period ends. This will help in the smooth production of minerals in the country.