Amendment to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act (MMDR), 1957
Recently the government has proposed amendment to the ‘Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act (MMDR), 1957’.
The MMDR Act is the principal law regulating mines and minerals in the country, including coal and lignite.
Amendments were made to this Act in the year 2015, the year 2020 and the year 2021.
The purpose of these amendments:
To increase the area of mineral exploration, boost mineral production and generate more revenue for the states.
Salient features of the proposed amendments –
- Formation of New Part-D (Critical and Strategic Minerals): A new Part D (Critical and Strategic Minerals) will be added in the first schedule of the MMDR Act.
- Out of 12 groups of minerals from Part-B of the First Schedule, 8 will be removed and included in Part-D. These include beryl, lithium-rich minerals, rare earth minerals, etc.
- Privatization: The central government will have the right to give concessions to both public and private sector companies for mining these minerals.
Concerns related to amendment –
- These amendments are unconstitutional, as they violate the rights of the states. The mineral has been included in the entry-23 of List-2 (State List) of the Constitution. At the same time, they also violate the rights of the states under Article 246(3).
- Article 246(3): The State Legislature shall have exclusive power to make laws on the subjects of the State List.
- The proposed amendments fear improper management of strategically important minerals (such as uranium) by some private companies. This is against the national interest.
Importance of amendment
- It will help in reducing India’s dependence on imports of some key minerals. In addition, the country will be in a better position to compete in the profitable battery supply chain.
- It will help in making the country self-reliant in green technologies.
Source: The Hindu