There is no proposal to make illegal mining as legal. The Mines ministry has clarified this today. Ministry of Mines had circulated the proposed reforms in the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR) Act, 1957 with different Central Government Ministries /Departments and also to the State Government for comments / suggestions.
Further, in order to give wide publicity to the proposed reforms, as per Pre-Legislative Consultation Policy, the Ministry hosted the notice dated 24.08.2020 along with a note explaining the provisions of proposals on the website of the Ministry of Mines for seeking comments / suggestions from the general public, Mining Industry, Stake Holders, Industry Associations and other persons and entities concerned.
A large number of comments / suggestions on the proposed reforms have been received in the Ministry in response to public consultation notice, which are being examined in detail.
Union Finance Minister had made announcement on 16th May, 2020 under Atmanirbhar Bharat scheme for enhancing private investments in the Mineral Sector and for bringing reforms in mining sector. In order to implement the announcements, Ministry of Mines has proposed the legislative amendments to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR) Act, 1957 for undertaking structural reforms in mineral sector with the objective to accelerate growth and employment generations and also to stimulate the economic growth considering the dampening impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
The proposals include (i) Increasing mineral production and employment generation by redefining the norms of exploration for auction of mineral blocks and ensuring seamless transition from exploration to production; (ii) Resolving legacy issues to move towards an auction only regime for allocation of mineral resources; (iii) Removing the distinction between captive and non captive mines; (iv) Developing a transparent National Mineral Index; (v) Clarify the definition of illegal mining; and others.