Mining Bill passed in Rajya Sabha

Policy matters this week
Inside Dalli Rajarah mines Inside Dalli Rajarah mines

Rajya Sabha passes the Mining Bill

The Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) (Amendment) Bill (MMDR), 2015 has been passed in the Rajya Sabha on the strength of 117 votes. The MMDR has gained a lot of criticsm, the major one being that the Bill gives overarching power to the Centre rather than the states, hence, the latter are left only to do clerical paperwork. Also, the Bill has given more importance to expediting growth in the mining industry and offers little protection to people's interest and the environment, thus, losing out on the opportunity to create good mining governance.

Good news for Rajasthan lakes

The Rajasthan Assembly has passed the Rajasthan Lakes (Protection and Development) Authority Bill, 2015. The aim of the Bill is to protect, conserve and develop lakes in the desert state. The new Bill has brought all the lakes in the state under the jurisdiction of the State Government. Also, it prohibits any activity within the boundaries of the lakes and the use or draw of any produce or water from the lake, except where the authority has granted permission to do so.

Environment Ministry to revoke mining ban in Goa

The Environment Ministry has decided to revoke its 2012 notification of temporarily suspending the green clearance given to all the mining leases in the state. Resuming of mining operations will take place on the condition that the Goa Government will have to strictly monitor the annual production at 20 million tonnes as per the Supreme Court's April 2014 order. With this, the last hurdle to resume mining operations in the state has been cleared.

A new body to certify India's forests and their products

The Government along with forest-based industries and non-profits has launched a body named Network for Certification & Conservation of Forests (NCCF). With an aim to ensure sustainable management, this new body holds the responsibility of setting up new standards for certifying India’s forests and their products. Though NCCF has been set up, it seems that the Government is reluctant to put state-owned forests under scrutiny for certification.

Higher water tariff for Delhites

Delhi Jal Board is all set to hike the water tariff in the capital by 10% for households consuming more than 20,000 litres of water a month. The new tariff plan will be effective from next month onwards. However, the policy for consumers using up to 20,000 litres of water per month remains the same, and they need not pay any consumption charges.

This is a roundup of important policy matters from March 17 - 22, 2015. Also read last week's news updates.

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