New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on monday gave his assent to an ordinance for auction of mines of iron ore and other minerals, a government source said.
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had earlier approved the ordinance on January 5. The ordinance would pave the way for introduction of competitive bidding for allocation of iron ore and other non-coal mines.
It will also enable creating District Mineral Funds for the welfare of the project-affected people. The need for taking the ordinance route was felt as the government was finding it difficult to allocate mines because the Mines Ministry could not table a Bill in the winter session of parliament to amend the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation) Act, 1957.
Industry body Federation of Indian Mineral Industries, however, has been opposing the auction route, saying it would sound ‘death knell' for the industry and may lead to cartelisation and waste.
While a a draft Bill was put up on the Ministry's website for public comments, the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (Amendment) Bill, 2014, could not be tabled during the winter session of parliament that ended last month.
The ordinance would also enable greater decentralisation of power to states for allocation of resources. The mining sector has been facing several issues like ban for the past few years.
The previous UPA government had also brought a Bill in 2011 to amend the Act. But the Bill lapsed with dissolution of the previous Lok Sabha.