In a major ‘reform’ in the coal sector since its nationalisation in 1973, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved methodology for auction of coal mines/blocks for sale of coal to private sector under Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 and Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957.
The opening up of commercial coal mining for the private sector is the most ambitious coal sector reform since the nationalisation of this sector, medium as well as small mines would be offered to private companies for mining. coal and railways minister Piyush Goyal detailed that the reform is expected to bring efficiency in the coal sector by moving from an era of monopoly to competition after Announcing the decision taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).
The Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act (1957) :
It is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to regulate the mining sector in India. This Act was amended in 2015 and 2016. It forms the basic framework of mining regulation in India.This act is applicable to all mineral except coal, minor minerals and atomic minerals. It focuses on the process and conditions for acquiring a mining or prospecting licence in India.
Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015:
The objective of this act is to empower the government to allocate the coal mines on the basis of competitive bidding to ensure continuity in coal mining operations and promote optimum utilization of coal resources.
It facilitates finalization of factual reports on the accomplishments of the Ministries, Agencies and Public Sector Undertakings involved in implementation of prioritized schemes or projects for evaluation by the Prime Minister. The CCEA also lays down priorities for public sector investment and considers specific proposals for investment of not less than specific levels (Rs. 3 Billion at present) as revised from time to time.the CCEA decides An increase in the prices of essential commodities or bulk goods under any form of formal or informal control .
Key Points: Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015
- The reform will bring efficiency into the coal sector by moving away from the era of monopoly (of CIL) to competition and lower power tariffs.This great move will lead to higher investments and create lakhs of direct and indirect jobs.
- The decision was taken by the the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
- This Move will increase competitiveness and allow the use of best possible technology into the sector. The higher investment will create direct and indirect employment in coal bearing areas especially in mining sector and will have an impact on economic development of these regions.
- The opening up of commercial coal mining for private sector is the most ambitious coal sector reform since the nationalisation of this sector in 1973.India is said to have coal reserves of up to 300 billion tonnes.