Its official then: Indian government is ready the table Mineral Development and Regulation (MMDR) Bill, 2011 - a draft law that allows local people get the financial benefits of mining activities.
The bill, passed today by the union cabinet, asks coal mining companies to pay 26 per cent of their profit after tax to “district mineral foundations” (DMFs), to the district administrations. The money, collected by district collectors, is to be spent on development projects for the locals, mainly tribal communities residing in the mining areas. Roughly put, the mining firms will pay approximately Rs 10,000 crore a year to the 60 districts (about Rs 1.7billion a year to each), once the bill is enacted.
Undoubtedly, it’s a historic move, to provide justice to scores of tribals who have lost and continue to lose, their land and livelihood across the country due to mining activities. But happy though I am, there are doubts rising in my heart: this new bill, will it just end up as a dud? Will all these hope building just fall flat in near future?