New Delhi, Sep 29 (IANS) A new mining policy is being drafted to facilitate exploitation of India's vast mineral wealth with new technology and investment, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was informed at a high-level meeting here Friday.
The meeting was also told that the controversial issue of export of iron ore has been referred to a committee of secretaries and that the matter will be resolved at the earliest based on its recommendations.
Manmohan Singh directed that the new policy be placed before the cabinet soon so that legislative amendments can be taken up in the winter session of parliament. He also wanted differences with states on mining rights to be sorted out fast.
Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Mining Minister Sis Ram Ola, Minister of State for Mining Subirami Reddy and Planning Commission Member Anwarul Hoda were among those at the meeting chaired by Manmohan Singh.
The new mining policy would reorient all existing mining concessions to attract new investment and technology into the sector on a vast scale, officials of the ministry of mines said in their presentation.
'India's geological setting promises substantial treasures underground and the country's inability to explore even a small fraction of the area conducive to minerals is identified as a major bottleneck,' the presentation said.
'The new policy based on unbundling and seamlessness in the grant of concessions expects to attract investors of risk funds and mining juniors specializing in prospecting with state-of-art technologies to search out the mineral wealth of the nation.'
Officials said the new policy also wishes to move away from the present specific duty regime to an ad valorem-based royalty regime to adequately compensate the states for their mineral wealth.
A sustainable development framework based on internationally accepted model will also be developed to address the issue of environment degradation and regenerate the biodiversity disturbed by mining interventions.
The interests of tribals will be protected.