The Union mines ministry has proposed amendments to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, allowing captive mine owners to sell up to 50% of the approved capacity in the open market and also giving itself the power to auction mines that the states have failed to auction.
The changes have been opposed by some states that see it as another attempt by the Centre to take over mining auctions and impose central rules on a matter in state domain. Except for coal, states are allowed to auction other mines in consultation with the mines ministry. Parliament in September 2020 approved an Ordinance promulgated in June to improve revenue from the mining sector and the Centre now wants states to carry out these changes too.
In a note to amend the law circulated to all states, the mines ministry said the new amendments have been proposed in the law after consultation with Union ministries and state governments to improve revenue from the mining sector and to reduce dependence on imports.