Mines, coal bills get Parliament's nod
Deccan Herald, March
The bill on mines
and minerals, paving the way for auction of blocks for
prospecting, was passed by the Rayya Sabha on Friday, even as
opposition parties, notably the Congress, wanted it to be
referred again to the relevant select committee.
The bill was pressed
for voting ? 117 members were in favour and 69 against it.
The taking up of the
bill had to be deferred on Thursday as the opposition said that
mineral-bearing states had not been consulted in preparation of
the bill and wanted the select committee, which had sent it back
without changes on March 18, to take a re-look.
Earlier on Tuesday,
amid an opposition walkout, Lok Sabha passed the bill seeking to
introduce the system of auction of mines to enhance transparency
and augment mineral production.
Steel and mines
minister Narendra Singh Tomar had on Tuesday said the bill once
enacted will increase transparency, end discretion, augment
production and benefit the local population.
Noting that iron ore
production had gradually declined to 152 million tonnes in
2013-14 from 218 million tonnes in 2009-10 and its exports fell
to 16 million tonnes from 47 million tonnes, he said the
ordinance was the need of the hour in view of the crisis in the
The crucial bill
that provides legal framework for auction of coal blocks was
passed by Parliament today, replacing an ordinance that was to
expire on April 5.
The Coal Mines
(Special Provisions) Bill, 2015 was approved by Rajya Sabha
after several amendments moved by the Congress and Left were
defeated, on the last day of the first half of Budget session.
The bill was passed
with 107 members voting in favour and 62 against in the Upper
245-member House where the ruling BJP-led coalition is in a
minority, indicating that some non-NDA parties back the
Lok Sabha had
already passed the bill on March 4. However, the government was
on tenterhooks till the Rajya Sabha cleared it as today was the
last day of the first leg of Budget session and the ordinance
was set to expire on April five.
The bill, when
introduced in the Upper House after passage in Lok Sabha, was
sent to a Select Committee on March 11 as the opposition parties
insisted on proper scrutiny and changes in the proposed
legislation. The Committee gave its report on Wednesday.
replaces an Ordinance issued by the government on October 21
last year and then re-promulgated on December 26 after the
Supreme Court cancelled allocation of 204 coal blocks terming
the allocations as fatally flawed. Passage of the bill provides
legal framework for the auction of the coal blocks.
already auctioned 33 blocks garnering revenue to the tune of
over Rs 2.13 lakh crore, surpassing the former CAG Vinod Rai's
estimates of Rs 1.86 lakh crore loss.
moved by Congress members Digvijay Singh and P Bhattacharya,
CPI-M's P Rajeev, K N Balagopal, T N Seema and Tapan Kumar Sen
and CPI's D Raja but all of them were defeated. Some members,
including DMK Tiruchi Siva, withdrew their amendments.
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