Media reports indicate that the union mines ministry may insert provisions in the draft Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Bill, 2011, to expedite clearance for mining projects.
The mines ministry, in consultation with the law ministry, would introduce a provision in the bill, making it mandatory for government agencies to clear all the pending applications for coal mine prospecting as well as mining leases within an year from the passage of the bill.
For proposals related to other minerals, companies will have to apply afresh under the provisions of the bill.
The bill is awaiting the clearance of Parliament, which is expected in the Monsoon Session. Earlier, the Parliamentary Standing Committee approved the bill, which was drafted more than two years ago.
The ministry may also give waiver from this provision for certain cases where firms have already got an approval from the Ministry of Mines or a letter of intent from the state. In case of a legal dispute over applications, a decision should be taken within an year of court judgement in a particular case.
The centre is worried about procedural delays resulting in the sluggish growth of the mining sector despite setting up a central coordination-cum-empowered committee to facilitate coordination between various departments for streamlining the clearance process.