|Achhe din for mining sector|
|Saturday, 21 March 2015 01:22|
Transparent auctions as mining bill gets passed
Those despairing of the legislative logjam in recent months have reason to rejoice. While the land Bill continues to be stuck, the government has got three key pieces of legislation through—on insurance, coal mining as well as one for other minerals. The latter two are historic since nogovernment can ever again give out mines through an opaque committee-process; mines will have to be given out only through auctions and they can be given to merchant miners as well. Parliament passing two Bills in one day is historic enough, but what is noteworthy is the government’s back-channel work that ensured this while, at the same time, conceding the Opposition’s demand to send the Bills to a select committee for a quick examination. Perhaps why, when the votes for the coal Bill were flashing on Parliament’s screen, Rajya Sabha deputy chairman PJ Kurien joked that he was seeing ‘some conversion’, a reference to how some Opposition members had voted for the Bill —the Bill was supported by the AIADMK, the Biju Janata Dal, the Telugu Desam Party and the Trinamool Congress. This is hardly surprising since, as part of its philosophy of cooperative federalism, the government’s attempt has been to provide more funds and autonomy to the states—whether this translates into support for the landordinance remains to be seen, though coal and power minister Piyush Goyal suggested this in his briefing.