The Minister of Mines and Minister of Development of North Eastern Region, Shri B.K. Handique said that his Ministry has accorded prior approval to 272 mineral concession proposals during the calendar year 2008 in comparison to 230 prior approvals during 2007. Eight States namely Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Orissa account for the largest number of approvals, numbering 260 in 2008.
Replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha today, Shri Handique informed that since the enunciation of the National Mineral Policy in 1993, mineral sector has been opened up for private sector investment including foreign direct investment for non-fuel and non-atomic minerals, and there has been an increase in the number of applications as well as approvals.
The Minister added the New National Mineral Policy was announced in March, 2008. Consequential amendments in the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 and the Rules framed there under have not been carried out yet and as such the impact of the new Mineral Policy on the rise in the mineral concession approvals cannot be assessed.
The Government is committed to taking all necessary steps to encourage mineral exploration and mining activities in accordance with the National Mineral Policy, 2008.