Press Conference Note: 6th Schedule areas, MoTA, people and future generations not represented in Committee to review National Mineral Policy
On 2nd August, the Supreme Court issued a landmark judgment in the Odisha mining case. After a discussion on Intergenerational Equity, the SC asked the Government of India to review its National Mineral Policy by 31st December. The government of India promptly set up the Dr. KR Rao committee to suggest a new National Mineral Policy.
We are distressed to discover that the only outside representatives on the Dr Rao committee are from business lobbies. No other stakeholders are present. The Ministry for Tribal Affairs and the 6th Schedule areas are not represented. Civil society is completely excluded from the discussion, as are our children and future generations, whose shared inheritance we are consuming, violating Intergenerational Equity.
This exclusion is inexplicable considering that in the past decade, it is the NGOs with their hard work that have brought illegal mining and mining violations to the attention of the Courts.
Judgements of the Supreme Court of India in the coal blocks allotments case, and in the cases of iron ore mining in Goa, Karnataka and Odisha have led to phenomenally huge revenues flowing into the public exchequers. Yet, when the government seeks to work out a new National Mineral Policy, the only groups empowered on such committees are officials from the various departments, and representatives of the mining lobbies who were responsible for illegal and environmentally destructive mining in the first place.
We call upon the Committee to utilise its powers to ensure a more representative composition, keeping in mind the interests of the owners of the minerals who are none other than the citizens of each mining state.
Director, Goa Foundation