Press Conference Note
The Goa Foundation requests Dr KR Rao Committee to keep the rights of future generations as a focal point while designing the National Mineral Policy
On 2nd August, 2017, 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. Goa Foundation has sent a 44 page representation to the committee with its views.
The Goa Foundation advocates that Intergenerational Equity should be at the heart of the new National Mineral Policy. Natural resources are our shared inheritance. It is our duty to protect our inheritance for future generations. The GF representation shows the many ways in which we are depleting our children’s inheritance. In Goa alone, we were receiving less than 5% of the value of the minerals that have been extracted and sold by miners. Similar large losses to state exchequers have been found across India for iron ore, coal, oil & gas and public lands. The 2015 MMDR Amendment -- which require leases to be granted only through auctions -- improves the situation somewhat, but continues the practice of facilitating the single largest transfer of wealth from the people of the country to miners.
Claude Alvares, Director, noted: “The Goa Foundation has been invited to present to the Committee at its 3rd meeting on Sep 26. We will remind the KR Rao Committee that the current review of the National Mineral Policy gives us a unique opportunity to leapfrog the rest of the world and institute a more moral mining policy, with state of the art controls and best practices in extraction. Let us be remembered as the generation that changed the course of history, not the one that destroyed the planet, and disempowered and impoverished future generations.”
The Foundation recommends 3 practical steps which the new policy can incorporate: (a) since mining is the sale of minerals, the people (and not miners) must get the full value when sold; (b) everything we receive, we must save in a new asset, a Future Generations Fund (like Botswana and Norway), and (c) since the minerals and the fund belong to the people, any real income should be distributed equally to all as a right of ownership, a commons dividend. It will present this in detail to the Committee.
Rahul Basu, Research Director, said: “All our biggest corruption scandals revolve around natural resources. This is visibly corrupting our democracy. We hope the Committee takes this opportunity to safeguard our resources for our children. Our children will hold us responsible.”
Director, Goa Foundation
Research Director, Goa Foundation