Press Conference Note
Goa Foundation (GF), mines, minerals & People (mm&P), Common Cause and the Goenchi Mati Movement (GMM) jointly launch The Future We Need Campaign.
Following the directions of the Supreme Court, the Dr. KR Rao Committee has been entrusted by the Ministry of Mines with task of drafting the new National Mineral Policy by Oct 31st 2017. The Future We Need appeals to civil society to petition the Committee to create a just and fair mineral policy. A draft letter endorsing our principles can be downloaded from www.thefutureweneed.org/letter and sent to the Committee either via email or post.
Ravi Rebbapragada, Chairperson, mines, minerals & People, said “We launched this campaign because this is a great opportunity for us to proactively protect the wealth of our future generations. Making sure the principle of Intergenerational Equity is at the core of the new National Mineral Policy will guarantee this. For decades, communities directly impacted by industries like mining have been resisting an assault on their rights. We must ensure that this is not the future our children will inherit.”
The principle of Intergenerational Equity (IE) demands that we protect our inheritance for future generations. The current policy is grossly unfair, unconstitutional and violates this principle. More worryingly, extraordinary losses have been well documented in a number of states including Rajasthan, Karnataka, Goa, Odisha, and Jharkhand.
Claude Alvares, Director, Goa Foundation says “In Goa, over an eight year period (2004-2012), 95% of the value of the minerals was lost. The per-head loss from recent “legal” lease renewals was Rs.10 lakhs. Data from across the country for iron ore, coal, oil and gas shows a similar trend. Everyone is losing equally, while a few are becoming super-rich. This is looting economics, not trickle-down economics.”
This underpricing of our minerals is clearly unfair. But there is a way out - a logical, constitutional, moral and ethical way to looking at minerals. The Future We Need proposes a few salient principles that should be at the heart of the new National Mineral Policy:
1. Natural resources are the commons and the state is the trustee for the people and especially future generations (Public Trust Doctrine).
2. The commons are inherited. We are only custodians. Our duty is to ensure preservation of the principal value. Only then may we enjoy the fruit of the commons. (Intergenerational Equity Principle).
3. Any income from the commons must only be shared equally with everyone, as a right of ownership, a commons dividend or Citizen's Dividend.
4. If we decide to sell some commons, we must ensure preservation of the principal. This requires:
a) When we sell, we must not suffer any loss. We must get the full economic value.
b) Every paisa received must be saved in a new "inheritable asset" (a "non-wasting" asset). An inheritable asset is one which retains its value over multiple generations, potentially indefinitely.
Vipul Mudgal, Director & Chief Executive, Common Cause said “These principles, implemented faithfully, will be a giant step towards achieving Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity within our nation. And being able to influence this committee is a rare opportunity for us to engage in a democratic policy making exercise that will have lasting implications. This is something every Indian should weigh in on.”
Rahul Basu, Member, Goenchi Mati Movement, said “Our movement has been fighting for these principles to be implemented in Goa. Too often, our mineral wealth is stolen on the excuse that these essential principles have not been articulated in the policy and laws. This is an excellent opportunity for Indians to directly impact the mineral policy that will define how our minerals are used in the future. We hope the Committee does the right thing for the future of our nation.”
Director, Goa Foundation
Chairperson, mines, minerals & People
Director & Chief Executive, Common Cause
Member, Goenchi Mati Movement
The Future We Need