The PMKKKY and Central Rules on DMF were released within a day of each other– September 16 and 17. Both combine to make real the policy of the central government on sharing mining benefits with some of the poorest people of the country living on India’s richest lands. While the DMF rules mandate contribution to the DMFs by mining lease-holders, the PMKKKY lays out the roadmap for delivering development for the mining-affected areas and communities.
CSE has analysed the DMF Contribution Rules and found these to be a significantly watered-down version of what was proposed in the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment (MMDR) Act, 2015 – a reduction in contribution to 10 per cent instead of one-third by lease-holders of mines that were leased after 12 January 2015 and 30 per cent instead of equal royalty for older mines. This means that less funds will be available for developmental work in mining-affected areas. CSE’s deputy director-general Chandra Bhushan says this will undermine the objectives of the DMFs and will dash hopes of mining-affected communities across the country.
PMKKY a mixed bag
The PMKKKY has been aligned to DMF to facilitate the implementation of the scheme. The scheme will be implemented by the DMFs by using the funds accrued to them.
On analyzing PMKKKY, the CSE paper says it is a “mixed bag of opportunity” – it has both positives as well as loopholes. The positive recommendations include providing definition of directly and indirectly-affected areas that is crucial development, involvement of gram sabha for identifying affected people use of DMF funds, taking into account long-term concerns, requirement of approval of gram sabhas for PMKKKY plans and projects to be rolled out in scheduled areas, mechanisms of transparency and accountability.
However, CSE finds the scheme to be vague and limited in several aspects. Certain provisions of fund utilization, such as for building large infrastructure, putting in place environmental pollution control measures, staffing, purchasing vehicles etc., are misplaced which may lead to significant misuse of funds and hurt the spirit with which DMF has been instituted. It also restricts the possibility of community involvement limiting the role of gram sabhas, particularly in areas outside scheduled areas.
States must act now, and properly
After the notification of DMF contribution Rules and the PMKKKY, it will now depend on the states as to how they frame their DMF Rules. With considerably reduced contribution coming to the DMF following the DMF contribution Rules now, it is important to make sure that the money is used for the right purposes and people in mining-affected areas benefit optimally. The PMKKKY guideline gives some positive direction to the states to develop their DMF Rules. But it is also crucial to take account of the loopholes in the PMKKKY and make necessary improvements.
CSE has also strongly stated that it is also important to ensure that DMF remains an inclusive institution of the people and for the people, a vision with which it has been discussed over the years and instituted.
The Center for Science and Environment (CSE) is conducting a five-day training programme aimed at giving practical inputs to participants on conducting sector-specific Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for mining and mineral industry from 12–16 June 2017.