The Ministry of Mines in its Sustainable Development Framework (SDF) report of 2011 acknowledged the basic fact that ‘in recent decades, mining activities have resulted in little local benefit’.1 It’s not just that mining activities have not translated into local benefits but that, ironically, the country’s most mineral-rich states and districts have the poorest people.This is clear in the poverty statistics of some of the major mining states.
■ According to poverty estimates by the Planning Commission for 2011-2012, in the three top mining states- Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha-the percentage of population below the poverty line is nearly 40 per cent, much higher than the national average of 21.9 per cent.
■ The Planning Commission further has identified 15 districts of Chhattisgarh as backward, while for Jharkhand and Odisha it is 19 and 27, respectively.
■ The situation is worse for tribal populations in the country, particularly in rural mining districts. As per the latest estimates for 2014 put out by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, a significant proportion of the tribal population, particularly in the rural areas of mining states, lives below poverty line. In Odisha, more than 75 per cent of the rural tribal population is below the poverty line, while in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra the figure is over 50 per cent.