Environics Trust

Project Theme

Natural Resource Management

Target Group

Others

Project Period

01 Jul 2015 - 30 Jun 2016

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Introduction

Oxfam and Environics Trust aim to continue the ongoing work on appraisal of rights, to enable communities to assert their rights in mining areas and establish a facility to regularly interact with the legislators. 

About the Project: 

The project aims to:

•To build capacities of communities, mm&P members in states, enable collective learning on the framework of laws, provisions which are positive and be practiced and implementation of these laws

•Promoting pro people dialogues by means of engaging more stakeholders, forums and groups 

•Establishment of a desk in consultation and partnership with past and present elected people’s representatives to link regions and people’s voice

•Focused debate and closely tracking the newly enacted MMDR Act of March 2015 and changes pushed in the newly enacted Land law in January 2014

 

Results to be Achieved: 

•Awareness and understanding on the District Mineral Foundation and call for the creation of a Permanent Fund to ensure Intergenerational Equity

The new law mandates the creation of the District Mineral Foundation with contributions amounting upto the royalties paid to the state in each of the mining districts. The rules have to be formed by the State Governments. This process has just been initiated by various governments. Members of the alliance and the larger community need to be appraised of the changes in the law and how to ensure that these resources are best utilised in the interest of the affected communities. The law does not talk about future generations. However, the Supreme Court in its decision in the Goa Foundation case sought for the creation of a permanent fund, much in the nature of a Sovereign Wealth Fund to ensure that future generations have some economic benefit from the exploitation of mineral resources by the current generations. This concept will be need to explored for all the mining districts so that the permanent loss of mineral wealth is atleast compensated by some financial resources for future generations. One National Level Workshop and workshops in eight locations across the country have been planned for the year.  The purpose of the National workshop is to present the findings of the State Workshops and interaction meetings which includes reflections from different stakeholders on mining, context of DMF and case studies so carried in the mining regions regarding practice of socio-economic and environmental safeguards enshrined in the new Mining Act (A PSU and a Private company). The eight focus states are numbered in order of preference, where 4 state workshops will be conducted: Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar and Gujarat

•Widening the dissemination of the mm&P Perspectives in the context of the changed laws

The changes brought about in the law and the responses sought by the alliance can be sustained only with the support of a larger constituency of legislators, academicians and other like-minded institutions in various states. Therefore meetings presenting our perspectives and seeking broad consensus is planned in the capital cities of eight predominant mining states. mm&P in its recently held General Assembly in March 2015 decided to take the perspective of alliance to different groups as mentioned above. This would be important in context of changes in legislations that directly promote a competitive policy regime but misses out on the pros and cons of such changes to the communities. Such presentations will be done in the above listed 8 states alongwith state workshops (first 4 respectively) as well as independent in the remaining 4 states. The purpose to combine the state workshop where stakeholders / groups present situational analysis of mining practice and policy with the mm&P perspectives is to gain support and broad basing the issue of mining so that more participative action is mobilised. The Mining Bill 2015 was passed and Mining Act 2015 came into being in March 2015 but the operational aspect of constitution of DMF and framing rules for it is still under progress and it is likely that many states will roll out notification and constitution of DMF in this quarter. As DMF’s purpose is for the welfare of people, this opportunity has to be told widely across the stakeholders and ways to make it efficient so that it addresses the concerns of ‘affected’.

•An Executive Committee Meeting to review the progress and design future activities

One Executive Council Meeting, mandated every six-months, has been planned at the end of the state level activities and National Workshop to review and design future strategy and action.

•Continued Support to Members on Specific Queries and Issues

The Secretariat provides continued support to members in their specific queries and issues which need redressal and this activity will continue throughout the project. Few of the issues are listed as below;

-Tracking and mobilising support against illegal mining

-Closely monitor the functioning of DMF as per stated objectives

-Social, environmental and cultural issues affected by mining for effective grievance redressal at appropriate forums

 

Prior Achievements: 

During the previous year, representation of alliance campaign on mining bill and assertion of rights was carried into 

different forums of people and government.  The much talked about historical Land Acquisition Act 1894 was amended, a new Act was enacted in 2014 and amendments to this were brought about in December 2015. While the earlier thrust was to engage more comprehensively with Parliamentarians, all the three legislations could not be passed in the upper house of the Parliament and finally Ordinance route was taken up by the Government. All the three ordinances have a bearing on communities and efforts have been made to keep them abreast of the changes while suggesting Government of the possible alternatives and lapses in the process. The Mining and Coal Bills were eventually passed by both houses of the Parliament, whereas the Land Bill continues to face opposition in the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) and exists as an ordinance which has been repeatedly promulgated to avoid lapsing. Representations were made to the Joint Select Committee of the Parliament which has been duely acknowledged in its report.

Targeting the socio-economic context of mining at the state level linked with illegal mining and financial flows through the now proposed District Mineral Foundation, the mm&P perspective will be presented to different groups other than the members of the alliance to obtain broader awareness consensus in the states.