To what extent the establishment of District Mineral Foundations (DMFs) is capable to alleviate the problems of the people living in mining affected areas? Examine in the light of recently amended Mines and Minerals Act.
Mines & Minerals (Development & Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015, mandates establishment of District Mineral Foundations (DMFs) in all mining districts of the country by state governments. The foundation will be headed by District Magistrate. The objective of District Mineral Foundation is to work for the interest of the benefit of the persons and areas affected mining related operations in such manner as may be prescribed by the State Government.
The establishment of DMFs has come as a very late response of the state to the citizens of India’s ore rich areas, who have borne the cost of mining in the form of health, environment, livelihood and sanitation challenges. The amended act says that the DMF will be established by the State Government by notification as a trust, as a non-proft body. Its functions are also to be defined by the state governments. Thus there is no certainty on how much money will come in, and no clarity on how and where it will be used. Without any such clarity, the DMFs will fall prey to corruption and scandalous operations. Further, this body is to be dominated by the government officials, who have powers to prepare plans and budgets, sanction funds and use the funds. The funds of DMFs can be used at district level or block level development matters. From this, it appears that the law has bypassed the remote tribal areas; which are hardest hit from the mineral extraction. (240 words)
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