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The Offshore Areas Mineral (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2023

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation


Source: ET

 Context: The Offshore Areas Mineral (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill 2023 to amend the offshore areas mineral law was introduced in Lok Sabha.


About the bill:

The bill, prepared by the Ministry of Mines, seeks to amend the Offshore Areas Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act 2002, to allow auction of minerals mined offshore.


Purpose behind amending the 2002 Act:

  • To mine rocks under the sea: Under the original Act, not even a single rock could be not mined out from the sea bed mainly due to pending litigations.
    • Hence, the Bill allows the use of the national wealth in the sea for the use of the people of the country.
  • To provide an auction of minerals mined offshore: The original Act does not allow the auction of such minerals.
  • To facilitate private sector participation: In the mining of non-atomic minerals in India’s territorial waters and continental shelf.
    • Meanwhile, the bill includes a provision to grant mineral concession without competitive bidding to Government companies or corporations.
    • However, private companies might be encouraged to contribute cutting-edge technologies for the execution of complex mining operations.
  • To improve transparency in the allocation of mineral resources: With a provision for granting production leases only through auction, Mint reported.
  • To grant an exploration licence or production lease: Only to a government company in case the quality of minerals in that particular area is equal to or above the threshold value decided by the Centre.
  • To propose area under a production lease: Such areas shall comprise contiguous standard blocks and shall not exceed an area of 15 minutes latitude by 15 minutes longitude.
  • To promote ease of doing business: A provision has been made for easy transfer of exploration licence, composite licence or production lease.
  • To remove discretion in the grant of renewals: The provisions for renewal of production leases have been removed and the period of production lease has been increased to 50 years.
  • To grant powers to the central government: To revise the order made by the Administering Authority, issue directions and call for information from the Administering Authority, in the public interest.


What India gains from this Bill?

  • As India aims to become a high-growth economy, it needs to harness its maritime resources to its optimal capacity.
  • The bill encourages the participation of the public-private sector.
  • The private sector will bring the necessary expertise and technology to explore and mine the mineral resources present in the EEZ.


Insta Links:

Amendment to Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act