All mentally challenged people are not in the asylum. Many of those can hold higher positions in the government. The current mining policy followed by the government in Delhi is an example of how to ruin a sector that has a potential to get India’s growth to double digits in no time.
Policy Paralysis, Corruption vs. Stupidity
Many mining companies like Techno Mines had several leases that were pending at various stages of approval. In most cases it was incompetence and lack of willingness to do any work from government side that delayed permits.
While the law calls for a time-bound process for processing of mineral permits, both state and central governments followed no law. While the law calls for permits to be accepted or rejected within 3 years (which by any standard is a hell lot of a time), governments had been sitting on the permits for close to 10 years for no reason.
Recently the Mining Secretary of Rajasthan was arrested on corruption charges. In our opinion, he was not alone and majority of the people who were delaying permits were in this category. However, they have gone scot-free and in-fact have been rewarded for their incompetence with numerous increments and benefits.
While many foreign companies and foreign funded companies invested in the Indian market, the government did nothing to help them. The companies did not need help but just wanted the government to do what they had promised and didn’t do – give permits.
A major blunder has been committed by the central government in pushing MMDRA. It was drafted by the previous government before it went out of office. It incorporates a clause where all pending permits are cancelled. On what grounds? Never has been such an absurdity in law.
While politicians and mafia are busy milking the precious mineral resources illegally, government is working againstlegitimate companies that have been running pillar to post to get their permits. In doing this they have played a role that is worst than Al Qaeda. Terrorists kill people but governments kill hope. It’s perhaps worse than death.
Government’s MMDRA is similar to nuking a city to start afresh from the rubble. Most mining companies that have invested in the market now will never come back. Many major and minor players have burned their hand with the Indian market for years. MMDRA is an icing on the cake.
Its sad that a country with one of the best mining potential is losing out due to stupidity of the government. There are three ways to work on the mining sector in India now – illegal (rampant), tiny scale (bribe the local officials and take out bulk minerals) or acquisition of existing mines.
Government is also saying that soon they will have bidding on mineral resources, which is another stupidity. India is one of the least explored countries for minerals. Who will gamble with their money by trusting highly inaccurate reports of government agencies?