Centre rolls out welfare scheme for mining-hit people

New Delhi, Sep 17 (IANS) Aimed at mainstreaming people affected from mining activities, the central government on Thursday launched a scheme to mitigate the adverse impact of such operations and provide them basic amenities like drinking water, health care and education.

To carry out the welfare works in mining districts across the country, the programme — Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY) — would use the funds generated by District Mineral Foundations (DMFs).

Speaking on the occasion, union Mines and Steel Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said: “The PMKKKY is a revolutionary and unprecedented scheme of its kind which will transform the lives of people living in areas which are affected directly or indirectly by mining.”

The scheme would implement various developmental and welfare projects that complement the existing ongoing schemes of state and central government besides ensuring long-term sustainable livelihoods for people affected in mining areas.

“Care has been taken to include all aspects of living, to ensure substantial improvement in the quality of life. High priority areas like drinking water supply, health care, sanitation, education, skill development, women and child care, welfare of aged and disabled people, skill development and environment conservation will get at least 60 percent share of the funds,” the mines ministry said in a statement.

The remaining funds would be spent on constructing roads, bridges, waterways projects, irrigation and alternative energy sources, it added.

“This way, government is facilitating mainstreaming of the people from lower strata of society, tribals and forest-dwellers who have no wherewithal and are affected the most from mining activities,” the statement said.

The Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015, mandated the setting up of DMFs in all districts in the country hit by mining related activities.

In case of all mining leases executed before January 12, 2015, miners will have to shell out an amount equal to 30 percent of the royalty payable by them to the DMFs.

Where mining leases are granted after January 12 (the date of coming into force of the Amendment Act), the rate of contribution would be 10 percent of the royalty payable.

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