New Delhi, March 12 (IANS) The Rajya Sabha passed the Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill with 83 members voting for and 12 against it, here on Thursday. The Lok Sabha had passed the Bill on March 6.

The division of vote was demanded by Elamaram Kareem of the CPI(M).

The legislation would help attract more foreign direct investment (FDI) in the coal and mining sector and boost economy, said Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi.

The Bill, he said was important as India should use its own natural reserves rather than importing Rs 2.7 lakh crore coal. It would open up the coal sector for commercial mining and allow domestic as well as global firms to invest.

The ordinance, which was cleared by the cabinet in January, had brought amendments to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, and the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015. It was promulgated on January 10.

A new section, 8B, was introduced in the Bill that extended statutory clearances given to the previous allottee to the new lessee for two years.

The Minister assured the MPs that the government would strengthen the state-owned Coal India (CIL). Joshi said the stress should be on exploiting reserves without harming the environment.

The Act was enacted in 1957 for planned development of minerals and the coal reserves, one of the largest in the world, he said.

–IANS

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