A welcome relief for mining-dependent people


By providing funds of Rs 141 crore for initiating measures to provide relief to mining-dependent people and exempting registered mining trucks and barges from the payment of renewal fees to the transport and river navigation departments, the Chief Minister,
Mr Manohar Parrikar has made a great effort to not only come out of the loss of over Rs 900 crore revenue due to stoppage of mining royalty collections and the heavy burden of pending bills left over by the previous administration, but has also shown that his administration cares for the mining industry.
Approximately one lakh people rely on the mining industry directly for meeting their livelihood and approximately as many depend on the industry indirectly for their survival.
The low-grade iron ore of Goa is not found cost-effective for steel-making by the technologies in India due to their dependence on higher Fe content lumps, so export is the only alternative and for which the infrastructure was evolved over the last 60 years. Moreover, there is no incentive for Indian steel makers to bring in the latest Chinese technology to utilise these low-grade fines due to no clear-cut policy by the government of India.
Out of the 775 mining concessions granted during the Portuguese regime, approximately 97 concessions were operative at the time of suspension of mining operations.  At the time of suspension of mining operations, the exports of iron ore from Goa were about 50 million tonnes per year and brought in approximately $5 billion (Rs 25,000 crore per year) into the Goan economy, which when one compares to Goa government’s this year’s budget of Rs 10,000 crore approximately will indicate the size of the loss to the Goan economy. One must remember that the state government collected approximately Rs 1,000 crore by way of mining royalty and the central government collected approximately Rs 7,000 crore as export duty in that year.
Apart from this, the money moves about three times in the Goan economy resulting in a circulation of approximately Rs 51,000 crore per year, before the money moved out of the Goan economic system. While speaking of plugging revenue leakages, implementation of the 2011 notification guidelines on valuation should alone double the collection of past mining royalties, which escaped collection.
Mr Parrikar has promised a tightening of all controls and all law-abiding citizens look forward to a no nonsense governance where the honest are appreciated and dishonest do not escape punishment, only care should be taken that Inspector Raj does not re-appear. [NT]