The Ministry of Mines came out with an order that sought to reiterate the District Mineral Foundation’s (DMF) core spirit and, more importantly, the utilisation of its resources by the states
- By virtue of the order, the Centre almost restricts states from making sanctions or approving expenditure out of DMF.
- States have been found transferring DMF funds to their own treasury and consolidated funds, and even to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund and other scheme.
- This is a violation of Section 9B of Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act that guides the DMF.
- Ever since its establishment in 2015, the DMF has been portrayed as the saviour of communities—tribals mostly—that have benefitted little from mineral exploration and development in the regions they inhabit.
- The notification could also stir up a debate over the Centre interfering in the financial powers of the states.
- Mineral development comes at a huge social and environmental cost, but communities living in these ore-bearing landscapes must be the principal beneficiary of the funds because they are the ones who bear the brunt.
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