Govt sticks to profit-share plan for miners

Govt sticks to profit-share plan for miners

New Delhi: Govt will stand by plans to make mining firms share 26% of profits with local people, mines minister B.K. Handique said on Wednesday, despite opposition from companies.

Violent attacks by Maoist rebels and stiff criticism from locals over land acquisition has spurred the government to go ahead with a new bill which will force mining firms to share profit or equity with locals.

But mining firms have opposed the government initiative, as they say the new measures could hurt profits and deter firms from making fresh investments.

“We are not going to reduce it," Handique said in answer to a question on whether the government would consider lowering the amount mining firms would have to share with locals.

Handique said a panel of ministers would meet on 17 Sept. to discuss the proposal before it goes to the cabinet. Parliament would then have to approve the bill before it becomes law.

Handique said the bill might be passed when parliament meets for its budget session in early 2011.