District Mineral Fund collections top ₹22,800 cr

Business Line | Dec 21, 2018

Slow pace of utilisation raises fears of diversion
The Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojna (PMKKY) has accrued ₹22,859 crore till November, but what has been utilised is around ₹5,529 crore. The slow pace of District Mineral Fund (DMF) utilisation has fed fears of these funds being diverted by State governments for being spent in other regions or for other purposes too.

The condition worsens in States like Jharkhand where ₹471.98 crore were collected from Chatra district till October but have translated into sanctioned expenditure of just ₹93.46 crore and an incurred expenditure of ₹28.73 crore.

The highest DMF contributions have been reported from Odisha at ₹5,599.5 crore. Chhattisgarh comes second at ₹3,223.80 crore and Jharkhand comes third at ₹3,319.01 crore. The PMKKY was launched in September 2015 to provide for the welfare of areas and people affected by mining related operations, using the funds generated by DMFs. The DMFs were to be funded by earmarking 10 per cent or 30 per cent of the royalty proceeds from the minerals that were produced in these districts.

Of all the funds accrued, 60 per cent have to be spent for drinking water supply, health care, sanitation, education, skill development, women and child care, welfare of aged and disabled people, skill development and environment conservation.

The balance funds are to be spent on making roads, bridges, railways, waterways projects, irrigation and alternative energy sources.

According to officials in the Ministry of Mines, the pace of DMF utilisation is expected to improve as mineral rich state governments are now assured of collectively getting around ₹700 crore every month through the DMF.

“The sustained income for States can help better planning of fund expenditure by the state governments,” a Mines Ministry official told BusinessLine.

“The DMF is meant to foot the bill for development activities in mining affected districts. That diversion of funds will not be allowed without the approval of the centre and such a situation will arise only when all development activities of a district have been completed,” he added.

Call to include mining-affected persons in works taken up under DMF funds

Mines, Minerals and People (MMP) a non-governmental organisation fighting for the rights of the people, particularly of those affected by mining activities, will urge the Union and the State governments to involve people in the process of planning and implementation of projects and programmes being taken up utilising District Mineral Foundation (DMF) funds.

“People, particularly the affected, should be involved in the entire process, right from planning to implementation,” Ashok Srimali, general secretary of MMP, said here on Sunday.

“Irreparable damage has been caused to nature due to mining and people have also been severely affected. Though DMFs have been formed, the affected people have not been involved in the process of planning and implementation. MMP has launched a campaign all over the country, to create awareness among the people about the advantages of DMF,” he said.

“Planning process should start from the grass-roots level, after mapping the issues covering various aspects that would be for the benefit of the posterity,” he said.

After the formation of DMF in Karnataka, Rs. 1,220 crore had been collected from the mining firms till October 2018, of which the highest was from Ballari at Rs. 748 crore. The respective DMF have proposed 1,451 works estimated at Rs. 638 crore, while the expenditure has been a mere Rs. 48 crore.

Courtesy: The Hindu, Ballari, 17-12-2018

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