Mines Dept. to collect seigniorage based on weight and not value

Award of minor mineral leases only through e-auction: Minister

Minister for Mines and Geology P. Ramachandra Reddy has announced the government’s decision to change the system of collecting seigniorage on mines from value to weight basis, and to provide sand for Jagananna Colonies project through coupons free of cost.

Besides, the government has resolved to award minor mineral leases through the e-auction route.

Addressing a review meeting on the Mines & Geology Department on Wednesday, Mr. Ramachandra Reddy said greater emphasis was being laid on curbing illegal mining and accurate weighment of vehicles, which would increase the revenue by up to 20%.

Further, keeping the complexity of monitoring the excavations (checking illegal mining and transportation) in view, the department reached the conclusion that by entrusting the collection of seigniorage to outsourcing agencies at the district level, it could focus on the regulation part.

“This model is being followed in Rajasthan and some other States, and applies to all minor minerals,” he said.

The overall steps were expected to increase the seigniorage by up to 40%. In FY 2020-21, the seigniorage revenue was ₹1,643 crore.

The Minister insisted that the weight basis of seigniorage assessment was a more accurate way of calculating the charges than the value metric. Closed circuit cameras were being installed at the weighbridges for watching the process of weighment, while the officials did their duties.

Mr. Ramachandra Reddy said the e-auction of minor minerals was likely to fetch ₹476 crore for the State exchequer this year.

The department has already received 2,694 applications for excavation of minor minerals in 21,577 hectares.

Jai Prakash Ventures has so far taken out 16 lakh tonnes of sand and sold 9.28 lakh tonnes and stocked 6.72 lakh tonnes for the monsoon season.

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