Centre rejects demand for minerals rent tax

Bhubaneswar: Rejecting demand by states like Odisha for introduction of mineral resource rent tax (MRRT), the Centre on Wednesday said it is not required as the process for revision of mineral royalties is already on.

The process for another revision of royalty on major minerals is already in progress and it would address concerns of the states by raising revenue substantially, Union Mines Minister Dinsha Patel told reporters here.

In view of steps initiated for revision of royalties for major minerals for which an inter-ministerial study had earlier been formed, there is no necessity for introduction of MRRT, he added.

"The Central government's stand on MRRT has also been communicated to Odisha government," said Arun Kumar, Joint Secretary in mines ministry, who accompanied Patel.

The royalty rates for major minerals, other than coal, lignite and sand, are revised every three years and details of the next revision are being worked out, he said. The last revision was done in 2009.

On being asked about 'mining scams' in various states including Odisha, Patel said the Centre is making all efforts to prevent illegal mining and appropriate steps will be taken in this regard after Justice M B Shah Commission gives its report.

Probe by the Commission, appointed by the Centre, has progressed considerably and its report is expected before expiry of its term on July, 2013, he said.

Regarding steps to revive normal mining operations in scam-hit states, Patel said the Shah Commission had given certain satellite images on Goa and the state has been asked to give a report on the ground position but a response is yet to be received.

In Odisha, it is mainly an issue between miners and the state and there is a quasi judicial authority to settle these matters, he said.