Mining bill gets it right

 Sustainable mining is an oxymoron. Environmentalists will tell you this. Mining—coal to limestone—takes away forests, devastates mountains and leaves the land pockmarked. It also destroys livelihoods of people and displaces them. Worse, modern, mechanised mining takes away livelihood based on land but does not replace it with local employment—all estimates show that direct employment in the mining sector has fallen sharply. It provides wealth, but not for local development.
This is where the dilemma kicks in. There is also no doubt that the nation will need to mine its natural resources for industrial development and saying no will not work. Therefore, the solution to mining is to find ways in which devastation to the environment is minimised. The solution is also to create a framework that will share the benefits of the resource with poor communities living in these rich lands. It is a challenge.
What should be the strategy to meet this challenge? The answers are difficult and diverse. But one part (small, but not insignificant) is to establish the principle that people will be stakeholders in the development of the natural mineral resource. This is not a new idea but is certainly neglected and discredited. In 1997, the Supreme Court ruled that private leases over mines would not be allowed in Schedule V areas, which are predominantly tribal. The Samata judgement, as it is known, was named after the tribal activist group, which had taken the matter to the court on behalf of Nimalapedu village, where the Birlas wanted land for calcite mining. The court ruled that in these scheduled areas the land owned by government could not be given to a non-tribal entity. However, if after due process—permission from the state governor—mining was allowed, then the entity would have to follow conditions set to safeguard sharing of benefits and protect the environment. The court ruled that “at least 20 per cent of the net profits should be set apart as a permanent fund for community use”. But this judgement was an unacceptable game changer for the fast-growing and powerful mining sector. It was overturned or simply sidestepped.
In 2008, the Centre for Science and Environment’s report, Rich Lands, Poor People: is ‘sustainable’ mining possible?, discussed the global practice and imperative of sharing benefits with people. This was also the time when the country was beginning to revisit the provisions of outdated Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. In 2006, the Hoda Committee, named after its chairperson Anwarul Hoda, the then member of the Planning Commission, was formed to recommend changes in the mining policy. The committee’s report, unfortunately, was steeped in the interests of the mining industry as it saw no need for sustainability (except for some weak and inconsequential words) and certainly had no time to waste on people’s interests.
But for once better sense prevailed. The Hoda report was junked as the Union ministry for mines began work on the new draft bill, amending the 1957 Act. This draft amendment included, for the first time, a provision for sharing benefits with the people. The first, and the most logical, idea was to create a system of granting equity (26 per cent) in companies. This would, as suggested by the Supreme Court, work towards build local control over mining companies and shareholders with interests in sustainability. But this idea, too, was killed. Mining companies led by their powerful lobbies, like FIMI, CII and FICCI, launched a virulent attack on the very principle of “benefit sharing”. Their argument was that if this bill went through then tribals, flush with money, would take to drinking and “beat up their wives”. The contempt for people was open and deplorable.
Finally, after much pushing and shoving, the draft bill went to the Group of Ministers (GoM) in June 2011. The draft included the provision for profit-sharing. But even at this last minute there was pressure to dilute the provision. The confidential note for the GoM ingeniously suggested that the current provision of royalty was sufficient. There was no need to introduce any direct payment to communities.
Once again, better sense prevailed. The GoM has reportedly insisted that the principle of benefit-sharing must not be diluted. But to make it easier to compute benefits it decided to ask for 100 per cent of the royalty paid on minerals (doubling current royalty) to be given to local communities through the district-level fund—roughly Rs 4,500 crore, and higher than what would have been given through profit-sharing. This would not apply to the nationalised coal sector, which would pay 26 per cent of the profit. Now the detailing of the fund needs to be worked out.
This is the first time the concept of natural resource rent is being established in the country. In this age of green accounting the wealth of a nation should be re-measured in terms of its value to equity and sustainability. Green growth is fundamentally about inclusive growth. So this baby step towards benefit-sharing is one that needs to be watched and supported.
(Sunita Narain)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- कोई भी मूल्य एवं संस्कृति तब तक जीवित नहीं रह सकती जब तक वह आचरण में नहीं है.


Useful Websites Worth a Bookmark!

The sites mentioned below, well most of them, solve at least one problem really well and they all have simple web addresses (URLs) that you can easily learn by heart thus saving you a trip to Google.

01. screenr.com – record movies of your desktop and send them straight to YouTube.

02. bounceapp.com – for capturing full length screenshots of web pages.

03. goo.gl – shorten long URLs and convert URLs into QR codes.
04. untiny.me – find the original URLs that’s hiding behind a short URLs.
05. localti.me – know more than just the local time of a city
06. copypastecharacter.com – copy special characters that aren’t on your keyboard.
07. topsy.com – a better search engine for twitter.
08. fb.me/AppStore – search iOS app without launching iTunes.
09. iconfinder.com – the best place to find icons of all sizes.
10. office.com – download templates, clipart and images for your Office documents.
11. woorank.com – everything you wanted to know about a website.
12. virustotal.com – scan any suspicious file or email attachment for viruses.
13. wolframalpha.com – gets answers directly without searching  – see more wolfram tips.

14. printwhatyoulike.com – print web pages without the clutter.
15. joliprint.com – reformats news articles and blog content as a newspaper.

16. isnsfw.com – when you wish to share a NSFW page but with a warning.

17. e.ggtimer.com – a simple online timer for your daily needs.
18. coralcdn.org – if a site is down due to heavy traffic, try accessing it through coral CDN.
19. random.org – pick random numbers, flip coins, and more.
20. mywot.com – check the trust level of any website – example.

21. viewer.zoho.com – Preview PDFs and Presentations directly in the browser.
22. tubemogul.com – simultaneously upload videos to YouTube and other video sites.

23. truveo.com – the best place for searching web videos.
24. scr.im – share you email address online without worrying about spam.
25. spypig.com – now get read receipts for your email.

26. sizeasy.com – visualize and compare the size of any product.
27. whatfontis.com – quickly determine the font name from an image.
28. fontsquirrel.com – a good collection of fonts – free for personal and commercial use.
29. regex.info – find data hidden in your photographs – see more EXIF tools.

30. tineye.com – this is like an online version of Google Googles.
31. iwantmyname.com – helps you search domains across all TLDs.
32. tabbloid.com – your favorite blogs delivered as PDFs.
33. join.me – share you screen with anyone over the web.
34. onlineocr.net – recognize text from scanned PDFs and images – see other OCR tools.

35. flightstats.com – Track flight status at airports worldwide.
36. wetransfer.com – for sharing really big files online.

37. pastebin.com – a temporary online clipboard for your text and code snippets.
38. polishmywriting.com – check your writing for spelling or grammatical errors.
39. awesomehighlighter.com – easily highlight the important parts of a web page.
40. typewith.me – work on the same document with multiple people.
41. whichdateworks.com – planning an event? find a date that works for all.

42. everytimezone.com – a less confusing view of the world time zones.

43. warrick.cs.odu.edu – you’ll need this when your bookmarked web pages are deleted.

44. gtmetrix.com – the perfect tool for measuring your site performance online.

45. imo.im – chat with your buddies on Skype, Facebook, Google Talk, etc. from one place.
46. translate.google.com – translate web pages, PDFs and Office documents.
47. youtube.com/leanback – enjoy a never ending stream of YouTube videos in full-screen.
48. similarsites.com – discover new sites that are similar to what you like already.
49. wordle.net – quick summarize long pieces of text with tag clouds.
50. bubbl.us – create mind-maps, brainstorm ideas in the browser.
51. kuler.adobe.com – get color ideas, also extract colors from photographs.

52. followupthen.com – setup quick reminders via email itself.

53. lmgtfy.com – when your friends are too lazy to use Google on their own.
54. tempalias.com – generate temporary email aliases, better than disposable email.

55. pdfescape.com – lets you can quickly edit PDFs in the browser itself.

56. faxzero.com – send an online fax for free – see more fax services.

57. feedmyinbox.com – get RSS feeds as an email newsletter.
58. isendr.com – transfer files without uploading to a server.
59. tinychat.com – setup a private chat room in micro-seconds.
60. privnote.com – create text notes that will self-destruct after being read.
61. flightaware.com – live flight tracking service for airports worldwide.
62. boxoh.com – track the status of any shipment on Google Maps – alternative.

63. chipin.com – when you need to raise funds online for an event or a cause.
64. downforeveryoneorjustme.com – find if your favorite website is offline or not?
65. example.com – this website can be used as an example in documentation.
66. whoishostingthis.com – find the web host of any website.
67. google.com/history – found something on Google but can’t remember it now?
68. errorlevelanalysis.com – find whether a photo is real or a photoshopped one.
69. google.com/dictionary – get word meanings, pronunciations and usage examples.
70. urbandictionary.com – find definitions of slangs and informal words.

71. seatguru.com – consult this site before choosing a seat for your next flight.
72. sxc.hu – download stock images absolutely free.
73. imo.im – chat with your buddies on Skype, Facebook, Google Talk, etc. from one place.
74. wobzip.org – unzip your compressed files online.
75. vocaroo.com – record your voice with a click.
76. scribblemaps.com – create custom Google Maps easily.
77. buzzfeed.com – never miss another Internet meme or viral video.
78. alertful.com – quickly setup email reminders for important events.
79. encrypted.google.com – prevent your ISP and boss from reading your search queries.
80. formspring.me – you can ask or answer personal questions here.
81. snopes.com – find if that email offer you received is real or just another scam.
82. typingweb.com – master touch-typing with these practice sessions.
83. mailvu.com – send video emails to anyone using your web cam.
84. ge.tt – quickly send a file to someone, they can even preview it before downloading.
85. timerime.com – create timelines with audio, video and images.
86. stupeflix.com – make a movie out of your images, audio and video clips.
87. aviary.com/myna – an online audio editor that lets record, and remix audio clips online.
88. noteflight.com – print music sheets, write your own music online (review).

89. disposablewebpage.com – create a temporary web page that self-destruct.

90. namemytune.com – when you need to find the name of a song.

91. homestyler.com – design from scratch or re-model your home in 3d.

92. snapask.com – use email on your phone to find sports scores, read Wikipedia, etc.
93. teuxdeux.com – a beautiful to-do app that looks like your paper dairy.

94. livestream.com – broadcast events live over the web, including your desktop screen.
95. bing.com/images – automatically find perfectly-sized wallpapers for mobiles.

96. historio.us – preserve complete web pages with all the formatting.
97. dabbleboard.com – your virtual whiteboard.
98. whisperbot.com – send an email without using your own account.
99. sumopaint.com – an excellent layer-based online image editor.
100. lovelycharts.com – create flowcharts, network diagrams, sitemaps, etc.
101. nutshellmail.com – Get your Facebook and Twitter streams in your inbox.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- कोई भी मूल्य एवं संस्कृति तब तक जीवित नहीं रह सकती जब तक वह आचरण में नहीं है.