Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs & Coal, Prahlad Venkatesh Joshi has urged the geoscientific community to come up with innovative means of finding deep seated and concealed mineral resources, while causing least ecological disturbance. He said that the government had brought out the National Mineral Policy 2019 and aims to increase mineral production, in value terms, by 200 per cent over the next seven years.
The minister said that the need of the hour was to strengthen the synergy between the professional and academic institutions working in field of geoscience.
The minister expressed hope that after the completion of National Aero-Geophysical Mapping Programme covering 2.7 million km of Obvious Geological Potential by the Geological Survey of India (GSI), the mineral potential zones would be identified leading to auctionable mineral blocks. In the current field season, GSI has almost doubled its exploration activity by implementing about 400 mineral exploration projects on various mineral commodities.
Highlighting the transformative and investor friendly interventions undertaken in the mining sector, Joshi said that the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015, had brought in transparency in competitive auction process and grant of mineral concessions. The setting up of National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET) and District Mineral Foundation (DMF) were important steps in this regard.
The government had also set up the Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojna (PMKKY) to ensure long-term sustainable livelihoods for the affected people living in mining areas, he added.
The minister was speaking at the National Geoscience Awards function for the year 2018. The awards, which recognises outstanding contributions in the field of geosciences, mining and allied areas, were presented to 22 scientists from across the country.
The awards were given in 10 disciplines covering mineral exploration, groundwater exploration, mining technology, mineral beneficiation, sustainable mineral development, basic and applied geosciences, geo-environmental studies and natural hazards investigation.
Prof. Syed Wajih Ahmad Naqvi, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), received the Award for Excellence for his significant global contributions in the field of aquatic biogeochemical research. Dr. Sohini Ganguly, of Goa University was conferred with the Young Scientist Award-2018 for her significant work in the fields of petrology, volcanology and geochemistry.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Anil Mukim, Secretary, Mines outlined the background of the award, initiated way back in 1966 by the Ministry of Mines, and how it had evolved since then with the inclusion of new domains of geoscience to recognise the contributions not only in the field of mineral exploration but also in other disciplines. Till date, 820 geoscientists and engineers from various institutions in the country have received the award. SN Meshram, Director General, Geological Survey of India (GSI) and other senior officials of the Ministry of Mines and GSI were also present on the occasion.