After senior jurist Harish Salve held Supreme Court responsible for the current economic slowdown of the country, the Federation of Indian Mining Industries (FIMI) on Monday has echoed the same sentiments stating that some judgments of the Apex Court have led to around job loss for 23 lakh people, both direct and indirect, in the mining sector, excluding petroleum and natural gas.
Reportedly, RK Sharma, secretary-general of FIMI said, in 2011-12 the mining sector employed 23.23 lakh people and due to various judgments, including bans and restrictions on mining placed by the Supreme Court, there was a significant drop in employment in the mining sector.
Sharma further added that due to bans and restrictions imposed by the court, around 80,000 direct employee lost their jobs in Karnataka. According to him, the number of job losses due to SC intervention was higher in Goa numbering nearly one lakh. Addition to that, the huge penalties imposed by the apex court in 2017 on 102 iron and manganese ore leases in Odisha has also led to around 50,000 direct job loss.
On the pretext of illegal mining, in 2011, the Supreme Court had banned mining in 188 leases in Karnataka. Subsequently, it allowed mining in 115 leases. However, in 2012, the Supreme Court had suspended all mining leases in Goa, but in 2014 granted renewals of leases with an annual production cap of 20 million tonnes. However, with effect from March last year, it cancelled the renewal of 88 mining, putting a blanket ban on the mining operation in the state.
“The closure or limitation of production has crippled the mining industry and adversely impacted both direct and indirect employment. Many mines are finding it difficult to operate and closing down one by one, further creating a slump and increasing the unemployment rate in remote and tribal regions,” Sharma added.
The mining sector is the third-largest in terms of generating job per unit increase in the sectoral GDP with an employment elasticity of 0.52%, next only to construction and finance & real estate. This implies that for every 1% growth in the mining sector’s GDP, employment in the sector increases by 0.52%.
Reportedly, nearly 2,60,000 people are in danger of job loss, direct and indirect, because of the lapsing of merchant mines by March next year. The validity 329 mining leases will end by March 31, causing job losses for 2,64,000. On the list of the lapsing mines are 48 operative leases, whose shutdown will lead to a deficit of around 60 million tonnes (mt) in raw material suppliers, mainly iron ore.
Recently, distinguished lawyer Harish Salve had also blamed the Supreme Court of India for the economic slowdown the country is currently experiencing. In an interview, Salve held the apex court responsible for the slump in the economy stating that the slowdown was triggered by the court’s verdict in the 2G spectrum case in 2012.
Salve had asserted that the top court’s order on 2G and coal allocation triggered foreign investors to exit from the Indian markets. In 2012, the Supreme Court had invalidated the 122 spectrum licences granted to eight companies. Salve contended that a blanket cancellation of allocation that happened in accordance with the rules set by the then government had a negative impact on the foreign investors who had to bear the brunt of the malfeasance of government authorities.