The Telegraph
Friday , August 22 , 2014
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Royalty crumbs for state

New Delhi, Aug. 21: The Centre has decided to extend the benefit of increased mineral royalty rates to Bengal but the revision does not cover coal, which constitutes 99 per cent of the state’s mineral production.

According to a statement issued by the cabinet committee on economic affairs today, Bengal would get more royalty even though it already collects cess on minerals.

“West Bengal will receive the benefit of the revised rates of royalty,” the statement says, adding that since 1987, the state had not gained from hikes “as it levies a cess on mineral bearing lands and this matter is still being agitated in various courts”.

A study group had recommended that the revised rates be made applicable to all states and Union territories and added that even though Bengal levied the cess, it was collected under a statute that was not at odds with the proposed revision.

Other than coal, Bengal produces granite, fire clay and rock phosphate in small quantities.

Miners pay royalty to states and the governments of the mineral-rich Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka had been demanding a rate revision.

The royalty for 23 of the 51 minerals whose rates can be decided by the Centre were revised yesterday on the basis of recommendations by the study group.

The study group had been set up in September 2011 to review the royalty rates of major minerals other than coal and lignite, and propose revisions.

The statement said the states stood to gain Rs 4,000 crore from the hike, with the total mineral royalty payout going up from Rs 9,406 crore in 2011-12 to an estimated Rs 13,274 crore.

“The biggest beneficiary states are those having sizeable tribal population,” the statement says, adding that the royalty payout to Jharkhand would increase from Rs 645.91 crore to Rs 944.38 crore.

The payout to Chhattisgarh will go up to Rs 1,976 crore from Rs 1,346.31 crore and that of Odisha to Rs 4,880 crore from Rs 3,249.54 crore.

Jammu and Kashmir will get a royalty of Rs 1.97 crore and Maharashtra Rs 177.29 crore.