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ICAI may be roped in to finalise
September, 28th 2010

The government is understood to be considering roping in ICAI, the apex accounting body, to tighten the compensatory scheme for the people displaced by mining projects amid a furore over the proposal for 26 per cent profit-sharing in the new mining law.

"In the last GoM meet, it was discussed to send the 26 per cent profit sharing proposal to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). The government aims to fine-tune the scheme to compensate the people displaced by mining projects," a senior Mines Ministry Official told reporter.

The development comes at a time when the industry has questioned the proposed compensatory scheme envisaged in the new mining bill. Industry bodies like CII and Ficci had also opposed the scheme earlier.

Differences within the government have also emerged of late, with Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal brushing aside the Steel Ministry's suggestion for giving concessions to PSUs in the proposed law for 26 per cent profit-sharing with people displaced by mining projects.

There are differences between two of the PSUs concerned -- Coal India and SAIL -- as well on the issue.

"Amid opposition from the industry on the technicalities of such a plan, the government wants the scheme on profit-sharing to be fool-proof. ICAI's expertise on the subject would help in shaping up the scheme," the official added.

Earlier, Mines Minister B K Handique had said that a 10-member ministerial panel headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had arrived at a consensus on the new Mining Bill, which, among other things, makes it mandatory for firms to share 26 per cent of the profit from mining with project-affected people. The panel is slated to meet soon to clear the final draft of the Bill.

Turning down Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh's demand for giving a "special consideration" to PSUs like SAIL and NMDC under the 26 per cent profit-sharing proposal, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal had said, "Definitely, it should be there," when asked whether there should be a level playing field for PSUs and private players under the profit-sharing regime.

Jaiswal had added that there is no proposal before the Group of Ministers to give concessions to PSUs.

Virbhadra Singh had said the PSUs deserve differential treatment, as they have been continuously committed to fulfilling their social responsibility obligation.

"Some special consideration has to be given to PSUs for the historical role (in social obligations) being undertaken in different parts of the country," he had said. Singh had supported the demand by the SAIL for differential treatment.

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