New Delhi: The mines ministry today said it is ready with the final draft of the new Mines Bill and a Group of Ministers (GoM) will meet soon to review the proposed law amid protests by the industry over provisions mandating 26% profit-sharing with project-affected persons, reports PTI.
The Mines and Mineral Development and Regulation (MMDR) Act will be introduced in the ongoing winter session of Parliament, mines minister B K Handique said.
"Any day the GoM would be meeting... We have finalised the draft, but some changes will be there. It will be introduced in this session," Handique told reporters.
Asked about any changes in the final draft, he said there was some modification, but warned that the clause for 26% profit sharing by miners with project-affected people was retained in the final draft.
"There are a number of changes in the final draft. 26% (profit-sharing clause) - that is there so far," he said.
Asked about the industry demand for watering down the provisions, he said he has received a letter from Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, who had indicated that a group of industrialists wanted an opportunity to raise their concerns.
"I have received a letter from the deputy chairman, Planning Commission. They have said a group of industrialists wants to meet me," Mr Handique said and added that the GoM, headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee would take a final call on the draft Bill, which has incorporated all the changes suggested by different ministries.
The 10-member ministerial panel headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had arrived at a consensus on the Mining Bill last month, which, among other things, makes it mandatory for companies to share 26% of the profits from mining operations with project-affected people.
For such profit-sharing, the GoM has proposed creation of a District Mineral Foundation for disbursement of the benefits to locals.
The GoM has met thrice so far on the Bill.
Miners body FIMI and companies like Jindal Steel and the Tatas have criticised the proposed levy and asked the government not to charge it as a separate tax, saying that social obligation is a part of the operating cost of a company.
The new Bill also seeks to expedite the grant of mineral concessions in a transparent manner and attract big-ticket investment in the sector.
New Delhi: State-owned lenders Dena Bank and UCO Bank have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to act as registrars for the 'Aadhaar' biometric smartcard project, reports PTI.
Both banks will act as registrars for providing Unique Identification Numbers under the UID initiative.
The banks will provide UID numbers to existing as well as future customers by collecting biometric and demographic details as per the norms established by the UIDAI, Dena Bank said in a statement.
This provision will enable real-time online authentication of identities for satisfying the know-your-customer (KYC) norms required for opening of 'no frills' savings accounts by sections of the population that do not have alternative proof of identity, it said.
Through this MOU, the banks will leverage the UID to deepen the reach and ease the process of financial inclusion, it said.
A first step on the road to financial inclusion, the UID project aims to develop the architecture of technical standards and an ecosystem to facilitate collection of demographic and biometric attributes, it said.
Many large corporations are looking at Aadhaar as a pool of prospective customers and are joining hands with UIDAI. Visa is the latest entrant on board the UID bandwagon
The business of providing an identification number to around 60 crore is becoming lucrative day-by-day. Visa, an electronic payments technology company, has said it has developed a unique payment solution, using the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) platform.
The solution is designed to provide a payment infrastructure for unique identification (UID) or Aadhaar holders, especially the un-banked and under-banked.
In a release, Visa said it would provide its infrastructure to process payment transactions using biometric authentication from Aadhaar. As part of the proposed solution, once an individual enrols into Aadhaar, the partner bank can issue a Visa payment card, linked to his/her Aadhaar biometric authentication.
Visa is enhancing its systems to handle biometric data along with payment data and integrate with Aadhaar for authentication purposes. Visa is working with Total System Services Inc (TSYS), a leading global technology company, as the biometric authentication technology partner, for the UIDAI project, it added.
It's nothing illegal for an institution like Visa to join the UID bandwagon. However, the question is why a for-profit organisation would want to join the controversial project and spend its own money to establish this new infrastructure? There are three aspects.
One, UIDAI has a huge budget and the authority is likely to spend more than Rs45,000 crore over five years. For FY11, its budget allocation is Rs1,900 crore and a major part of this amount would be used for reimbursement of enrolment costs to the registrars as well as residents.
Second, UIDAI cannot handle a project to tag 60 crore residents on its own. And third, if anybody wants to carry out targeted marketing aimed at a population of 60 crore at one go, then UID certainly would prove to be a bonanza. (See: http://www.moneylife.in/article/78/7819.html).
In the release, Visa said, "Keeping in mind the large un-banked and under-banked communities in many parts of the country, Visa along with its banking partners will soon launch a financial inclusion pilot, using the UIDAI platform, after identifying suitable locations."
Already, the UIDAI has opened a can of worms by agreeing to allow access to registrars, like state governments and banks, as well as insurers who will collect individual data for the authority through their know-your-customer (KYC) database. This means that any company may be able to access the huge database (of about 60 crore people expected by the end of 2015) simply by becoming a 'registrar' or 'partner' and using the data for their own marketing initiatives. (See: http://www.moneylife.in/article/78/9594.html).
The UIDAI had selected three consortia - Accenture, Mahindra Satyam-Morpho and L1 Identity Solutions - to implement the core biometric identification system for the Aadhaar programme. UIDAI has stated that the three agencies would design, supply, install, commission, maintain and support the multimodal automatic biometric identification subsystem. The three vendors would also be involved in development of the multimodal software development kit (SDK) for client enrolment stations, the verification server, manual adjudication and monitoring functions of the UID application.