Jharkhand accounts for more than two-fifths of the mineral wealth of the country -- including 27 per cent of its coal resources, 26 per cent of its iron ore resources, and 18 per cent of its copper ore resources. However, it is one of India's most impoverished states
A Sustainable Mining Attractiveness Index (SMAI) developed by Delhi based Centre for Social and Economic Progress (CSEP) has revealed that the best performing districts in terms of mining activities among the 24 districts of Jharkhand ranked lowest on environment parameter while the lowest ranked districts in terms of mining ranked among the top 10 on the environment pillar.
The index, which is aligned with the principle of environmental and social responsibility in mining emphasised in the National Mineral Policy 2019, underscores the need to push the accelerator on community development and environmental conservation, especially in the context of numerous controversies surrounding the sector.
Jharkhand accounts for more than two-fifths of the mineral wealth of the country -- including 27 per cent of its coal resources, 26 per cent of its iron ore resources, and 18 per cent of its copper ore resources. However, it is one of India's most impoverished states. In per capita gross state domestic product (GSDP) terms, Jharkhand ranks 25 out of the 28 Indian states.
"The SMAI provides stakeholders with a holistic understanding of the potential of mineral resources-led development in the state, identifies factors that encourage and discourage mining investments, suggests government-led policy actions that enable sustainable mining jurisdictions and provides mining companies benchmarks for guiding investment decisions," Rajesh Chadha, Senior Fellow, Energy, Natural Resources & Sustainability, CSEP, says.
The CSEP-Sustainable Mining Attractiveness Index for Jharkhand has been constructed by evaluating the 24 districts of Jharkhand based on various secondary data normalised and aggregated under five pillars: mining potential and performance; socio-economic status; policy and governance; infrastructure; and environment. The scores of the five pillars have been averaged to give each district a final sustainable mining attractiveness score and index.
The top five districts overall are: Dhanbad (1), East Singhbhum (2), West Singhbhum (3), Ranchi (4) and Ramgarh (5). The five lowest-ranked districts are: Deoghar (20), Koderma (21), Garhwa (22), Simdega (23) and Godda (24).
The top-performing district Dhanbad, is ranked the lowest on the environment pillar (24). Similarly, East Singhbhum performs relatively poorly on the environment pillar (9) when compared to its ranks for the other pillars, while West Singhbhum lies low on the socio-economic status (22) and infrastructure (10) pillars.
On the other hand, two of the lowest-ranked districts -- Garhwa and Simdega -- rank among the top 10 on the environment pillar. Lohardaga (17), also does well on the environment pillar. Similarly, Jamtara (19), is a relatively better performer on the socio-economic status, policy and governance, and infrastructure.
"The CSEP-SMAI study portrays a holistic overview of 24 districts of Jharkhand with regard to the five pillars. While the mining potential of a district may be an important incentive for mining investments, the miner (company) would also consider the policy and governance, and infrastructure issues. The district government should be equally concerned about both these issues, as well as about the socio-economic status and environmental sustainability of mining," says Chadha.
The indexing of the five pillars and the Index carry not just policy implications for the district administrations and the Government of Jharkhand, but also provide benchmarks for guiding mining investment decisions across India, the results show.
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