It gives me immense pride to join as the Chief Inspector of Mines & Head of the Directorate General of Mines Safety, an organization with a legacy of untiringly serving the nation for more than 119 years with mandate to regulate enforcement of the Mines Act, 1952 and the legislations framed there under.
Mining sector is critical to India’s economic and social well being. Mining and quarrying sector contributes around 2.5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The mining sector under index of Industrial Production (IIP) witnessed a growth of 1.7 percent Year on Year basis. Indian economy is on the aspirational path of becoming a $5 trillion GDP economy by 2024-25. Mining Industry is going to have a sizable contribution to the envisaged GDP and wealth creation. India, being a developing economy, is dependent on the growth of energy sector in order to achieve the desired economic growth. The economic reforms in the past, has propelled Indian mining industry into a new and competitive environment. Government’s recent initiative like launch of National Mineral Policy 2019, allowing FDI up to 100 per cent in mining and permitting commercial coal mining will further boost this sector.
There has been quantum jump in the output of coal, metallic, non-metallic minerals, oil & natural gas, through adoption of modern methods of mining, technological up gradation, mechanization, detailed exploration and opening up new projects leading to proportionate increase in employment in this sector.
Persons working in the mining industry are exposed to risk of health and safety because of inherent hazards. The work environment in mines is highly dynamic in nature and may change abruptly. The risks to the safety and health of employees due to the unknown and unforeseen hazards pose challenges for occupational safety and health professionals. This further requires comprehensive surveillance at workplaces and newer strategies for prevention of accidents in mines. The accident graph over last few decades has shown a flattening trend and the traditional approach towards safety is not yielding the desired results.
The proactive risk based Safety and Health Management System (SHMS) should be adopted in true spirit which has now become part of legislation for coal mines. To develop an adequate and effective Risk based SHMS, a sound risk analysis process is necessary to address the significant hazards identified by the analysis or assessment, with continual improvement in changing scenario. An effective emergency response plan based on risk assessment studies should also be included in SHMS to deal with any sudden eventuality.
We have moved ahead with our goal of digital DGMS, in alignment with Digital India programme. Introduction of online web application modules for online approval system; permission/exemption/relaxation system; accident reporting and inquiry; annual return filing; National Safety Awards (Mines) etc. have been successfully introduced to ensure transparency, reliability and accountability in system. Computer-based examination system for issue of senior statutory certificates, online risk based generation of inspection and online time bound reporting are other similar initiatives intended to reduce discretion and bring efficiency in the system.
You may be aware that, the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India, has recently enacted the codification of existing Central labour laws into four (04) Codes, namely code on wages, Occupational Safety, Health & Working Conditions; Social Security & Industrial Relations; by simplifying, amalgamating and rationalizing the relevant provisions of the Central Labour laws.
It should be our common commitment to continuously strive to provide decent working conditions; improved quality of life; Zero harm to our people, our processes, our workplaces, our society and our planet. We need to jointly orient our approach in pursuit of this common goal and create a legacy worth emulating by the future leaders of this Industry.
Chief Inspector of Mines & Director General of Mines Safety