Odisha is endowed with about one third of the estimated national mineral resources. International and domestic demand for minerals has grown steeply in the past decade. This was preceded by a slump in the global mineral industry lasting well over a decade. Particularly, for iron ore the demand and consequently its prices increased sharply triggering a series of issues and challenges for the government. Streamlining the mining operations including tracking of end to end mineral transaction has been an issue of deep concern for the Government since last five years.
On the above backdrop, implementation of a comprehensive Information Technology based e-Governance initiative by the Department of Steel & Mines has been underway in multiple stages and phases since early 2010. It has successfully met key objectives for which it was set up, and elicited wide scale appreciation from various stakeholders including the mining and mineral based industries. Admittedly, as with any process of introduction of IT in administration there has been a phase of stabilization. The initiative was meant to address the circumstances, particularly those arising out of the absence of a qualitative information on the public domain on the functioning of mineral stakeholders and Government which was a matter of deep concern for the Government during the latter part of 2009 and 2010. It is now an admitted fact that the initiative has met its objectives to a satisfactory level and is being improvised further.
As such mineral regulations are in tandem with multiple department/agencies that play important role in permitting & regulating. The system has been designed to automate all processes as per the Central Acts and State Rules, it also shares data in real time with Ports, Railways, Commercial Tax, Income tax, Treasury &Surface transport database etc. Also the system facilitates multiple departments to play their respective part in updating valuable information that helps in curbing down any illegality/irregularity.
Government has also realized that the complex mining process needs to be simplified to cater to any IT intervention if planned to be grounded. Over the time too many duplicity have been created on the Monthly/Annual progress reports, reports & returns filled by lessee, licensee and the Government wished to identify and remove duplicity. The revenue earned by the Government from Mining (Royalty, seizure, dead rent, etc.) were to be paid online and the assessment made quarterly to be made in real time for increasing efficiency at the Government.
The goal was to have an ERP system for Government where in all the associated Government Departments /Agencies will have a single access to information pertaining to mining in the State of Odisha. Since the demand was to tightly monitor so as to prevent illegal mining, many statutory and non-statutory checks were required to be done by the usages of IT. This would help the decision making at the highest level to formulate required policies to curb pilferages. One of the vital transactions at Government is the issuance of the Transit Permit & Pass. This activity is connected to the amount produced, dispatched and stacked. Further with many laws governing multiple activities the chances of committing mistake by the Govt. officers are high, hence e-permit and Pass need to be issued under tight guidance and must be interconnected with all the reports & returns complying the laws laid down by the Central & State Govt. Considering all the aspects, Steel & Mines Department, Government of Odisha has implemented the IT Based mineral administration through a robust software application named Integrated Mines and Mineral Management System or "i3MS".
Minerals are valuable natural resources being finite and non-renewable. They constitute the vital raw materials for many basic industries and are a major resource for development. Mining sector is an important segment of the Indian economy. India produces as many as 87 minerals, which include 4fuel, 10 metallic, 47 non-metallic, 3 atomic and 23 minor minerals (including building and other materials) 11 States, namely Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal together accounted for 91.97% of total number of mines in the country. In the federal structure of India, the State Governments are the owners of minerals located within the boundary of the State concerned. The Central Government is the owner of the minerals underlying the ocean within the territorial waters. The State Governments grant the mineral concessions with the permission of the Central Government. The role played by the Central and State Governments for mining has been extensively dealt in the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 and Rules made under the Act by the Central Government and the State Governments in their respective domains. Besides, mining activities have to be carried out as per the provisions of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, Environment Protection Act, 1986 and Air and Water Acts. The core functions of the State in mining are to facilitate and regulate exploration and mining activities of investors and entrepreneurs, provision of infrastructure and tax collection. In Odisha the Government in Steel & Mines Department, does systematic survey and assessment of the mineral deposits and their exploitation, administration & formulation of appropriate environmental control measures including research for meeting the needs of mineral based industries in the State and Country. The Department has two administrative heads as Directorates as Mines and Directorate of Geology headquartered at Bhubaneswar. They in turn carry out the administrative functions through 14 circle mining offices located in different parts of the State. These field offices, process mineral concession applications, collect mineral revenue, prevent & control illegal mining, enforce all statutory provisions for exploration of minerals & peripheral development of mining areas etc. Companies/firms who are in the business of Mineral in Odisha have to be either registered as Lessee or Licensee. Lessees are the Mining Lease holders and the Licensees are the one who carry out transaction of Mineral as Raw Material for Industries. Activities of Lessee are governed by Central Acts &State Rules. The Lessee can operate on the basis of the Mining Plan which defines the amount of produce per year. This mining plan also consists of the details of the lease hold area (forest & non forest). The lessees are also required to have the valid forest, environment clearance to operate. The head of Mining Circle office, i.e. Deputy Director of Mines needs to undertake physical & documentary verifications from time to time. There are a number of Laws in the country with provisions relating to the Environment protection. Mining of Mineral Other than Coal & Petroleum is regulated under the MMDR Act, 1957, amended in 1994; Mineral Concession rules, 1960; and the Mineral Concession and Development Rules, 1988. These Acts and Rules have provisions for ensuring environmental preservation and protection during mining operations.
Effective governance must ensure that business operate in conformity with applicable laws. In the case of finite natural resources such as minerals, ensuring it's just and equitable use is a prime responsibility of the government. The Steel & Mines Department of the Government of Odisha is the arm of the government to achieve these objectives. It is mandated to develop, administer and regulate the mineral resources of the state. The key motivator for i3MS was to further the mandate and objectives of the Department.
The core functions of the State in mining are to facilitate and regulate exploration and mining activities of investors and entrepreneurs, provision of infrastructure and tax collection. Thus, the Government wished to have a system that will have an end to end accountability of the Mineral Ore Movement originating from the State of Odisha and Integrated Mines and Minerals Management System (i3MS) was taken up as a pilot phase of IT intervention under Steel and Mines department.
The first step was to ensure transparency and en-route doing this, the Government asked all stakeholders such as all Miners, Industries, Traders, and Stockiest & crusher units to get registered via on-line portal disclosing 10 point information. It asked to upload the scanned copy of the document of grant, mining plan and amount of excavation permitted year wise as approved by Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM), consent of approval etc. This was done in a set time line and served as master data which was verified by the field officers. This master data was put in the public domain as Mineral Transparency Portal of Odisha by the Honorable Minister of Steel & Mines, Odisha. Apart from field visits, numerous Video Conferencing was done with the field officers and workshops were conducted involving different mining lease holders like TATA, OMC, Aditya Birla, MCL etc. All the inputs of various stake holders were compiled and presented before the District Level Task Force Committee of District Collector, which comprise of Superintendent of Police, Divisional Forest Officer representatives of Transport Department as members. A Steering Committee has been set up under the Chairmanship of Secretary, Steel & Mines Department with members from IIT, Department of IT, Technical expertise of IIIT, ORSAC (State arm of ISRO) and the largest state mining PSU. The role of Steering committee is to suggest the method, technology and justify efforts for the online system. A monitoring committee has also been set up to review timely deliveries. All the above committees of the State & the District were reviewed by the State Level Task Force chaired by the Chief Secretary of the State. The technology is deployed and designed on 3 tier architecture. In this software engineering, multi-tier architecture is client server architecture in which presentation, application processing, and data management functions are logically separated. The multi-tier architecture is especially the three-tier architecture where the database is managed and maintained in the Windows 2008 Enterprise Database Server, the Business Logic is deployed and managed in the SQL Application Server 2008 Enterprise Edition and the IIS 7.0 is the web server required for interacting with the Database server and the Application server.
The project was initiated during 2010. The Phase-I Pilot was implemented for MIS Module in the month of September 2010 for all the circles. In this module the statutory details like Grant of Lease / License, Mining Plan approval, Forest Clearance, Environment Clearance, Surface Right Grant data of mines were collected. After data collection the same were verified and validated by the concerned Dy. Director Mines / Mining Officer. Then the Pilot of ePermit Management System was implemented in the month of April 2011 for Joda Mining Circle and was scaled up in the month of September 2011 for all the Mining 14 circles.
In phase-II around 15 more modules including online report submission under central and state rule were identified. The same were rolled out in April 2013. The coal implementation was done in the month of June 2013 as it was different from other minerals. Integration with Commercial Tax Department and Railways (FOIS) was done in the month of September 2012 and March 2013 respectively. The chronology is as below.
|SL#||Earlier Process||Existing i3MS Process|
|A)||Mines statutory clearance data was referred from their individual hard file||It is auto checked from MIS database for any type of transaction|
|B)||Representative of Lessee/Licensee was submitted transit permit request in hard copy at the local mines office and doing follow-up every day||Lessee/Licensee can apply online Transit Permit from their own office and gets the application status online from the application|
|Mining office checks all statutory clearances from the files, which is a cumbersome process and delay||At the time of application submission online system checks all required statutes from MIS database automatically.|
|C)||Mining dues application fees and royalty paid through manual challan at the local Treasury office after endorsement/recommendation by local mining office in the challan form||Lessee/Licensee can pay application fee, required royalty through online payment from any of their bank account without any hassle.|
|D)||Delay in the manual file movement, if the designated officer is in leave for some days||System has the facility to delegate power and re-assign job for faster delivery of the Transit Permit|
|E)||No accountability in delay file movement and approval process||Officers are accountable for delay in approval process|
|F)||Less No. of Permit was issued due to time constraint in finding eligibility for getting Permits||As the regulatory system is automated, system allows to issue permits without delay and as a result efficiency in issuing transit permits has improved a lot.|
|G)||After issuance of Permit, authorized user needs to collect the required Transit Pass Book from the mining office||After issuance of permit, System will calculate the required Transit Passes and allow to the mines to start dispatch|
|H)||Anybody can forge the manual TP and misuse the Passes for illegal transportation||1D , 2 D barcode is introduced, where the barcode can store all information of the mineral dispatched|
|I)||Difficult to authenticate the real Transit pass issued at the mines, in case of mobile squad checking or at the Govt. Check gate||By reading the 1D, 2 D barcode or by using mobile technology the transit Passes can be authenticated at any place|
|J)||No facility to have a second level authentication process, unless physically verified the transit Pass book from the Mines end||Call center facility has been introduced to checked any transit pass from any place by using a specific Toll free Number|
|K)||Difficult to trace the actual quantity dispatched to destination, unless until it is physically reported at the mining office||Easy to trace the actual dispatch at any point of time from the System|
|L)||In case of Rail Transport, lessee/licensee needs to take a permission in shape of Forwarding from mining office then submit it to the Station Master for Rake indent||As the Mine Portal (i3MS) is integrated with Indian Railway System (FOIS), once the Permit issued, mines portalÂ pushed the permit information to FOIS and Rake Indent made on this basis|
|M)||Monthly return on mineral dispatch needs to be done manually||Mineral dispatch report auto generated by the system and asked for confirmation before final submission|
|N)||No facility and difficult to get the actual quantity exported through Ports and the destination||As Mines Portal is integrated with all Ports and it is very easy to track the actual export figure through individual Ports.|
The benefits incurred by the beneficiaries
After successful implementation of the project, the immediate quantifiable change that was seen in the system was: All Manual file noting starting from the field offices to the Directorate for various approvals are now made much faster than earlier. The file movement is done through work flow based system. The objective of the project has been fulfilled to a great extent. A five year comprehensive plan has been charted out to ensure continuity of technological up gradation to ensure that the Government is able to keep pace with the industry requirements. A dedicated Project Management Unit has been made functional to bring in best of the brains in the techno mining sectors to support Government to take faster decision based on the available transactional data of i3MS.
With huge transaction of data, the Department has now shifted the central infrastructure to the State Data Center which is declared as a National Asset and guarded by police and IT personnel 24/7. The servers located at the State Secretariat (earlier used to run i3MS) will now be used for disaster recovery so that business of the stakeholders will never face any undue interruption. All efforts are being made for faster and transparent disposal of applications. Hence a standard operating procedure is being framed and being uploaded in the website for feedback of the stakeholders. The Government in Steel and Mines Department is committed to bring in best of the class of service to the business houses by the use of technology.