No DMF Trust identified its beneficiaries

“None of the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) scheme Trusts  have identified its beneficiaries — the mining-affected people” observed by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE’s) 2018 assessment report on the scheme released in New Delhi today by its Director General Sunita Narain.

People in mining-affected areas have also been left out from the decision-making process of DMFs. While the role of Gram Sabhas has been specified for deciding on projects, monitoring of work and identification of DMF beneficiaries, none of the districts have engaged them so far in these capacities.

She said that the DMF scheme is a people-centric vision of natural resource governance where people’s right to benefit has been put at the forefront. If developed and implemented well, DMFs not only have a huge potential for improving the lives and livelihoods of some of the poorest communities, they could also be a model for inclusive governance.

People First: District Mineral Foundation (DMF) Status Report, 2018, as the assessment is titled, comes as the DMF scheme enters the fourth year of its functioning. CSE has assessed its effectiveness through an analysis of DMF administration in 12 mining states in the country. An in-depth analysis has been done of the investments in 13 districts in the five top mining states of Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. These five states account for more than 72 per cent of the total DMF accrual in the country.

“By not identifying the mining-affected people, DMFs have completely missed out benefiting some of the worst-affected people – those displaced due to mining operations and also those who have lost their livelihoods and their traditional rights over the land being mined,” added Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, CSE.

Said Srestha Banerjee, programme manager, environmental governance unit, CSE: “The Gram Sabha has been completely marginalised from DMF implementation in every state, and also in the Scheduled Areas, even though the state DMF Rules and the Union government’s flagship scheme Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kheshtra Kalyan Yojana categorically emphasize this.”

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