It is reported that 329 mining leases will become invalid by end of March, 2020. As a result, about 2,64,000 workers will be left with no jobs. Of the mines that will cease to be valid, the shutting down of 48 operative leases will result in a deficit of approx. 60 million tonnes in raw material supplies, primarily iron ore.
As per the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), there has been a hike in unemployment rate from 2.2 per cent in 2011-12 to 6.1 per cent in 2017-18. The workforce has shrunk by about 47 million. The participation rate of the labour force has fallen from 55.9 per cent to 49.8 per cent.
In the states of Odisha, Jharkhand, Goa, and Karnataka, the Supreme Court’s orders on mining have already rendered 200,000 people employed directly at the mines, jobless. The Supreme Court’s orders have resulted in mining being completely shut down in Goa, and becoming extremely slow in Karnataka, Odisha, and Jharkhand.
Given its employment elasticity, if the mining sector is effectively managed, it can generate about 13 times more employment than the agriculture sector and six times more employment than the manufacturing sector for every 1 per cent increase in the sector’s GDP.
With the right support from the Government, the mining sector can actually provide employment to about 50 million people in the next five years.