New Delhi: The government on Thursday said the new Mines Bill has been referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee and is hopeful that it will be passed in the upcoming Budget Session.

"The MMDR Bill has been referred to Parliamentary Standing Committee. The Committee's suggestions after in-depth scrutiny are expected by March-end and we are hopeful that the Bill would be passed in the second-leg of the Budget session," Mines Minister Dinsha Patel said here.

The Mines and Mineral Development and Regulation (MMDR) Bill, which was introduced in the Lok Sabha during the Winter session, provides for coal miners to share 26 percent of their net profits with the project-affected people, while the burden on the non-coal miners will be equivalent to royalty.

Once the law is enacted, it will overhaul the sector, bringing in more transparency and boosting foreign direct investment in the space, Patel said on the sidelines of a geological convention here.

Apart from increasing royalty, the new law will do justice to the project-affected people as there are provisions of development work in the area, Patel said.

"It will not only ensure transparency, equity elimination of discretions, effective redressal and regulatory mechanisms will also curb illegal mining in the country as it provides for a regulatory authority," he said.

The Bill proposes to set up a district development fund, where the money accumulated from the 26 percent profit sharing by coal miners and an amount equivalent to 100 percent of royalty for others, will be deposited and spent on local population and area development.

When asked about fierce opposition of the equity sharing provision of the new Bill by the industry, including miners body FIMI and industry body FICCI, Patel said the Standing Committee will give its report after taking into account all the aspects.

The Cabinet had approved the long-pending draft Bill on September 30 last year that will replace the 54-year-old legislation governing the sector, as it was felt that the existing laws have not provided a fair deal to those affected by the mining projects and the leases were not given in transparent manners.

The Cabinet gave its nod after a Group of Ministers (GoM), headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, set up to address inter-ministerial differences on it could reach a consensus after marathon sessions.

The Bill is viewed as significant as the laws will govern the sector includes globally significant resources of over 60 metallic and non-metallic minerals, with India ranking among top five nations as far as coal and iron ore reserves are concerned.

(Agencies)