India is endowed with huge resources of many metallic and non-metallic minerals. Since independence in 1947, there has been a rapid growth in the mineral production both in terms of quantity and value. Currently, India produces as many as 87 minerals, which include 4 fuel, 10 metallic, 47 non-metallic, 3 atomic and 23 minor minerals (including building and other materials).
The mining activities are extremely poorly regulated despite the fact that as early as 1948, the founding fathers of the constitution realized this need. During the Constitutional debates, they said as early as in 1948, “Industrialisation has brought in its wake an ever-increasing demand for mineral resources. These resources are non-replenishable and mostly scarce. Proper control over regulation and development of mines and minerals is therefore, a matter of national concern.” Today over 80,000 mines operate illegally as against nearly 10,000 legitimate leases. Only a third of the legal mines actually report to the Indian Bureau of Mines, the regulator.