Sunday October 21, 2018

Thanks to the poor safety standards of India, Death tolls are rising in the mining sector

Coal Mines Act in 1973 was enacted due to this very reason only. Private sector mines were banned due to their poor safety records and now public sector mines are also becoming dangerous.

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Mining tools exhibition, Wikimedia commons
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  • India is a producer of 89 minerals and operates 569 coal mines, 67 oil gas mines and 1,770 noncoal mines
  • Between 2009 and 2013, 752 accidents were reported and Coal Mines Act in 1973 was enacted
  • Australia, the US and China  has implemented standard operating procedures (SoPs) to counter accidents

Though major safety standards have been introduced in the Indian mining sector but still a lot needs to be taken care of. Every 10th day some sort of mining fatality is happening in our country. Digging deeper into the case, more specifically every 3rd day on an average some accidents take place in the coal mining sector. All these repercussions lead to the fact that mining is considered to be the most dangerous profession in India.

Officials claim that the numbers are declining. On paper, it may seem comforting that for extracting 100 million tonnes of coal, 7 lives were lost on an average in 2015. The majority of the mishaps that takes place are due to strata fall (roof falls or collapse of side walls). Our economy demands more and more output from the mining sector. This directly builds pressure for re-evaluating the safety standards of those toiling deep in the bowels of the earth.

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Same is the case with other developing countries such as China, Brazil. Death tolls are rising at a significant scale. Senior officials employed by world’s largest coal mine sector, coal India Ltd, concede that “Official numbers could be much lower than the actual deaths that take place deep inside the mines.”

Safety standards should be implemented in mining sectors, Wikimedia commons
Standard safety standards should be implemented in mining sectors, Wikimedia commons

India is a producer of 89 minerals by operating 569 coal mines, 67 oil gas mines and 1,770 noncoal mines and several other small mines. This forms a source of employment to about 1 million people on a daily average basis. This also contributes to about 5 % of the national GDP (Gross Domestic Product). But the fact that failures occur in the mining industry is an indication of our poor safety standards. We need to learn from countries like Australia, the US and China where standard operating procedures (SoPs) have been implemented.

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According to Official of Directorate General of Mines Safety (Ministry of Labour and Employment), In India 752 accidents have been reported between 2009 and 2013 due to the fatalities in the mining operations. Coal Mines Act in 1973 was enacted due to this very reason only. Private sector mines were banned due to their poor safety records and now public sector mines are also becoming dangerous.

Though the problems of Indian mine worker cause accidents, miners are also exposed to a number of hazards that adversely affects their health. The problem of inadequate compensation is another factor that as documented in the report by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on safety in coal mines.

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-by Pritam

Pritam is an engineering student and an intern at NewsGram. Twitter handle Pritam_gogreen

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India Continues Engaging With USA Over H-1B Passport Issue

India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

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As Trump proposes changes in H1-B visa, India continues to engage with US

India is continuing to engage with the US over the H-1B visa, largely availed of by Indian IT companies, after the Trump administration proposed changes to the programme, a senior official said on Thursday.

“It is a very important topic for us and that is the reason why we have time and again at various levels, we have taken up this matter with the US side,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to queries by journalists here.

Kumar said that most recently, the issue was raised during the first ever India-US 2+2 Ministerial Meeting held here last month that was attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.

On Wednesday, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) plans to come out with its new proposal by January 2019.

India n Passport
It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages Flickr

The DHS said it was also proposing to remove from its regulations certain H-4 spouses of H-1B non-immigrants as a class of aliens eligible for employment authorisation.

The move to end the rule could have an impact on more than 70,000 H-4 visa holders, who have work permits.

The H-4 visas are issued by the USCIS to immediate family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) of the holders of H-1B visa.

The DHS said it will propose to revise the definition of speciality occupation to increase focus on obtaining the best and the brightest foreign nationals via the H-1B programme.

It will also “revise the definition” of employment and employer-employee relationship to “better protect” US workers and wages, the DHS said.

Donald Trump, India
President Donald Trump speaks about immigration alongside family members affected by crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, at the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex, June 22, 2018, in Washington, VOA

In his remarks on Thursday, Kumar said that India is closely engaged with the US administration as well as the US Congress on this matter.

Stating that there are certain bills which have been introduced, he, however, said that “it is important to note that none of these bills have been passed so far”.

“When we have engaged with the US, we have emphasised that our partnership which we have in the digital sphere have been mutually beneficial,” the spokesperson said.

Also Read: USA And Other Countries Pledge To Eradicate Illegal Wildlife Trade

“We have highlighted the role which has been played by the highly skilled Indian professionals who have actually contributed to the growth and development of the US economy,” he stated.

“And also they have helped the US to maintain a competitive edge in the world towards innovation and science and technology.” (IANS)