Stress in Mining Sector Causes Widespread Livelihood Crisis, Says FIDR Report

More than 60% respondents feel mining cessation has deeply impacted their lives, with domestic violence and mental stress cases also see an increase.

The Forum for Integrated Development and Research (FIDR), India’s leading social change organisation released a seminal research report based on a survey in 5 major Mining States of India. This pan- mining India report is a first-of-its-kind in the country and is about people’s attitudes toward the mining industry and the communities’ livelihoods interlinked with it. The study has highlighted the dent in the livelihoods of communities and households due to mining ban/stoppage in the states.

In the state of Goa the mining ban has made a deep negative impact on the social bonding and wellbeing. The most incisive insight which has emerged from the survey underscores the deep and unmitigated livelihood, family, and economic crisis that has swept aside the peace and prosperity of whole communities in the wake of the mining stoppage, more so in states like Goa and Karnataka.

The report, titled “Mining, A Prudent Perspective”, is based on a survey conducted across five major mining states- Goa, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, and Karnataka. The respondents belong to the key sectors of the ecosystem with representation by gender and age, and also by people from varied education backgrounds.

According to the report, the ban on mining has not only affected the families dependent on mining but also the families whose livelihoods are dependent on the ancillaries of the mining industry. With the household incomes depleted by more than half after the mining ban, the incidences of domestic violence have increased due to the joblessness and financial crunch to run families. The women and children are the worst sufferers due to the policy decisions to close down mining.

70% of those surveyed felt that mining had helped create jobs for them in the first place. Today, these jobs have vanished. 65% of the respondents expressed that their family lives are under severe strain and is further getting destroyed due to indebtedness, bankruptcy, violence from moneylenders, drinking and other social vices. 27% of respondents stated that mental instabilities have increased due to livelihood stress. This response came with the highest numbers in Goa.

Majority of those surveyed opined that legal instability and a weak mining policy has encouraged rapid depletion of Investor confidence leading to uncertainty regarding the future of mining in India.

Speaking about the findings and the study, Mr. Charudutta Panigrahi, Mentor, FIDR, said, “This report aims to bring the voice of India’s citizens, on whose behalf India’s mineral and energy resources are managed, to the centre of the national conversation about the role of the mining industry in our society. This is important to note and act upon, if the country has to become the 5 trillion USD economy. The negative economic impact of a continued ban/stoppage on mining activities or trade barriers in the various states would be a large ticket for the economy to absorb at this stage when investors’ sentiment is already weak, and the global conditions are unstable. The issues plaguing the mining industry in the country, if continued, will bring the Indian economy to the edge of an avoidable precipice.”

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