Debidutta Biswal, Director (Mines)
Top 20 Most Inspirational Personalities Of Odisha: Reforming Mining Sector post Covid
Debidutt Biswal is a 1988 batch IFS officer who recently took over as the Director of Mines. Biswal known to be a go-getter, has set his sights on unleashing a string of reforms in the mining sector. These include introduction of new modules in the existing Integrated Mines and Minerals Management System (i3MS) to make auctions more effective and user friendly as a step towards Ease of Doing Business (EoDB), ramping up revenue especially from minor minerals and charting the roadmap to auction virgin mineral resources in the future.
Biswal has served as the Special Secretary with the forest & environment department. He also held the post of Member Secretary of Odisha State Pollution Control Board. Biswal brings on board immense knowledge of mining and forest regulations. His administrative acumen in obtaining critical environment and forest clearances for mining projects will serve him in good stead in his latest incarnate.
The Directorate of Mines is amongst the most coveted posts in Odisha bureaucracy. It is also the hot seat given the current context when mining activity has shrunk in view of the Covid pandemic. But mining is on the cusp of transition as the auctioned merchant mines are bracing up to restart mining after a hiatus of nearly four months. The lease tenure of 24 merchant mine blocks lapsed on March 31, 2020. Together, these mine leases promise incremental revenue in upwards of Rs 20,000 crore for the Odisha government. The reopening of the merchant owned resources also augurs well for the state revenues when collections from VAT and GST have considerably shrunk. Mining is the single largest contributor to the state’s non-tax revenue kitty. In 2019-20, Odisha mopped up over Rs 10,000 crore by way of mining revenue.
Apart from ensuring uninterrupted operations of these mines, Biswal needs to speed up online auctions of the nine virgin mineral blocks to shore up the state’s long-term revenue potential.
In his previous avatars, Biswal has played a stellar role in identifying the polluted clusters and formulating a slew of measures to curb down on pollution across water bodies. He also launched a crackdown on industrial units that did not comply with the emission norms and guideline stipulated by the State Pollution Control Board.
Written By: Dibyajit Sahu
Image Source: Interview Times