New Delhi, May 6 : President Pratibha Devisingh Patil on Tuesday said that minerals are a valuable natural resource providing vital raw material for infrastructure, capital goods and basic industries.
The President was speaking at the presentation ceremony of the National Safety Awards (Mines) for the years 2004, 2005 and 2006 in New Delhi.
These awards, instituted by the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment in the year 1983, are tokens of appreciation and recognition by the nation for your extraordinary performance in the area of mine safety.
President Patil said the extraction and management of minerals has to be integrated into the overall strategy of any country's economic development.
"This is more so, in our country, which is endowed with a wide variety of mineral wealth. Presently, the mineral sector contributes around 3.5 per cent of our national GDP and provides direct employment to over one million on daily average basis," she added.
"We should further aspire to expand the value chains of our key minerals in order to leverage our natural resources for faster economic development. This year, we would be completing 107 years of having adopted legislative measures to protect persons working in mines from occupational hazards. During this period, the Indian mining industry has achieved considerable progress in production and productivity. Even in the sphere of safety movement there has been legislative action to a reasonable extent," said the President.
She further said that today, the three most important challenges confronting the mining industry in India are the search for suitable and sustainable technology for exploration, exploitation and value addition to mineral resources; protecting the ecosystem and; improvement of health and safety aspects at work.
These challenges need to be addressed in a constructive and innovative manner for which there is a need for investment of a substantive nature. The private sector should be encouraged to participate in it progressively, for which appropriate policy initiatives may be taken.
In the end the President concluded by saying that I am confident that the National Safety Award in Mines has been and will continue to prove to be an excellent motivator for upholding safety and welfare standards in the mines of our country.