Opportunities of Using DMF Funds for Just Transition and Livelihood Enhancement through Perspective Planning
In a proactive stride towards sustainable development, The International Forum for Environment, Sustainability & Technology (iFOREST) organized a stakeholder meeting to discuss the opportunities for utilizing District Mineral Funds Trust (DMFT) funds for improving livelihood and job opportunities in mining dependent districts of Jharkhand. The meeting served as a nexus for prominent figures, policymakers, and experts to delve into the strategic utilization of District Mineral Foundation (DMF) funds, with a focal point on Jharkhand’s sustainable future. Attended by key entities such as the Department of Mines and Geology, Government of Jharkhand, District Bokaro District Administration, Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society (JSLPS), and Civil Society Organizations from diverse districts, the session was a confluence of expertise and perspectives.
During the discussions, Shri Arava Rajkamal (IAS), Director of Mines and Geology, underscored Jharkhand’s transitional phase, emphasizing the need for a 10–15-year vision for a just transition and increased livelihood opportunities. Speaking at the meeting, he mentioned, “Jharkhand is during transition, a reality unfolding before us. With a 10–15-year horizon, our focus is on need-based planning for a just transition & empowered livelihoods. Embracing change as an opportunity to shape a sustainable future”.
Further while giving the inaugural address, Shri Kuldeep Chaudhary (IAS), District Collector of Bokaro, underscored the significance of District Mineral Foundation Trust (DMFT) funds as a crucial resource in augmenting opportunities for sustainable livelihoods and job creation within mining districts. He emphasized the immediacy of this issue, citing forthcoming reductions in DMF fund flows in districts like Bokaro due to the depletion of resources in aging mines. Additionally, Chaudhary highlighted the substantial income dependence on coal, particularly evident in blocks like Bermo, further emphasizing the urgency of leveraging DMFT funds for sustainable development initiatives amidst evolving resource dynamics.
Some key Takeaway of the meetings-
- DMF Funds Prioritization: Allocation of DMF funds in Bokaro, ranging from Rs 150 to 300 crores monthly, underscores the need for strategic distribution, focusing on both direct and indirect sectors for balanced development.
- Focus on Livelihood Development: Despite the emphasis on drinking water and sanitation, there’s a challenge in ensuring uniform allocation across districts, hindering the support for livelihood activities.
- Elements of Effective Transition: Community support and robust infrastructure are fundamental in navigating six critical aspects: restructuring the economy, optimizing land use, reskilling, environmental and social investments, and revenue substitution.
- Solar-Based Agricultural Innovation: Leveraging DMF funds for solar irrigation in mining-affected areas promotes crop diversification, supported by agricultural pilots through collaborations with universities and civil societies.
- Repurposing and Regulatory Framework: Effective mine repurposing requires a strong regulatory framework for continuous monitoring, ensuring sustainable resource utilization and repurposing initiatives