A One Day Seminar on the theme of “Digital Initiatives For Mining Sector”, was successfully organized by the Western Zone of Directorate General of Mines Safety (DGMS) in association with allied departments under the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India on July 19, 2019 at Nagpur, to focus on the potential of digital penetration to ensuring overall systemic improvements in mines leading to higher levels of safety, productivity and other vital operating parameters.
During the inaugural function, a new digital initiative in the form of amobile applicationnamed ‘Khanan Mitra’ which has been developed by ‘Khanan Mitra’ under the aegis ofDGMS – Western Zone and Raigarh Region of DGMS – South Eastern Zone with an intention to spreading awareness on mines safety amongst about 1,00,000 digitally connected workers, supervisors and officials employed in various coal and non-coal mines in the jurisdiction, along with a host of various other features customized to improving safety in mines, was successfully launched.
Further, during the course of Inaugural Session, e-proceedings of the Seminar were also launched. The Inaugural Function was followed by Technical presentations of various mining organizations, inter-ministerial departments of Ministry of Labour and Employment such as EPFO, ESIC, CLC.
The inaugural function was graced by Kalpana Rajsinghot, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Labour & Employment, Govt. of India as the Chief Guest, R. Subramanian, Dy. Director General of Mines Safety, Western Zone, Nagpur as the President of the Function. R.R. Mishra, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, M/s Western Coalfields Limited (WCL), M. P. Choudhari, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, M/s Manganese Ore India Limited (MOIL), Manoj Kumar, Director, Technical (Operations), M/s Western Coalfields Limited, Ajit Kumar Choudhary, Director Technical (P&P), M/s Western Coalfields Limited Vinod Pillai, Director, M/s Godavari Power & Ispat Limited, also graced the occasion as the Guests of Honour. Welcome address in the Inaugural Function was delivered by R.T. Mandekar, Director of Mines Safety, Western Zone, Nagpur.
Initially, R. Subramanian, Dy. Director General of Mines Safety, Western Zone, Nagpur and the President of the function elucidated the need for holding the seminar. He also showcased the immense potential of Khanan Mitra in improving safety and other vital operating parameters in mines. Kalpana Rajsinghot, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Govt. of India and the Chief Guest of the function highlighted the importance attached by the Govt. of India under the flagship programme ‘Digital India’, in transforming the operating eco-system from conventional to digital. She stressed upon the need of digital intervention in the mining sector to improve upon the system management of the mines to attain the goal of zero harm.
Mining industry in the country contributes significantly to the GDP and, therefore, plays a vital role in Nation Building. The growth story has been predominantly concentrated in the existing setup while very marginal lateral growth has been registered in terms of incrementing the number of mines. This has resulted in over-stressing of the existing sector. No doubt, the safety scenario of the sector continues to be the single largest concern as a consequence.
Further complicating the situation is the serious limitations in current day conventional administrative capabilities/facilitations prevailing in the industry. Unless and until new initiatives into managing such systems effectively and accurately are interwoven into current day mining methodology, turn around for the sector specially on account of safety of persons employed in mines, will be a routine herculean task.
Fortunately, India being a global IT leader, it may be a fairly easy task for our mining sector to incorporate digital management for accurate, effective and instantaneous realization of results. Coupled with policies of the Government, the environment is aptly ripe and in tune with this direly required initiative by the sector in introducing digitization in a large way. Though digital outreach has made some inroads into the governing and harmonizing policies of a few public sectors and private sector mining companies in a very limited way, it is too low to making any impactable changes on overall performance and therefore, the journey is long.
Thus, the potential for digitization in mining sector in respect of effective and efficient management of various operating systems and parameters – mine safety being the most important of them, remains largely unexplored even till date. In the current day management of the mining sector, there are many aspects which require scrutiny both within and outside the mine at the level of corporate governance, regulators, other stake holders, etc. With augmented focus on transparency in governance, conventional methods need to be replaced with a matching digitized regime. Thus, the need of the hour is that mining sector must be digitally enabled appropriately to allowing multi-level and multi-party intervention at different levels on a digital platform, for achieving the common goal for all stake holders.
With the foregoing in view, the seminar served as the much-required catalyst amongst all stake holders in planning and designing for appropriate customized digital strategies to be operational in mines.
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