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SYSTEM OF EXAMINATIONS UNDER THE MINES ACT 1952

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SAFETY AT WORK AND SYSTEM OF EXAMINATIONS


FOR GRANT OF CERTIFICATES OF COMPETENCY IN
INDIA
Safety at Work :
By its very nature, extraction of minerals from the bowels of earth is fraught with innumerable
hazards. It is so, because is is a war with the unpredictable forces of nature. Despite all the
advancements of modern times, a miner or for that matter even an experienced mining engineer
cannot foresee the behaviour of geo-mining characteristics beyond a point. As newer and newer
grounds are penetrated and exposed, equilibrium of the ground forces get disturbed and conditions
of roof and sides at working places deteriorate to varied degrees. Also, lethal gases in unknown
quantities get liberated, without any prior warning. The unpredictable and oft-changing nature of
work environment are, in fact, the two special features that particularly distinguish mining from
other industrial activities. Apart from the hostile natural factors, operations of powerful and
complex machinery in cramped, dark and polluted work environment belowground as well as
bulk-use of inherently hazardous explosives add to the risk of injury or death in mining and tend to
make mining one of the most hazardous occupations.
Although tradition of mining in India comes down from the very dawn of civilisation, safety
movement, as we have it now, is a relatively modern innovation. In primitive mining, safety
problems were simple and ancient miners instinctively practiced accident prevention in
self-preservation. Occupational safety largely remained a matter of individual effort until recently;
real need and hence clamour for organised safety efforts originated only after the advent of
machine age - towards the end of last century. If a line of chronological demarcation were to be
drawn between the era of individual and sporadic accident prevention efforts and the beginning of
organised safety movement in Indian mining industry, it would perhaps be the year 1901-1902,
when the first Indian Mines Act was enacted and the foundation of States intervention for securing
occupational safety and well-being of the segment of its citizen who lived by labour in mines, was
laid. Since then and more so in the post-independence period, with the principle of securing just
and humane conditions of work enshrined in the Constitution, there have been many momentous
developments in safety movement.

System of examination and grant of


competency certificates:
In mines, since the conditions at workplaces keep frequently and unpredictably changing, the man
on the spot has to exercise constant vigil and take instantaneous decisions. Practical and on the spot
decision by the front-line supervisor and managerial executive may be of paramount importance in
saving lives. It is accordingly mandated that key positions in mines are held only by persons whose
competency has been duly evaluated.
To examine the competency of persons eligible for manning such posts and to grant certificates of
competency, two Boards of Mining Examination, one for Coal and the other for Metalliferous
Mines, have been constituted by the Central Government. In each Board, besides the Director-

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SYSTEM OF EXAMINATIONS UNDER THE MINES ACT 1952

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General of Mines Safety, who is the ex-officio Chairman there are five members possessing
technical qualifications in mining and having practical experience in mines or serving in an
institution imparting education in mining engineering at Degree level or engaged in mining
research. The Board members are usually the Chairman-cum-Managing Director/Chief
Executive/Director of Mining Companies and Head of Dept. of teaching/research establishment.
The Boards are reconstituted every three years.
The Boards currently grant Certificates of Competency of the following types :
(i) Managers Certificate of Competency - First Class and Second Class.
(ii) Surveyors Certificate of Competency.
(iii) Overmans/Foremans Certificate of Competency.
(iv)

Mining Sirdars/Mates Certificate of Competency.

(v) Shot-firers/Blasters Certificate of Competency.


(vi)

Gas-Testing/Lamp-checkers Certificate of Competency.

(vii) Winding Engine Drivers Certificate of Competency.


The first three of the above involve written and oral examinations and the rest are awarded after
oral examination only.
In respect of metalliferous mines, there are separate certificates viz. unrestricted type for
underground and opencast mines and restricted type for opencast mines only for (i) to (v) above.
Exchange Certificates are also granted, on passing the examination conducted by the Boards, to
persons possessing stipulated experience and holding corresponding competency certificates
granted under the Coal Mines Regulations, 1957 / the Metalliferous Mines Regulations, 1961 or
under the corresponding law of any other country.
The examinations are conducted and certificates are granted in accordance with the bye-laws
framed by the Boards and published in the Gazette of India. The secretarial services are rendered
by DGMS and one of the Directors in DGMS works as Secretary to the Boards.
Currently, about 5000 candidates appear every year in Managers Certificate of Competency
examinations involving both written and oral tests and about 15000 in examinations for other
certificates. With the projected growth of mining activities during the 9th plan and thereafter,
demand for the number of statutorily qualified persons both in managerial and supervisory cadres
is also likely to increase more or less in similar proportion.

Early History :
Rules for Managers Certificate of Competency in coal mines were first notified in the year 1906.
Initially there were three schemes for award of such certificates :
(1) Service Certificates.

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(2) Certificates to holders of British Certificates.


(3) Regular Certificates.
The subjects in which the candidates were examined at that time were :

Arithmetic and hand writing.

Practical and theoretical coal mining.

Practical mechanics.

The Indian Mines Act, 1901.

The examiners used to be an Inspector of Mines, who worked as Secretary, and two mining
engineers or colliery managers. The candidates holding degree in mining or a diploma were
entitled to some relaxation in total number of years of practical experience to be eligible to appear
in written examinations which were followed by oral examinations.
Under the Mines Act, 1901, there was a Board of Mining Examinations, which consisted of the
Chief Inspector of Mines (now designated as Director-General of Mines Safety) as ex-officio
President, a mining engineer and a manager or owner of a mine.
In due course, the Mines Act, 1923 was enacted and the regulations relating to conduct of
examinations were also revised. Under those regulations, the subjects in which the candidates were
examined were :
(1) Geology and Mining.
(2) Ventilation, Explosions, Fires and Inundation.
(3) Machinery.
(4) Surveying, Leveling and Mensuration.
(5) Management and Mining Legislation.
In order to qualify, a candidate was required to obtain a minimum of 40% marks in each paper
separately in written and oral examination and minimum of 60% in aggregate in written and oral
examinations taken together.
As the years went by, the Mines Act, 1952 was enacted and the Central Government, deriving
powers under Section 57 of the Act, framed two codes of Regulations, viz. the Coal Mines
Regulations, 1957 and the Metalliferous Mines Regulations, 1961. These regulations, amongst
other things, provide for conduct of examinations, issue, and renewal and suspension of certificate
of competency and of fitness etc. Under these Regulations, the Central Government constitutes two
Boards of Mining Examinations, one for coal mines and other for Metalliferous Mines. Both the
Boards had Chief Inspector of Mines (later designated as Director-General of Mines Safety) as
Ex-officio Chairman and five mining engineers from the mining industry, educational institutions
and research organsiations as members and an Inspector nominated by the Chief Inspector as
Secretary to the Boards.

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In the year 1963, new bye-laws for conduct of Managers Examinations were framed and enforced.
Major changes were as follows:

(a) Candidates were required to appear in five papers,


namely;
(i) Winning and Working.
(ii) Mine Management, Legislation and General Safety.
(iii)Mine Ventilation, Fires, Explosions and Inundation.
(iv)

Surveying.

(v) Mining Machinery.

(b) In order to qualify for grant of certificate a candidate had


to secure :
(i) 40% marks in each subject - written and oral separately;
(ii) 50% marks in written and oral examinations taken together in each subject, and
(iii) 60% marks in aggregate in written and oral taken together, in all subjects.

(c) There was provision for re-examination (i) In written - if failed in one subject.
(ii) In oral - if failed in one or two subjects.
As mentioned earlier, the system of grant of statutory certificates for metalliferous mines was
started after coming into force of the Metalliferous Mines Regulations in the year 1961 and the
first Board of Mining Examination (Metal) was constituted by Government Notification
No.S.O.1846 dated 28.7.61.
Managers certificate of competency Examination under the Metalliferous Mines Regulations,
1961 was initially started with the grant of Exchange Certificates under Regulation 22 of the
Metalliferous Mines Regulations, 1961 as per the bye-laws for grant of Exchange Certificates
framed and published in the Gazette Notification No.Board/MM/9683/63 dated 28.3.63.
Grant of Service Certificates to persons having considerable length of managerial service in
metalliferous mines was also started in the year 1963 under Regulation 23 as per the bye-laws
framed and published in Gazette of India, vide Govt. Notification No.Board/MM/8659/63 dated
21.3.63. The scheme for grant of these service certificates continued till March, 1969.
Regular examinations for grant of First Class and Second Class Managers Certificates under the
Metalliferous Mines Regulations, 1961 began after the bye-laws for Unrestricted type were
framed and published vide Notification NO.GSR 1360 dated 26.8.66 and that for the Restricted

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type vide Notification No.Board/MM/3496/67 dated 5.4.67. The system of examinations was
broadly the same as that under the Coal Mines Regulations, 1957 except that for Restricted type,
candidates were required to appear in four subjects only viz. (i) Winning and Working (ii) Mine
Management, Legislation and General Safety (iii) Surveying and (iv) Mining Machinery instead of
5 papers for Unrestricted type.

Major Changes since 1970 :


Following agitations by the graduate mining engineers and Diploma holders against the system of
examinations as it prevailed then and deliberations by the Joint Board of Mining Engineering
Education and Training (in the Dept. of Coal) as well as by the Boards of Mining Examinations,
the bye-laws of 1963 under the Coal Mines Regulations, 1957 and of 1966 under the Metalliferous
Mines Regulations, 1961, were amended in the year 1970 providing for grant of Second Class
Managers Certificate to the holders of Degree in mining on passing the examinations in two
subjects - Winning and Working and Legislation only, instead of 5 papers for Unrestricted type
and 4 papers for Restricted type of (Notifications No.Board/Coal/7181/70 dated 23.4.70 and
Board/Met/4030 and 4031/70 dated 23.4.70).

Amendments to the Bye-laws in 1974:


Following the changes in the examination system brought about in 1972, there were more
representations and agitations from various sections of examinees. The matter was reviewed by
JBMEET and BMEs and accordingly, an amended set of bye-laws for the conduct of Managers
Certificate of Competency Examination was brought into force vide Government Notification
No.Board/Coal/11317/74 dated 14.9.74 for Coal Mines and No.Board/Metal 5810 and 5811/74
dated 14.9.74 for Metalliferous Mines, in respect of the Degree and Diploma holders in mining.
The main features of the amended Bye-laws are given below:

A.

First Class Managers Certificate of Competency

(1) (a) A Degree holder with atleast two years service after obtaining Second Class Managers
Certificate needs to appear and pass in one paper examination in Mine Management, Legislation
and General Safety.
(b) A Degree holder in Mining with a pass certificate in the qualifying test (conducted by the
educational institution) and having atleast two years service after obtaining a Second Class
Managers Certificate is eligible for grant of First Class Managers Certificate without any further
examinations. (The qualifying test has since been discontinued).
(2) (a) A Diploma holder with atleast two years service after obtaining Second Class Managers
Certificate by passing one paper examination conducted by BME or having obtained Second Class
Exemption Certificate after passing qualifying test conducted by educational institutions, would
need to pass the examination in three subjects viz. (i) Winning and Working (ii) Mine
Management, Legislation and General Safety (iii) Ventilation, Fire and Inundation - for grant of

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First Class Managers Certificate.


(b) A Diploma holder who has passed the Second Class Managers Examination in five papers and
has gained two years service experience after obtaining Second Class Managers Certificate.
Would need to appear only in two papers viz. (1) Winning and Working and (ii) Mine
Management, Legislation and General Safety.

B.

Second Class Managers Certificate of Competency

(1) A Degree holder with atleast one years experience as


Post Graduate Practical Trainee (PGPT) or equivalent training/experience in statutory capacity will
be eligible for grant of Second Class Managers Certificate without any further examination.
(2) (a) A Diploma holder with a pass certificate in the qualifying test (conducted by the
institution) and atleast one years experience as Post Diploma Practical Trainee and two years
service in any statutory capacity will be awarded a Second Class Managers Certificate without
further examination.
(b) A Diploma holder with two years service in a statutory capacity will require to pass one paper
examination in Mine Management, Legislation and General Safety for grant of Second Class
Managers Certificate.
Qualifying Marks:

Every subject carries a total of 140 marks - 100 marks in the written paper and 40 marks in
the oral test.

In order to qualify for the oral test, a candidate must obtain in the written examination not
less than 40% of the maximum marks.

In order to pass the examination, a candidate must obtain not less than 40% marks in each of
the subjects - written and oral tests separately and not less than 50% marks in aggregate in written
and oral tests taken together, in each subject.

Re-Examination in one or more subjects:


If a candidate appearing in two or more subjects secures not less than 50% marks in any subject
after taking written and oral tests together but fails in other subjects, he will be exempted from
appearing in the subject or subjects in which he has passed in the subsequent three examinations.
Explanation: Qualifying Test for both Degree and Diploma holders means an examination
conducted by the institution/university which awarded Degree or Diploma as the case may be by
appointing two external examiners by the Board of Mining Examinations in the following two
subjects - each having one paper :
(a) Winning and Working, including assessment of candidates ability to test for gas; and

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SYSTEM OF EXAMINATIONS UNDER THE MINES ACT 1952

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(b) Mine Management, Legislation and General Safety.


Each paper having two parts - written and oral, wherein a candidate has to secure atleast 50% of
the marks in the aggregate and atleast 40% marks in each part to pass the tests.

Relaxation to field students :


By Government Notification No.S.O.712(E) dated 13/12/74 certain relaxations for First Class
Managers Certificate were also granted to the candidates who did not hold Degree or Diploma.
The main provisions are as below :
A person with a Second Class Managers Certificate and atleast three years service in statutory
capacity after obtaining a Second Class Managers Certificate need to appear and pass in three
subjects viz. (i) Mine Management, Legislation and General Safety (ii) Winning and Working and
(iii) Ventilation, Fire and Inundation for the grant of First Class Managers Certificate.
(i) (a) For appointment as Manager of a First Class Mine, experience shall be gained in a
subordinate capacity requiring possession of a Second Class Managers Certificate.
(b) For appointment as Manager of a Second Class Mine, the experience shall be gained in a
subordinate capacity requiring possession of an Overmans Certificate.
(c) For appointment as Manager of a Permit Mine, the experience shall be gained in a capacity
requiring possession of a Sirdars Certificate.
(ii) In order to be eligible for appointment in a mine in any statutory capacity, a person has to
possess Gas-Testing Certificate granted either by the institution awarding the Degree or Diploma
or by the Board of Mining Examinations or where he has passed the qualifying test.

Further amendment of Bye-laws of 1974:


At the joint meeting of the Board of Mining Examinations (Coal and Metal) held on 18.6.1984, the
Board observed that whereas on the one hand the standard of examination had gone down,
technological changes and mechanisation in the mining industry on the other hand required high
standard of mining personnel. The Board in order to improve the standard of competency
examination within the present frame-work decided, inter-alia, to abolish the system of qualifying
test conducted at the institutions as there was non-uniformity in the standard of examination
conducted by different institutions, impracticability of conducting a common qualifying test and
also lack of practical experience of the candidates making it difficult for them to qualify in these
tests.
The restriction of the exemption granted to a candidate (for Managers Certificate of Competency
examination by Examination Bye-laws of 1974) from appearing in a subject or subjects in the
subsequent three examinations provided he had obtained not less than 50% of marks in any
subject(s) taking written and oral tests together but failed in other subject(s) in an examination was
waived by Notification No.Board/Coal/3961/90 dated 14.7.90 and No. Board/Metal/ 7280/90 dated
24.11.90.

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