[Yearbook] Environment Ministry’s fast-track approach, Green E-Clearance & Green Laws Panel

[Yearbook] Environment Ministry’s fast-track approach, Green E-Clearance & Green Laws Panel

  1. Fast track initiatives: Environment ministry
    1. CAMPA Order, 2014
    2. Pollution control
    3. Border roads
    4. Naxal areas
    5. Green E-Clearance
  2. Green Law panel
  3. Fast track environment = dangerous

Fast track initiatives: Environment ministry

Here is a brief summary of the fast track reforms taken by Modi government’s environment ministry, to address the issues of policy paralysis and environmental clearances.
CAMPA Order, 2014

  • Will setup CAMPA bodies at union and state level.
  • State level bodies will use the CAMPA funds for compensatory afforestation, wildlife protection, village rehabilitation, training-awareness etc.
  • National CAMPA body will keep 5% fund aside for monitering schemes etc.
Faster file clearance
Webportal Industries can submit applications online, for Environment and Forest Clearances. 

  • Minimum human interface
  • Projects will be cleared in timebound and transparent manner.
Regional bodies
  • MoEF has delegated powers to the Regional Empowered Committees (REC).
  • They’ll clear all the environment clearance files for projects upto 40 ht.
  • As a result, 90% of the file clearance will be finished at regional level.
EIA For Environment impact assessment, the State level bodies are given more territorial jurisdiction.

Pollution control

  • Ganga Basin covers five states: Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
  • In these five states, MoEF has ordered the highly polluting Industries to install system to moniter emission and effluents online.
  • Overall, India has >3,000 highly polluting industries. Most of them don’t have such online system. MoEF has asked State Pollution Control Boards to implement this by 2015.
  • Cement: India is second largest producer of cement. MoEF has tightened the emission norms for Particulate Matter, Sulphur Dioxide, Oxides of Nitrogen, Wastewater and Storm water.

Border roads

  • Under Forest conservation act 1980, MoEF has granted general approval for diverting forest land to widen border roads- for  areas within 100 kms of LAC.
  • Border road orgazniation will build all these roads.

Naxal areas

Under Forest conversation act 1980, MoEF passed following order:

  • General approval is given to all road projects- except those in protect forest areas.
  • Upto 5 hectares of forest land can be diverted for construction of schools, police station, health centre, telephone lines, water supply etc. total 15 type of projects.
  • This will rapidly improve infrastructure and provide economic opportunities for local public. Thus less new recruits for Maoists.

Ref: Summary of this PIB page: pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=109249

Fast track environment clearance is dangerous

As expected, when Environment ministry began fast track approach to Environment clearance, theHindu columnists didn’t like it. NOT ONE BIT. Their arguments are:

  1. Modi Government has reconstituted National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) without NGO members- as required under Wildlife protection act.
  2. Government has eased the environment clearance conditions on coal projects. although this will increase coal production and electricity generation -but at expense of environment.
  3. Forest (Conservation Act), 1980 expressly prohibits conversion of forest land to non-forest use without the Centre’s nod. But MoEF has given general approval to all road-projects in border and naxal areas.
  4. National forest policy wants 33% forest cover, but presently we have ~21% of area under forest. If MOEF continues with such blanket ‘general approvals’, then forest area will decrease.
  5. MoEF’s Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) has cleared field-trials for certain GM-crops. But the minutes of the meeting not published.
  6. Government reduced the public hearing requirements for Environment Impact Assessment (EIA).
  7. Government has setup green laws review panel under TSR Subramnian. Once they give report, Government will further dilute the provisions of various environmental laws- in guise of promoting Development and economy.
  8. Government also promised to release a new policy to “speed up eco-clearance’. This too will hurt the environment.

Green Law panel

Chairman: TSR Subramanian, (former Cabinet Secretary) and 3 members whose names and designations are not important for exams.

To review 5 acts (chronology wise)
Act Year
Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972
Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974
Forest ( Conservation) Act 1980
Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981
Environment (Protection) Act 1986
  • Will also suggest, how to amend existing laws to incorporate various court orders.
  • Review amendments to the Wildlife (Protection) Act, to ensure its compliance with Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora ( CITES). The amendments are pending in Rajya Sabha
  • Deadline to submit report: 2 months. (Committee was setup in Aug’2014)

Green E-Clearance

Q. Write a note on the importance of Green E-Clearance project. (100 words)

  • In recent times, more than 100 infrastructure projects worth Rs.4 lakh crores were stalled due to lack of Environmental clearances.
  • National Highways Authority of India had even moved the Supreme Court against the environment ministry for delaying clearances.
  • In the backdrop of logjam, the Project Monitoring Group (PMG) decided setup an online portal- Green e-clearance for infrastructure projects.
  • It will become operational from July 1, 2014.
  • A company can upload all required documents on the website for approval from respective department.
  • Company can also check the status of their application.
  • Clearances will be awarded within the stipulated time period.
  • This will make process of green clearances faster, more predictable; will improve infrastructure and will boost the confidence of entrepreneurs and investors.

~130 words.

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