[Yearbook] Environment Ministry’s fast-track approach, Green E-Clearance & Green Laws PanelDevendra Vishwakarma
- Fast track initiatives: Environment ministry
- CAMPA Order, 2014
- Pollution control
- Border roads
- Naxal areas
- Green E-Clearance
- Green Law panel
- 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.
|Webportal||Industries can submit applications online, for Environment and Forest Clearances.
|EIA||For Environment impact assessment, the State level bodies are given more territorial jurisdiction.|
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- Modi Government has reconstituted National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) without NGO members- as required under Wildlife protection act.
- Government has eased the environment clearance conditions on coal projects. although this will increase coal production and electricity generation -but at expense of environment.
- 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.
- 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.
- MoEF’s Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) has cleared field-trials for certain GM-crops. But the minutes of the meeting not published.
- Government reduced the public hearing requirements for Environment Impact Assessment (EIA).
- 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.
- 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.
|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)
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.