Skip to main content

Government of India all set to further relax environmental clearance norms, give more power to states

By Our Representative
The Government of India is on way to take more steps towards “easing” hurdles on way to environmental clearance for developmental projects. Minister of state for environment, forests and climate change Prakash Javadekar has already said he is working for “streamlining” environmental clearance (EC) process by delegating more powers to the State level Environment Impact Assessment Authorities (SEIAAs). Meanwhile, officials under him are seeking to categorise anew the type of projects to be cleared in states, adding several sectors whose authority for environmental clearance is with the Government of India.
Reports say, Jevdekar’s recent announcement for online application of projects for “expediting the process of environmental clearance” is only the first step, and he said this during a written reply in the Rajya Sabha on July 31. Officials have now prepared a detailed outline amending the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006, which outline a new process for granting ECs for various development projects.
The 2006 notification had categorized all projects into A and B. Category A projects were to be appraised by the Union ministry of forests and environment, while category B projects were cleared by SEIAAs. The proposed amendments want such sectors like thermal power, river valley, mining and other industrial sectors such as paper and pulp, distilleries and fertilizers to be included in the state’s purview.  
“Under the category of thermal power plant, now a new sub-category based on fuel type, has been included. The addition involves ‘use of municipal solid non-hazardous waste as fuel’, for which projects with more than 20 megawatt (MW) capacity will be cleared by the Centre, and projects between 15-20 MW will be cleared by SEIAAs. All projects with more than 15 MW capacity using biomass fuel also have been put under the state’s command”, Down To Earth, India’s environmental journal, reports
“The requirement for coal tar processing units has also been specified under the new amendment, where all such units will be appraised and cleared by the state authority. For mineral beneficiation, the state authorities will now be clearing projects of less than 0.5 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) capacity, while the Central ministry will be clearing projects of greater capacity. As per the 2006 Notification, state authorities were entitled to clear projects below 0.1 MTPA capacity only”, the report says. 
Then, there is “considerable dilution” for projects lying in the vicinity of protected areas, notified eco-sensitive areas, critically polluted areas and interstate boundaries of river valley projects. The report says, “Under the EIA 2006 notification, for projects that are otherwise category B, are to be considered as category A if located in whole or partially within 10 km of the boundary of such areas. The latest amendment has now the reduced the distance, making only projects located within 5 km of such areas to be considered as category A.”

It may be noted that the Gujarat government has been for long of view that environmental clearance issues have created unprecedented hurdle on way to industrial development in the state. The coastal regulatory zone (CRZ), for instance, alone had put to question the future of Rs 40,000 crore worth of projects about two years ago. In fact, Narendra Modi, before he became Prime Minister, had sharply criticized the previous UPA government for refusing to clear environmental projects online – he said it was a means for corruption.

Comments

TRENDING

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Contempt of court? UP CM taking 'personal vendetta' against Dr Kafeel Khan: Activists

Counterview Desk
Demanding that the Uttar Pradesh government immediately release well-known paediatrician Dr Kafeel Khan, a group of more than 100 academicians, activists, researchers, doctors and lawyers have said in an open letter that he is being “targeted at the behest of the chief minister”, wondering, “When is an act of challenging the government a threat under the National Security Act (NSA)?”

A locked up offer? Govt of India 'not serious' in involving NGOs: IIM-A survey

By Rajiv Shah
Was the Government of India serious when it asked 92,000 civil society organizations (CSOs) in early April to “assist” state governments and district administrations in taking care of food, shelter and other needs of migrant workers, known to have been affected by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’ sudden 21-day lockdown in order to “combat” the spread of Covid-19 virus, announced on March 24?

Will Govt of India, ICMR end 'perverse' practice of extracting profits from ill-health?

By Asmita Verma, Surabhi Agarwal, Bobby Ramakant*
The Epidemics Act, 1897 gives the central and state governments authority to impose any regulations which may be necessary to contain the outbreak of a disease. Some state governments such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhatisgarh have already used this power to bring private healthcare facilities in their state under government control.

Dalits in India, Blacks in US suffer 'similar' humiliation: Macwan drafts letter to Trump

Counterview Desk
Well-known human rights activist Martin Macwan, recipient of the prestigious Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award in 2000, has drafted an open letter to US President Donald Trump following the disturbing turn of events with the murder of George Floyd, leading to widespread protests in the US. He has sought signatures of concerned citizens before sending it to Trump.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

'Violation' of migrant workers' human rights: Legal notice to IIM-A director, govt babus

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to the police action against protesting migrant workers off the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) on May 18, senior Gujarat High Court advocate Anandvardhan Yagnik, in a legal notice to the IIM-A director "on their behalf" has said that the workers had only been seeking to to go back to their home states, Jharkhand and West Bengal, for the last more than 20 days because they were not paid their “earned wages because of the lockdown.”

Sitharaman's offer for rural jobs to 'create' just 3 crore rural jobs. Demand: 12 crore jobs

By Amarjeet Kaur*
The final package, the fifth one in a row, announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on May 17 was a fiasco. Sitharaman during her press conference for two hours and six minutes spent more than an hour detailing the policy actions of her government’s last six years’ rule, repeating the already provided proposals during the two budgets after coming to power for the second time, even as reiterating her briefings on the four earlier packages she had announced over the previous four days.