Before the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) came into power in 2014, the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) created the EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) Notification legislation back in 2006 for monitoring the overall environmental impact due to overall industrial development in India. As well all know, green clearances are being done in several areas over the past five to four years. Now, the environmental governance researchers are raising a serious concern on the recent green clearance scenario and different dilute environmental norms supported by today’s business-friendly government!
The scenario over the past four years:
The Union government has accepted over 1,098 projects in order to make some major development in India. Indeed, it’s a great move to make great development over 124,788 hectares area. But, this action has led to massive environment clearance (EC) as well! More than 6,060 projects in different development sectors have been completed while increasing EC massively. According to the reports, greenery was fully gone from 80% of the areas in Delhi.
Moreover, the Union Ministry of Environment has also focused on two primary laws EC (Environment Clearance) and forest diversion. The government has focused on Forest and Climate Change while increasing awareness among the people of India through certain guidelines and amendments to follow in order to keep the environment clean from pollutants. Green clearances are now treated as a mere and undeniable formality.
Rights diluted by the Union Ministry of Environment:
The Union Ministry of Environment has also diluted the entire environmental impact assessment process which was introduced by the previous government while diluting several rights-based legislations as well! Additionally, NDA has been focusing on reforming the previously created environmental clearance (EC) process and forest diversion process in order to ignore overhaul. The first change NDA brought was to make the coal mining projects open in order to keep the development process smooth. The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) now reviews Forest Clearance cases and determines whether to approve it for several different development projects.
Government’s reconciliatory approach to stop the violators:
The government has adopted a strict reconciliatory approach in order to stop the violators. A six-month window has been fixed for all projects that need obtaining an EC for proceeding further. This has improved the compliance greatly. In March 2018, the government has agreed to allow SEAC/SEIAA for taking action against the violators. Overall, the past four years of Government’s action clearly indicate that nothing much has actually improved in the green clearance and the government needs to work harder to change the current scenario!