#ENVIRONMENT – Impact Assessment guidelines – Bane or Boon

Centre seems to be in a hurry to find devious means to bribe cash starved states to push environmental clearances for projects!



Centre to Rank States On Faster Green Nods

✅The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has proposed to “”incentivize states”” by ranking them based on “”efficiency and timeliness in granting environmental clearances”.

✅The State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) will be ranked first because it clears projects in the quickest amount of time, has a high clearance rate, and requires fewer “”important details.””

✅In order to streamline clearance processes, the time frame for providing environmental clearance to a project has already been cut from 105 days to 75 days.

Key Points Of the Order:

✅SEIAA will be ranked first because it clears projects in the quickest amount of time, has a high clearance rate, and requires fewer “”important details.””

✅States will be rewarded based on their efficiency and timeliness in granting EC funds through a star-rating system (environmental clearance).

Parameters for the rating system:

✅Marks Days taken for
clearance by the
SEIAA

2 < 80 days

1 < 105 days

0.5 105 – 120 days

0 > 120 days

✅Rating on the basis of disposal of fresh TOR: The state authorities will also be rated on the percentage of disposal of fresh Terms of Reference (TOR) or TOR amendment proposals pending for over 30 days.

✅State officials will be paid as well for requesting fewer environmental details.(Details on the environment are required)

✅The ranking system also considers how complaints are handled.

✅If an SEIAA receives more than 7 points based on these criteria, it will be given a 5-star rating (the highest ranking). Any SEIAA with a total score of less than 3 shall receive no star.

Reaction on the move:

✅This has been criticised by environmentalists.

✅They claim that state officials, whose job is to promote environmental protection, would now “compete” to clear projects quickly in order to boost state rankings.

What is SEIAA?

✅The SEIAAs are in charge of obtaining environmental approval for the vast majority of infrastructural, development, and industrial projects.

✅Established under The Environment Protection Act of 1986.

✅Objective: To examine the planned project’s impact on the environment and people, and to try to minimise that damage.

Importance of EIA:

✅Provides a low-cost strategy for reducing or eliminating the negative effects of development projects.

✅Allows decision-makers to assess the impact of developmental activities on the environment prior to the project’s implementation.

✅Encourages the development plan to incorporate mitigating techniques.

Stakeholders in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Process:

✅Those who suggest the project are known as proposers.

✅The public has the opportunity to comment on the environmental consultant who prepares the EIA on behalf of the project proponent Pollution Control Board (State or National).

✅The MoEFCC’s Regional Centre for Impact Assessment

——————————————–

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and India:

✅History: The need first arose in 1976-77 when the Planning Commission asked the Department of Science and Technology to examine the river-valley projects from an environmental angle.

✅The first EIA notification was issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 1994. (now the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change).

✅According to the notification Environmental Clearance (EC) was required for any expansion or modernisation of any activity, as well as the establishment of new projects listed in Schedule 1 of the same.

✅Statute: The Environment Protection Act of 1986, which contains various provisions on EIA methodology and process, provides legal support for environmental impact assessments in India.

Shortcomings of EIA:

✅Time-consuming- There is little public involvement in the actual execution.

✅Sometimes get too caught up in the scientific analysis.

✅Many countries have impact assessment systems.

SOURCE – INDIAN EXPRESS

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