Now, outsourced eco-impact checks

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Context:

  • The Union Environment Ministry proposes to allow research organisations and accredited agencies to monitor if companies are complying with environmental conditions.

Third-party verification:

  • The MoEFCC proposes to allow research organisations and accredited agencies to monitor if companies are complying with environmental conditions.
  • It proposes to introduce the concept of randomized third-party compliance monitoring of the environment clearance conditions.
  • This will be carried out through national-level reputed and competent government institutions to be empanelled by the MoEFCC.

India and Environment Impact Assessment:

  • India’s environmental laws require project developers to submit themselves to the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA).
  • Under this an independent agency, commissioned by the project developer, ascertains the likely environmental impact of a proposed project.
  • The preparation of an EIA report and an environment management plan ensures that the adverse environmental impact of projects and activities are assessed and studied.
  • Accordingly mitigation measures are taken in the implementation of the project to avoid or minimize the adverse environmental impact.

Current Situation:

  • Currently, depending on the size of projects, they are cleared or rejected with accompanying caveats that must be adhered to by the expert appraisal committees.
  • The process obligates the project proponent to file a six-monthly compliance report, and regional offices of the Ministry are supposed to check whether industries are complying with these norms.
  • But these offices are frequently understaffed.
  • Therefore, to ensure that the rules are complied with, it is proposed to have institutions like the IITs and accredited expert organisations conduct the compliance monitoring.

Way Forward:

  • Independent observers describe the proposal as a “big shift” in how projects are appraised.
  • The core issue of the affected people being kept out of the monitoring and compliance paperwork is embedded in this proposal.

Source:TH