Ministry of Environment,
Forest & Climate Change
Government of India
www.moef.nic.in

January 2015


Preface

Our motto is to strike a balance between development and environment protection. This is not only desirable but perfectly possible. The collective partnership of all stakeholders is necessary to mainstream the essence of sustainable development and ensure the protection of environment. The Ministry’s vision and new initiatives would amply address the concerns of all stakeholders. India’s rich heritage and positive outlook towards environment gave a new vocabulary to the understanding of environmental issues. The Ministry’s endeavour would be to encourage public participation to ensure the promotion of more nature-friendly practices.

The term “Climate Change” has been added to Ministry by the new Government. The decision of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for changing the nomenclature of the Ministry to “Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change” is highly thoughtful and visionary. It takes into account the contemporary trends related to issues pertaining to climate change. The addition signifies India’s commitment to the challenges of 'Climate Change'. India is committed to cogently present its case at international forums. Preparations are already underway for the Conference of the Parties (CoP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is expected to take place in Paris in November-December 2015. In the days ahead, India would play a proactive role in the international arena on issues of environment and Climate Change.

The Ministry, which was riddled in policy paralyses and was perceived as creating roadblocks and bottlenecks, has now been transformed due to the team effort under the guidance of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. We have brought in transparency in processes, changed many rules for protection of environment and we have started taking decisions that are based on policies. We discuss the issues to arrive at a conclusion which then translates into policy-based decision.

The projects that fall within the policy framework are given automatic approvals. So, all the projects under Public Sector Undertakings and almost all projects of various ministries have been approved; State governments’ projects pending since a long time have been approved irrespective of which party is ruling the State. Thus, more than 750 Public and Private Projects worth Rupees several thousand crores have been approved. These have the potential to generate employment for over one million people. All these approvals have been accorded with stringent conditions of Environment protection and sustainable development.

We had appointed a High Level Committee to scrutinise existing laws as almost all decisions were being challenged in the courts. The courts intervened in every other case due to infirmity in laws, non-clarity in rules and non-transparency in processes. We have received the report of the Committee and now we are working on evolving clear laws, firm rules and transparent processes to ensure a policy-based predictable regime that avoids delay.

While more initiatives are in the pipeline to meet the sustainable development goals, this smart e-book captures some of the important initiatives taken by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in the last eight months beginning June, 2014.



Prakash Javadekar
Minister of State (Independent Charge) Environment, Forest and Climate Change Government of India




Foreword

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is mandated to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forest and wildlife of the country under Article 48-A of the Constitution. Article 51-A (g) of the constitution has also enshrined protection of natural environment as a fundamental duty of every citizen. The clause says that “It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forest, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creature.” The principle of sustainable development has been linked to ‘right to life’ under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The country’s pursuit of economic prosperity, poverty alleviation, livelihood security, job creation, building of infrastructure and development action plan poses environmental challenges. As India grows economically there is a growing need to maintain environmental balance and ensure quality of life.

The Ministry’s effort is to promote conservation of critical environment resource, inter and intra-generational equity, integration of environmental concerns in economic and social development and efficiency of environmental resource use. Through a process of transparent environmental governance, public participation, and strict enforcement of law we aim to achieve harmony between growth and greenery.


Ashok Lavasa
Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change,
Government of India




  

Vision  

♦ Our vision is to have Sustainable Development

♦ Our vision is to have Growth and Environment Protection

♦ Our vision is Development without Destruction

♦ Our vision is Poverty Eradication and Green Growth










  

Mission  

♦ Clean water

♦ Clean Air

♦ Clean Energy

♦ Clean Environment

♦ More Green






  

Online Submission of Applications  

♦ In an innovative step to ensure transparency, the Ministry has started the process of online submission of applications for Environment, CRZ and Forest approvals. Now, the applicants need not come to the Ministry for approvals but track them online. They can even access previous Environment Impact Assessment Reports.

♦ Since Introduction of this practice in July 2014, more than 825 applications for Terms of Reference, 556 applications for Environment Approval and 969 applications for Forest Approval are already under process online.



  

Defence & Other Projects of Strategic Importance  

6000 kms of Border roads granted immediate go ahead. They were pending for years altogether.

♦ Defense infrastructure within 100 kms of Line of Actual Control (LAC) has been put on automatic approval route.

♦ Border road approval extended to Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Border Security Force & Sashastra Seema Bal.

♦ General approval granted to Road connectivity in 117 Left Wing Extremism affected districts.

♦ Permission granted to all pending Defence projects of strategic importance like Project Seabird at Karwar.



  

Empowering States, Strengthening Federalism  

♦ The power to decide all cases of reforestation below 40 hectares has been delegated to States.


♦ This means that 90% of the files will not travel to Delhi but will be decided by Regional Empowered Committees (RECs) where States have been made partners.


♦ There is an active involvement of three non-Government experts in each REC. It is now a Multi-Stakeholder Committee capable of taking appropriate decisions.

♦ General Condition for Category 'B' projects to become Category 'A' reduced from 10km Protected Area etc. to 5 km paving way for more projects to be appraised at the State Level. Now there is no need for the project proponents to come to Ministry for approval.

♦ Mineral beneficiation limit of State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) has also been raised.



  

Linear Projects Fast Tracked to Boost Infrastructure  

♦ Permission for all linear projects of public utility like pipelines, transmission lines, irrigation and drinking water canals, roads, railway lines, etc has been streamlined and fast-tracked.

♦ Power to grant Forest approval is delegated to Regional Empowered Committees (RECs) with the States participation.

♦ Automatic approval that was available to 220 KV transmission lines has now been extended to all transmission lines.



  

Facilitating Faster Industrial & Education Growth  

♦ To ensure industrial and education growth, the required approvals for construction of industrial sheds (which houses plant and machinery), educational institutions and hostels have been fast-tracked.



♦ This is subject to the Project Proponents implementing strict and best environmental practices such as recycling of water, use of recycled material in construction and water harvesting.





  

Simplified Procedure for Expeditious Project Implementation  

♦ Irrigation projects with Cultural Command Areas (CCA) of less than 2000 ha and Biomass based Thermal Power Projects up to 15 MW are put on Automatic Approval Route.

♦ Starting industries in Industrial estates made easy.

♦ In Linear infrastructure projects, Stage-1 approval will mean granting working permission as well.





  

Protecting & Promoting Cleaner Environment  

♦ Emission Norms for Cement Industry have been enhanced and made more stringent to ensure lesser pollution and cleaner air.

♦ Coal Cess has been doubled from Rs 50 to Rs 100 per tonne. This means an annual accrual of about US $3 billion for development of clean technology.

♦ Real time online monitoring of 3206 industrial units in 17 critically polluting sectors is mandated. These industries have been directed to install by, 31st March, 2015, devices to monitor 24x7 effluent discharge quality and air emission quality. This mandate will be extended to other industries in phased manner.

National Air Quality Index launched with One Number, One Color and One Desciption give the status of air pollution in a particular city. The formulation of the index was a continuation of the initiative under Swachch Bharat Abhiyan envisioned by the Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi. This will enable putting information on air quality in public domain in simple linguistic terms that is easily understood by a common person.



  

Process of Devolution of CAMPA Funds  

♦ The government has decided for devolution of CAMPA funds for accelerated afforestation to the States to the tune of Rs. 33,000 crores.

♦ It will be implemented after the Hon’ble Supreme Court's order.

♦ If required the Law will be amended.

♦ It will be utilised for more aggressive afforestation, catchment area treatment, assisted natural generation, forest management, protection, wildlife protection and management, managing human–wildlife conflicts, supply of wood saving devices and other related activities.



  

Control of Pollution in River Ganga  

♦ Realtime monitoring of Ganga Water Quality initiated at 8 centers on main course.

♦ Highly polluting 746 Industrial units have been directed to install online continuous emission, effluent treatment plants and online monitoring equipment.


♦ A joint action has been initiated with Water Resources Ministry to run sewage treatment plants and with Urban Development Ministry for organised solid waste management. The same formula will be extended to all the other rivers.



  

Protection of Wildlife  

70 per cent of the world’s Tiger population is in India. Within four years, the Tiger population has increased by 30 per cent from 1706 to 2226.

Bor Tiger Reserve notified in Maharashtra.

Rhino Protection Force (with 100% Central assistance) announced and Rhino Task Force established for Kaziranga National Park.

♦ To send a strong message against poaching, a large number of articles involved in wildlife offences were burnt in public view.

♦ Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) met twice and approved projects with conditions for environment protection. No pendency now.






  

GIS Based Decision Support System  

♦ For scientific evaluation and better compliance, Geographical Information System-based decision support system has been launched.

♦ Information on Eco Sensitive Zones would be made available through newly launched web-based system in its second phase.

Designed with features like search layer tool, draw and measure tool, identify tool and print tool, the GIS based Decision support system would help the government classify forests of the country into various ecological classes and categories. Hydrological layer, net present value of forest, time series of forest cover map, important wildlife habitats outside protected area network, recorded forest area boundaries would be incorporated and monitored through this system.



  

Eco-Sensitive Zone  

♦ To remove the bottle necks on consideration of development projects, while ensuring conservation of biodiversity and wildlife protection, process has been initiated for notifying Eco–Sensitive zones around National parks and Sanctuaries spread across the country.

♦ So far about 100 Eco-Sensitive zones, as proposed by States have been approved.

♦ This would avoid confusion and propel development and effective conservation of Eco Sensitive zones.

♦ All 600 protected areas will be notified in 2015.



  

CoP 20 Conference in LIMA, PERU  

♦ India had a very successful LIMA Conference in December 2014.

♦ India was proactive, positive and remained united.

♦ The united stand of SAARC, least developed countries, like minded Developing countries and BASIC countries was historic.


♦ India hopes to have a very balanced Climate change agreement in Paris in 2015.










  

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and National Biodiversity Authority (NBA)  

♦ As president of the CoP11 to CBD, India’s proactive leadership ensured that the Nagoya Protocol attains International legitimacy and User country measures come in place. More than 50 countries ratified the protocol.

♦ World accepted Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) guidelines notified on 21st November 2014. With Biodiversity Act of 2002 and Rules 2004 thereof, India already has domestic ABS mechanism in place.

♦ With Nagoya protocol now being legally binding, it would be easy to track flight of Indian Genetic Resource overseas and seek benefit sharing on mutually agreed terms, in the event of commercialisation and accessed resource.





  

Agenda 2015  

♦ Bring in further transparency in processes to make standard guidelines for all permissions

♦ More stress on compliance through 24x7 monitoring system

♦ Real-time inspection of compliance through satellite and advanced technology

Public participation in river cleaning and development

♦ Priority for greening the degraded forest

♦ Bringing in time bound disposal of applications

♦ To provide ease of doing business through standard guidelines by giving shorter timelines for decisions

♦ Putting India’s stand effectively in CoP21 in Paris

♦ Engage with countries bilaterally and multilaterally on Climate Change issues

♦ Preparing Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to ensure sustainable development

♦ Making necessary changes in Laws, Rules and Processes to ensure efficiency, transparency and to avoid delays







THE END



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