Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) draft
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – Govt schemes and policies; Environment and Ecosystem
- The draft of the proposed Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2020 which seeks to amend existing EIA 2006 is open to public comments.
- The existing EIA, 2006 prescribes the procedure for industries to assess the ecological and environmental impact of their proposed activity and the mechanism whereby these would be assessed by expert committees appointed by the Ministry.
Key Prelims pointers:
Environment Impact Assessment (EIA)
- It is a process of evaluating the likely environmental impacts of a proposed project
- It is statutorily backed by the Environment Protection Act, 1986.
- Environment Impact Assessment Notification of 2006 has decentralized the environmental clearance projects by categorizing the developmental projects in two categories – Category A (national level appraisal) and Category B (state level appraisal).
- Category A projects – They require mandatory environmental clearance and thus they do not undergo the screening process.
- Category B Projects– They undergo screening process and they are classified into two types:
- Category B1 projects (Mandatorily require EIA).
- Category B2 projects (Do not require EIA).
Draft EIA Notification 2020: Criticisms
- It has inverted the logic of ‘precautionary principle’ which forms the bedrock of India’s environmental outlook.
- The new draft allows for post-facto approval for projects. It means that the clearances for projects can be awarded even if they have started construction or have been running phase without securing environmental clearances.
- The new notification comes in the wake of recent attempts to dilute environmental safeguards and follows from a tradition to widen the escape route for violators or environmental regulations.
- Polluting industries like soda-ash, acids, petroleum and petrochemical products, dyes, biomedical waste, treatment plants, synthetics, paints, chemical fertilizers, pesticides and construction industries – all of which pose threats to human health – will be exempted from the public clearance process.
- The draft notification provides for a reduction of the time period from 30 days to 20 days for the public to submit their responses during a public hearing for any application seeking environmental clearance.
India endorses the ‘polluter-pays-principle’, it cannot afford to endorse the “pollute-and-pay” sham.