[Answered] What is social impact assessment (SIA)? Discuss its need and significance.

Demand of the question
Introduction. What is social impact assessment?
Body. It’s need and significance.
Conclusion. Way forward.

Social impact assessment (SIA) is a methodology to review the social effects of infrastructure projects and other development interventions. According to the International Association for Impact Assessment, Social impact assessment includes the processes of analysing, monitoring and managing the intended and unintended social consequences, of planned interventions and any social change processes invoked by those interventions. Its primary purpose is to bring about a more sustainable and equitable biophysical and human environment.

Need of Social impact assessment:

  1. It is important to understand the social impacts of a project are the direct and indirect impacts that affect people and their communities during all stages of the project lifecycle.
  2. To achieve extensive understanding of local and regional populations and settings to be affected by the proposed action, program, or policy.
  3. To focus on the key elements of the human environment related to the proposed action, program, or policy.
  4. It provide quality information for use in decision-making.
  5. It ensure that any environmental justice issues are fully described and analysed. SIA practitioners must identify the disadvantaged, at risk, and minority populations (for instance, by race, national origin, gender, disability, and religion) affected by the proposed action, program, or policy and incorporate information about these populations into the Social Impact Assessment descriptions and analyses.
  6. Use of the research design and databases established for the assessment of impacts should provide the basis for monitoring and evaluating the actual impacts of the chosen alternative (project).

Significance of SIA:

  1. The core focus of an SIA is on the important impacts of projects and developments beyond the impacts on natural resources.
  2. It ensure minimal impact on people’s ways of life due to any project or policy.
  3. The Social Impact Assessment is based upon sound and replicable scientific research concepts and methods. The SIA process subscribes to the ethic that good science (scholarship) will lead to informed and better decisions.
  4. SIA must look not only at social issues but also at the environmental impacts and their interactions.
  5. By mandating SIA government aims to decrease social unrest and ensure compensation to affected communities.
  6. It help in resolving issues like land acquisition and speed up the execution of development projects.
  7. It ensure that locals receive proper resettlement packages and those developers constructively engage with local communities.
  8. It help in development of the country and lead to sustainable growth and employment in the region through speedy completion of projects.
  9. It help government and judiciary to save resources and time by avoiding unnecessary litigations as assessment and compensation for any project is done beforehand.

SIAs can be resource and time-intensive, which leads some business owners to view them as bureaucratic red tape. However, considering the ethnic diversity and Agriculture as dominant occupation, SIAs remain an important part of the investment process in India that cannot be overlooked.

Print Friendly and PDF