Centre’s move to rank states on pace of green clearances will spark unhealthy competition, dilute regulation

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Central government has recently put forth a proposal to rank state environment impact assessment authorities (SEIAA) according to the speed at which they issue environmental clearances. 

What are the concerns regarding the recent step? 

It undermines the role of regulatory oversight in environmental protection, which is recognised in several Supreme Court verdicts as one of the key instruments to ensure the right to life. 

Read more on this here. 

It will compromise SEIAAs’ function to assess the impact of industrial, real estate and mining schemes on the environment. It may lead to an unhealthy competition amongst states to clear the projects as early as possible. 

What are the other recent steps that are undermining the environmental protection regime? 

Environment ministry last year pointed out that the average time taken to issue environmental clearances had reduced by a significant margin in the past two years. However, it has not clarified if this reduction in time has improved the level of scrutiny of projects on critical environmental yardsticks.    

Several steps by the ministry have come under scrutiny, like, the extension of the deadline for compliance with emission norms for most thermal power plants, dilution of the Coastal Zone Notification and the proposal to amend the Forest Conservation Act to allow the use of forests for infrastructural projects. 

There has been fear that these steps may reduce the environmental protection regime in the country. 

Source– This post is based on the article “Centre’s move to rank states on pace of green clearances will spark unhealthy competition, dilute regulation” published in Indian express on 22st Jan 2022.  

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