Parliamentary Standing Committee report on Environment Ministry

What is the news?

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment, Forests and Climate Change chaired by a Rajya Sabha member has tabled its report. The report demands more grants to the Environment ministry.

What were the key highlights of the report?

On Budget allocation for Environment Ministry:

  • In Budget 2020-21, Government has reduced the revised budgetary estimates for the Environment Ministry by 35% due to adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This has resulted in the non-release of funds for the proposed schemes.
  • Moreover, the budget estimates for the Environment Ministry are the lowest in the last three years. The ministry requires additional funds of Rs 900 crore to carry out its programs.

On Measures needed to Control Air Pollution:

  • Central Mechanism: The control of pollution projects is carried out by different agencies at the Centre and by state governments. Hence, a central mechanism should be set up to monitor all central and state agencies.
  • Capacity Building exercises should be undertaken at the municipal level to ensure proper implementation of the National Clean Air Programme(NCAP).
  • The government should allocate grants based on the recommendation of the 15th Finance Commission. It recommended for the installations of air quality monitoring systems in smaller cities and towns.
  • Invest in Infrastructure: Government should invest in setting up infrastructure for pollution abatement measures. It includes installing superchargers for electric vehicles, establishing effective microorganism bio-digester units for waste treatment and biogas production in urban areas.

Other Key Findings and suggestions:

  • Man Animal Conflict: Ministry of Environment should take measures to minimise man-animal conflicts.
  • Low Expenditure on Conservation and Development: The committee has expressed concern over low expenditure on R&D in Conservation and Development. The ministry has spent 16.3%, 35.8%, and 23.5% of its allocated amount in the last three years.

Source: Indian Express

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