According to the Union environment ministry, the average time it takes to grant environmental clearances in all sector has decreased from more than 150 days in 2019, to less than 90 days by 2021.
In some sectors, clearance can take as little as 60 days, it said.
According to the statement, 7787 projects were granted environmental clearances through EIA notifications in 2021.
The statement stated that PARIVESH, a Single Window Integrated Environmental Management System (SWIEMS) was created in the spirit and spirit of digital India. It has undergone many modifications and customizations to comply with statutory provisions.
Parivesh has been used to automate various processes by the ministry. These include online modules that can be used to dispense environmental clearance requirements for expansion or modernisation of industries, provided there is no rise in pollution load, aligning the EIA notification and Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Acts 2021; and online generation and management of environmental clearances with unique ID numbers.
HT reported April 1st that the environment ministry allowed companies to expand their capacity on the basis of a self certification that this will not increase the pollution load. This allows for possible misdeclaration and misuse.
The ministry has also decided to upgrade Parivesh portal to provide an integrated solution for the administration and enforcement of environmental regulations.
The upgraded Parivesh will not only improve clearance processes but also make it easier to do business in the country. The system will include a Know Your Approval module that allows users to check whether clearances are required for the project activity. It will also reduce the repetitive effort of the Users while simultaneously ensuring a single version across all clearances, according to the ministry.
The ministry also listed the bio diversity amendment bill, India’s stance at the Glasgow climate change conference (COP 26), and the implementation of a national clean air program as its major achievements for 2021.
One of the major changes made in the new biological diversity amend bill is that Ayush practitioners, who have been practicing indigenous medicine, can access any biological resources and the associated knowledge for commercial utilisation without giving prior notification to the concerned State Biodiversity Board. This has been widely criticised.
Researchers said that the reduction of clearance times did not benefit conservation.
Are there any reductions in the time it takes to grant environmental clearance due to improved enforcement and vigilance? They don’t say if the level of scrutiny has increased. The environment ministry’s mandate is environmental protection. It is not an achievement if they are able to grant EC in a shorter time frame by improving infrastructure and monitoring. Ritwick Dutta said that the ministry also considers proposed amendments of the biological diversity and forest conservation acts achievements.
The environment regulation is being evaluated using a perverse logic that uses dates and rates of approvals to measure success. It is not about how much of the area has been preserved from degradation or how many environmental damages have been corrected. Kanchi Kohli, legal researcher at the Centre for Policy Research, stated that faster clearance rates do not guarantee financial viability of a project or its sustainability. They also don’t guarantee that proposals are ethically sound and socially legitimate.