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Environment Ministry moves: Ranking of state agencies to increase efficiency
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Environment Ministry moves: Ranking of state agencies to increase efficiency

DAYS AGO, the Environment Ministry said Monday that it had ranked State Environment Impact Assessment Authorities, (SEIAAs), based on how quickly they approve proposals and provide environmental clearance for projects. The move was criticised by many. However, the Environment Ministry stated that the move was intended to encourage transparency, accountability, and efficiency in the SEIAAs’ operations without reducing any regulatory safeguards. It also stated that no SEIAA will face any penalties for taking longer to grant permission.

Once they have determined that the project has minimal environmental impact, the SEIAAs will issue permits and environmental clearance to more than 90% of the country’s infrastructure, industrial, and developmental projects.

The ministry issued a January 17th order that stated it would rate SEIAAs according to seven different criteria. This would help to demonstrate their efficiency. After a meeting that was chaired by Cabinet Secretary on November 13, 2013, the ministry made the decision to rate the SEIAAs on seven different criteria. This includes the question of actions taken to facilitate Ease in Doing Business, particularly in the context of ranking states according to the time taken for obtaining appropriate clearances.

The ministry has taken several initiatives for streamlining the EC (environmental clearance) process and reduce the undue time taken in grant of clearances…. In a statement, the ministry said that a new rating of SEIAAs had been added to encourage efficiency, transparency, accountability, and accountability in their operation.

The ranking system is based upon the EIA Notification 2006 and other guidelines issued by ministry. It was designed to encourage SEIAAs and to improve their efficiency in decision-making strictly according to the EIA Notification 2006. Without compromising any regulatory safeguards. It is important that you note that the EIA Notification already gives time-lines to all EC processes.

It stated that there is no negative marking to be applied to those who do not meet the criteria for ranking. The SEIAA can raise Essential Details Sought (EDS), and the time for which the reply is pending will not be counted in calculating the SEIAA’s total days.

The SEIAA is therefore free to do all due diligence before deciding on a project. There are no restrictions on the time-line and there is no concern about the quality of the EIA reports due to the ranking system.

According to the rating system, if the average number of days required by an SEIAA for granting clearance for environment will be less than 80 days, it’ll get two marks. For more than 105 days it’ll get one mark. It will be awarded 0.5 marks for a time period of 105 to 120 days. If it takes more then 120 days, it won’t get any mark.

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