The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change clarified that their new ranking of State Environment Impact Assessment Authorities, (SEIAAs), based on how quickly they clear environmental clearance for projects, is intended to encourage efficiency, transparency, and accountability in the SEIAAs’ operation.
The government has faced criticism from activists, scientists, and environmentalists over proposed changes to SEIAA ranking. They claimed that the new changes would result in SEIAAs speeding through environmental clearances.
The ministry clarified that agencies would not be penalized for taking longer to submit proposals. They will also note that the changes won’t affect any regulatory safeguards.
The ministry released a statement saying that they have taken several steps to streamline the EC process and reduce time it takes to grant clearances. As a further step, a new rating of SEIAAs was introduced to promote efficiency, transparency, accountability and accountability in the SEIAAs’ functioning.
The ministry has issued guidelines and EIA Notification 2006 provides the basis for the ranking system. These guidelines are intended to encourage SEIAAs and other decision-makers to improve their efficiency and adhere to the EIA Notification 2006. It is important that all EC processes are covered by the EIA Notification, which it added.
The proposed changes will allow SEIAAs to be ranked according to the average time it takes to clear proposals. Two marks will be given to agencies that clear proposals in an average of 80 days. If they take more than 105 days, they get one mark. If they take 105-120 or more days, the state authority gets 0.5 marks. If they wait more than 120 days they get zero.
The ministry said that there is no negative marking to be applied if the criteria are not met.
(Edited By : Shoma Bhattacharjee)