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The time taken to grant environmental clearances is the centre of rank states
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The time taken to grant environmental clearances is the centre of rank states

To encourage transparency, efficiency, and accountability, the Union Environment Ministry will rank each state based on how long it takes to grant environmental clearances to development projects.

According to an office memo issued by the ministry on January 17th, a meeting presided by the Cabinet Secretary in November 2013 on the action on ‘Ease Of Doing Business” addressed the issue of ‘ranking states based on time taken in accordance clearances”.

“It has been decided that incentives will be given to states by a star-rating system based on the efficiency of granting EC. This is meant to be a way of acknowledging and encouraging as well as to prompt improvements where necessary,” reads the memo sent out to state environmental impact assessment authorities and expert appraise committees.

It stated that the rating system would encourage transparency, efficiency, and accountability.

According to the proposed ranking system, a SEIAA (state environment impact assessment authority) will receive two marks for granting environmental clearances (EC) to projects within less that 80 days. One mark is for less than or equal 105 day, 0.5 for 105-120 days, and zero for more 120 days.

SEIAAs will receive one mark for accepting terms of reference (TOR), environmental clearances within five working days, and 0.5 for five to seven business days. Zero for more than seven.

The memorandum states that one mark will be given if the essential details are sought in more than 10 percent of cases. It will give 0.5 marks if it’s 20 percent and zero if its more than 30.

One mark will be given if more that 90 per cent of the new proposals for environmental clearances or EC amendments awaiting for over 105 day are cleared. Clearance of 80 percent will receive 0.5 marks and clearance of less than 80 percent will receive zero.

“The SEIAA rating will be dynamic and based on the performance of the last six months. Data for a block consisting of six months, starting on the first and ending on the last days of the block period, will be considered. This information will be updated each month. The PARIVESH portal has been upgraded to capture actions taken on TOR/EC application, and the rating criteria will be implemented online.

Dipankar Saha, a former head of the CPCB’s air laboratory, stated that it is possible to do work in a time-bound way if all mandates have been followed.

Avinash Chanchal, a climate activist and author, said that environmental clearance for projects can also impact the environment and rights. He said that clearings in the name ‘ease-of-doing business’ are not completed.

“‘A such process must take all parties into account and ensure justice to everyone. Clearances can’t be given to benefit a few companies. Chanchal said that the ministry has the responsibility to protect the rights of the people, their livelihoods, and not endanger them existence.

Jyoti Lavakare, an environmentalist, said that it seems like the government is substituting monetary goals for sustainable development goals.

The order doesn’t specify whether all norms must be followed in order to grant environmental clearances. She said that they aren’t concerned about minimizing the environmental impact.

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff. It is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.

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