INDIA’S SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT POLICY AND IT'S GROUND REALITY
Author: Anmol Niranjan, II Year of B.Com.,LL.B(Hons.) From Institute of Law Nirma University.
In the 2022 Environment Performance Index (EPI), an analysis by Yale and Columbia University researchers that gives a data-driven evaluation of the situation of sustainability around the world, India came in last out of 180 countries. Climate change, environmental public health, and biodiversity are among the 40 performance factors used by the EPI to rank 180 nations. With a total score of 18.9, India came in last. On June 8, the Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Climate Change (MoEFCC) disputed the country's EPI ranking, claiming that it was based on "guesses and unscientific methodology." Among all these controversy let have a look what India’s law and environment policy speak.
Basic law prevailing in India
In India the protection of environment is soul imbedded in its constitution, the Directive Principles of Indian State Policy are the rules or principles that are given to the institutes for administering the country. The principles given out in Part IV (Article 36-51) of the Indian Constitution are not enforceable by any court, but they are deemed "fundamental" in the country's government, making it the State's responsibility to implement these principles in establishing legislation to produce a just society.
Article 47 of Directive Principal- states that one of the State's key responsibilities is to raise the level of nutrition and living standards of its citizens, as well as to improve public health, which includes environmental protection and improvement.
Article 48(A) of Directive Principal- The constitution specifies that the state must work to maintain and improve the environment, as well as the country's forests and wildlife. Part III protects fundamental rights that are necessary for a person's growth.
Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981 (Air Act).
Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974 (Water Act), which also initially identified the powers, functions and hierarchy of the environmental agencies, the CPCB and the SPCBs.
Environment (Protection) Act 1986 (EP Act). This umbrella law enables the central government to take measures it deems necessary to protect and improve the environment, and to prevent, control and abate environmental pollution. A wide range of rules and notifications have been adopted under it, such as the:
Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemicals Rules 1989 (MSIHC Rules);
Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 2019 (and related 2021 procedure for violation of the CRZ Notification)
Solid Waste Management Rules 2016;
Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules 2016;
Hazardous and Other Waste (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules 2016, as amended in 2019 (HW Rules);
Environment Impact Assessment Notification 2006.
E-Waste (Management) Rules 2016, as amended in 2018 (E-Waste Rules)
Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016 (and a proposed draft 2021 amendment)
Batteries (Management & Handling) Rules 2001 (and the proposed draft Battery Waste Management Rules 2020);
Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules 2016;
Public Liability Insurance Act 1991.
Biological Diversity Act 2002.
National Green Tribunal Act 2010.
Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972.
Forest (Conservation) Act 1980.
Work towards achieving SDG
World leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015, with 17 goals that cut across disciplines, sectors, and institutional mandates, acknowledging the interconnected nature of humanity's many challenges – From gender inequality to insufficient infrastructure, from young unemployment to environmental deterioration, there are many issues that need to be addressed.
The Prime Minister announced a vision for the future of mobility in India centred on the 7-C's: Common, Connected, Convenient, Congestion-free, Charged, Clean, and Cutting-edge mobility during the Global Mobility Summit in September 2018. Mobility has the ability to propel our economy ahead while also improving residents' lives in both urban and rural places. Mobility solutions that are affordable, accessible, inclusive, and safe are critical strategic levers for rapid economic development and improved 'Ease of Living.' Mobility solutions that are shared, linked, and clean are gradually becoming the main principles of effective mobility solutions throughout the world. India must embrace successful tactics to position itself as a key driver of the global mobility revolution, given its commitment to climate objectives.
The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is a group of 106 signatory nations (86 of which are members), the majority of which are sun-drenched countries that sit entirely or partially between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. The alliance's main goal is to promote efficient solar energy use in order to lessen reliance on fossil fuels. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi originally announced this project in a speech at Wembley Stadium (London HA9 0WS, United Kingdom) in November 2015, in which he referred to sunny countries as Suryaputra ("Sons of the Sun"). The alliance is an intergovernmental organisation founded on treaties. Non-tropical countries are welcome to join the alliance and enjoy the same benefits as other members, with the exception of voting privileges.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the effort during the India Africa Summit, as well as a conference of member nations, ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in November 2015. The International Solar Alliance framework agreement was opened for signatures in November 2016 in Marrakesh, Morocco, and 102 nations have signed it.
The Environment and Forests Division provides strategic and technical guidance on critical policy issues and disseminates best practises to conserve our natural resources—water, land, and forests. To facilitate seamless implementation of programmes for national development, the Vertical intervenes to address inter-sectoral and inter-departmental disputes between the Central, States, UTs, and other stakeholders.
The Vertical's overarching goal is to promote fair access to water and land resources while concentrating on the country's long-term development. It develops policy recommendations and advises to help organisations realise the full potential of sophisticated and ready-to-use technology, as well as fosters research and development to improve water and land resource management.
Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) 3.0
Cost-Effective Sustainable Desalination to Combat Water Scarcity of Coastal Areas
Compendium of Best Practices 2
Development of Eco-Friendly and Cost-Effective Tourism in Hills (Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University).
Opportunities of Livelihood to Check Migration from Hills (Sikkim University).
Water Conservation and Harvesting Strategies (Panjab University and Central University of Jammu).
Strategy Paper on Rationalising the Water Act, 1974, and Air Act, 1981, with the Environment Protection Act, 1986.
Law’s Ground Reality
Since the 1970s, these laws, along with various notices and recommendations published under them, have formed the foundation of a system to regulate, manage, and monitor the country's environmental repercussions of development.
The environmental laws under examination by the committee are many decades old, and each legislation and its notifications has previously been thoroughly scrutinised by government-appointed bodies based on judicial decisions, institutional practise, and expert advice. Many reputable research organisations, NGOs, and grassroots organisations working in the field of environment and conservation have studied and advocated for these laws and the experience of their implementation.
The quantity and time it takes to make judgments will continue to be monitored and judged in the execution of environmental regulations, not always by improved and beneficial environmental consequences. The suggested adjustments' major goal would remain 'approval-focused' as a result of this emphasis.
The regulator and the project developer are the only parties involved in the permission granting and compliance procedure, emphasising the need of quick approvals. Environmental specialists are used in the approval process, and project developers are granted 'utmost good faith' in the compliance procedure. Until the point of finding solutions, the third party, those who bear the brunt of bad regulation, is absent from the Committee's reform suggestions. Speedy approvals without rethinking the role and breadth of impacted people's engagement in clearance and compliance procedures would not reduce friction or litigation, as the Committee expects.
"Technology facilitated rapid and responsible decision making for project approval," the Committee suggests. The current 'weight' of time associated with the decision-making process is related to the amount of data that is withheld or obscured in order to obtain approvals. Improving the quality of accessible data may not only make approvals take longer, but it may also raise rejection rates. And this would be incompatible with the goal of speed. The present inherent contradiction of enhancing quality while lowering decision-making time will be restricted by the new institutions and specialists involved in decision-making.
Allowing for faster approvals without resolving existing non-compliance concerns may result in the sanctioning of long-standing illegalities with immediate social and environmental consequences. It would take significantly longer to address the consequences of prior breaches and non-compliance, as well as restore the environment, than it would to issue permissions. Unless decision-makers can address new project applications and current breaches as part of a single procedure, the rate of approvals will continue to have substantial environmental and socioeconomic effects in already-affected regions.
India's history is intertwined with the environment and natural world. India is striving to conserve the environment, and the government has enacted many laws and policies to achieve this goal. India is a founding member of the International Solar Alliance and a signatory to the Paris Agreement. As the legislation is insufficient, one of the primary factors that has lately become a serious concern with Indian law is execution. Environmental law awareness is critical in the prevention and management of pollution at both the industrial and community levels. Furthermore, awareness is required for action.
reference (APA Citation)
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