New Delhi: The central government is all set to take the process of securing clearances from the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) online after moving processes related to environment, forest and wildlife online earlier.

Once implemented, the NBA clearance process is expected to become more transparent and efficient; the average time taken for clearances is expected to come down drastically—probably as short as a month in some cases.

Established in 2003, NBA is an autonomous body of the Union ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEFCC). It performs facilitative, regulatory and advisory functions on conservation, sustainable use of biological resource and fair and equitable sharing of benefits of use.

“Individuals or entities require NBA’s approval when they use biological resources and associated knowledge occurring in India for commercial or research purposes or for the purposes of bio-survey or bio-utilisation. We are going to put this system online," said a senior official of the NBA, who did not want to be identified.

“As per our rules, the clearance from NBA has to come in 3-6 months. But most of the time it does not happen as the applicants do not give all the required information. Due to this, sometime it takes even a year. But with online system, it would be easier for the applicant to check whether they are submitting all the required documents or not," the official said.

“Basically it is about having complete information. Once all the required documents are with us, the clearance can come even before the timeline of 3-6 months… probably within a month, too," the official explained.

Another reason behind putting the clearance system online is that the environment ministry wants to promote “transparency and accountability" to enable the applicants to track their application.

“It will make the system completely transparent and accountable," a ministry of environment, forests and climate change official added.

In the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Narendra Modi had flagged the issue of delays in green clearances and corruption involved in the process. Since May 2014, when the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) formed the government, the environment ministry has already taken forest, environment and wildlife clearances system online, cutting delays.

In May, on the NDA government’s second anniversary, the then environment minister Prakash Javadekar claimed that his ministry had brought down average time taken for issuing green clearances from 600 days to 192 and was aiming to further reduce it to 100 days.

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