New Delhi: The Union environment ministry is hoping that state environment ministers attending a two-day conference in New Delhi next week will push for reforms and changes in environmental laws and rules in their states, in keeping with the centre’s focus on simplifying procedures for easing green clearance norms.

Environment minister Prakash Javadekar has been highlighting dozens of measures taken by the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) to ease green clearance procedures. A committee formed under former cabinet secretary T.S.R. Subramanian to review green laws has submitted over 50 recommendations to overhaul these laws.

The two-day conference will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 6 April.

At the conference, Modi will also launch the National Air Quality Index (AQI), which will provide the public with real-time air quality data in a simple form. The AQI service will initially be available in 10 major cities and later expanded to over 60 cities.

The main issues which environment ministers from all states will discuss at the conference are how to promote ease of doing business in light of the Subramanian committee report; forests, wildlife and green India mission-related issues; pollution; biodiversity; climate change; and ecologically sensitive zones such as the Western Ghats.

A session on “waste to wealth" will include new draft rules prepared by the MoEF for managing solid waste, e-waste, hazardous waste, plastic waste and bio-medical waste. The ministry is ready with the new draft rules on waste but is waiting for a final consultation with states to give them a final shape, after which they will be made available to the public.

“Based on T.S.R. committee report, MoEF wants to overhaul green laws and rules to make it easier for industry and promote growth. But to avoid any conflict with states and have all stakeholders on board, this session is very important before the environment ministry goes ahead with it," a senior environment ministry official said.

Announcing the conference, Javadekar said it would also provide states an opportunity to share their best practices on various laws, rules and procedures related to the environment.

“The conference is important, as it is the first such conference being organized after the new government assumed office," the minister added.

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