Home >Politics >Policy >Amendments to six green laws to be ready by Oct-Nov
A file photo of environment minister Prakash Javadekar. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
A file photo of environment minister Prakash Javadekar. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

Amendments to six green laws to be ready by Oct-Nov

The environment ministry formed a high-level committee under former cabinet secretariat TSR Subramanian in August 2014 to review India's six major environmental laws

Despite lawmakers’ severe criticism of a high-level committee that has recommended an overhaul of India’s main environmental laws, environment minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday said amendments to country’s six green laws would be ready by October-November.

The environment ministry formed a high-level committee led by former cabinet secretariat TSR Subramanian in August 2014 to review India’s six major environmental laws—Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and the Indian Forest Act 1927.

The idea was to bring them in line with current requirements in the country.

The committee in its report in November 2014 recommended a major overhaul of the environmental sector. But it came under severe criticism from opposition parties as well as activists who alleged that it has done a hurried job without proper consultation with all stakeholders.

Last week, the parliamentary standing committee on science and technology and environment and forests, led by Congress MP Ashwani Kumar, said the three months given to the Subramanian committee was too short and asked the environment ministry to appoint a new high-level committee to review environmental laws.

However, Javadekar on Wednesday said the committee’s recommendations were a major input for reviewing green laws, adding however that this did not mean the government has accepted all the 55 recommendations made by the high level committee.

“We have done due deliberations with many ministries, stakeholders. We have already appointed a law and management firm and both have looked into the best practices of countries like the US, the UK, China, Indonesia, Brazil and South Africa. We have seen their laws. It has found out the assessment report and the gaps in laws as to what is needed and how much change there should be," said Javadekar.

“We will see what changes finally have to be made. Then there will be a draft. That should be ready by October or November. We are doing it scientifically," he added.

The environment minister, however, clarified that his ministry is looking into a slew of reports that the select committee has given in the past few months.

“The standing committee has given many reports which we have taken seriously. We value the standing committee mechanism. Every report we are scanning and examining seriously. Whatever good recommendations are made, we will take them on board and work accordingly. Where there are differences, still we will have dialogue," said Javadekar.

Activists, however, are concerned.

“The TSR committee was not just a hurried job but everything with it was wrong—their constitution, their terms of reference, the methodology and the team which made the report. No one should be under any illusion. It was done entirely with the purpose of making business easier. It was the government’s pre-design and they are just following that," said Himanshu Thakkar, an environmental activist working on water-related issues.

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