Sunday, December 21, 2014

#TSR Subramanian Committee report worrisome: #Jairam Ramesh

Former environment minister Jairam Ramesh has expressed his concern about the proposed dilution of ecological laws by the current Modi led NDA government. He was referring to the  TSR Subramanian Committee which was constituted by the Modi Govt to review the existing Environment Protection laws.

The TSR Subramanian Committee headed by  former cabinet secretary TSR Subramanian submitted its report to Prakash Javadekar, Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change. The Committee was constituted to review the processes, laws and Acts of the Ministry. Speaking on the occasion, Javadekar said that the Report was a historic achievement that would strengthen processes to balance developmental commitments and environment protection. The recommendations of the Report would enhance Ministry’s efforts to avoid undue delays and ensure transparency in clearances and implementation of projects. Lauding the efforts of the Committee for submitting the report in a short span of time, the Minister stated that Ministry would expedite consultations with all stakeholders for the timely implementation of the recommendations of the Committee.

 Environment Protection Act (EPA) of 1986, Forest Conservation Act (FCA) of 1980, Wildlife Protection Act (WPA) of 1972, the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1974 and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1981 have been reviewed by committee. All these laws require the industry to fulfil certain conditions to safeguard the environment and take approval of the authorities before developing a project. Later, the Indian Forest Act (IFA) of 1927, the colonial law which governs the forest administration in the country, was also added to the list of laws for the committee to review.

In his remarks, TSR Subramanian, Chairman of the Committee, said that the committee had built on the existing mechanisms to optimize the efforts to balance developmental imperatives causing least possible damage to environment. The committee had undertaken wide-ranging consultations with stakeholders and formulated action points to streamline Ministry’s efforts to strengthen institutions and processes.

The Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change had appointed the High Level Committee (HLC) to review the following Acts administered by the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change.

(i)                Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
(ii)              Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980
(iii)             Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
(iv)            The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974
(v)              The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act,   1981

The terms of reference were as follows:-

 (i)     To assess the status of implementation of each of the above Acts vis-a-vis the  objectives;
(ii)   To examine and take into account various court orders and judicial pronouncements relating to these Acts;
(iii)  To recommend specific amendments needed in each of these Acts so as to bring them in line with current requirements to meet objectives; and
(iv)  To draft proposed amendments in each of the above Acts to give effect to the proposed recommendations.

The composition of the Committee was as follows:-

(1)             Shri. T.S.R. Subramanian, Chairman
(2)             Shri Viswanath Anand, Member
(3)             Justice (Retd.) Sh. A.K. Srivastav, Member
(4)              Shri K.N. Bhat, Member