India’s Cabinet may in all likelihood approve the process as well as the setting up of a regulator or an authority that will carry out a comprehensive and well-designed environmental impact assessment (EIA) of various projects underway in the country. The Supreme Court had earlier asked the Central Government to form the regulator in the month of January in 2014 in order to make the entire process objective as well as to end the quick approval of ill-conceived and conducted environmental impact assessment (EIA).
According to the industry experts, the green authority will be established with the goal of bringing objectivity to the entire process of environmental impact assessment as well as oversee the process concerning the accreditation of consultants, evaluation of the various reports as well as the appraisal of projects. Section 3 of the Environment Protection Act actually empowers the Central Government to constitute such an authority or a set of authorities which will have the mandate of carrying out specific tasks related to environmental impact assessment. The Indian Cabinet’s proposal says that the environment authority will not have the power of imposition of penalty on polluters or implement other forest-related objectives of the National Forest Policy. The Supreme Court ordered that these powers be assigned to the environment authority.
The Apex Court had earlier said that the green regulator was much needed in these times since the present mechanism has a number of short comings in aspects. “What is required is a regulator at national level, having offices in all states and which can carry out independent, objective, as well as transparent appraisal and approval of projects for environmental clearances, and which can monitor implementation of conditions that are laid down in environmental clearances too,” the Supreme Court had said.
A Parliamentary Standing Committee in December 2014 recommended that the Central Government set up a National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) at the central level as well as State Environment Management Authority (SEMA) at the state level as full-time clearance, processing, and monitoring agencies.