National Indian Provisions

Environmental Impact Assessment

An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a study to predict the effect of a proposed activity or project on the environment. In an EIA, the beneficial and adverse consequences of a project activity will be systematically examined and it shall further be ensured that the identified effects will be taken into account at the stage of project design.

The purpose of an EIA is to ensure the protection and conservation of the environment and natural resources against uncontrolled development. The EIA shall ensure a sustainable economic development that meets present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It is a tool to measure environmental impacts and to find ways to mitigate them.

In 1994, the EIA was made a mandatory requirement for the expansion or modernisation of any activity or project and for setting up new projects. It was introduced under the Environmental Protection Act of 1986 and made environmental clearance of a project activity an obligatory condition. New EIA notification was introduced by the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) in 2006.

The environmental clearance process has 4 stages:

  1. Screening
  2. Scoping
  3. Public consultation

Public consultation is a process by which concerns of local affected people and others who have plausible stake in the environmental impacts of the project or activity are ascertained. Two components are included in this process:

-          Public hearing on the site or in close proximity to ascertain the concerns of the local affected people

-          Written responses of stakeholders with plausible stake in the environmental aspects of the project or activity. Thereafter, a need of interest must be demonstrated

  1. Appraisal

Sector specific expert appraisal team further seeks information, makes recommendations and defers or rejects a project or activity. In case a project or activity gets clearance, a letter of clearance will be issues by the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF).

This letter needs to be published by the project proponent within 7 days in 2 local newspapers and further needs to be uploaded on the project proponent website.

In case of non-adherence of conditions, clearance can be revoked as by the revocation clause that is included in most environmental clearance letters.

Clearance will be denied if concealment is deliberate and/or false or misleading information have been submitted.

Monitoring and compliance

For monitoring and compliance of a project activity, 6 regional offices in the Ministry of Environment and Forest are established. Required are 6 monthly compliance reports of the project activity done by the project authorities as well as 6 monthly monitoring reports by regional offices.

 

Sustainable development benefits 

Every host country of a CDM project activity defines its own sustainable development indicators. For India, these are:

  • Social well-being: The CDM project activity should lead to alleviation of poverty by generating additional employment, removal of social disparities and contribution to provision of basic amenities to people leading to improvement in quality of life of people.
  • Economic well-being: The CDM project activity should bring in additional investment consistent with the needs of people.
  • Environmental well-being: This should include a discussion of impact of the project activity on resource sustainability and resource degradation, if  any, due to  proposed activity; bio-diversity friendliness; impact on human health; reduction of levels of pollution in general;
  • Technological well-being: The CDM project activity should lead to transfer of environmentally safe and sound technologies that are comparable to best practices in order to assist in up-gradation of the technical base. The transfer of technology can be within the country as well as from other developing countries also.

In addition to the set out sustainable development criteria, project proponents are required to provide a sustainable development action plan where they need to specify the actions needed to achieve sustainable development.

 

2% share of offset credits

In India, a project proponent of a large-scale CDM project is committed to share 2% of the Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) for the development of the local communities.

Basic purpose of this commitment is to share 2% of the CERs revenue to support the local communities in achieving their development goal.

This can be done in different ways:

  • Project proponent may directly share the amount with respective village Panchayts and monitor their development activities;
  • Project proponent may develop a plan and implement it for the betterment of the villages;
  • Project proponent may involve villagers and plan and implement jointly; or
  • Project proponent may decide other means and ways.

It is not specified how a project proponent has to spend the 2% share. However, a form indicating an implementation plan as well as monitoring arrangements has to be provided. It needs to be addressed how the committed amount of money will be utilized and how identified issues and activities in the respective villages will be faced.

As for monitoring arrangements, the project proponent needs to develop a monitoring committee involving villagers, representatives of the project proponent as well as a local government official or reputed person of the area.

The implementation plan must be made publicly available. This plan includes local contact details, the money transfer mechanism and names the members of the monitoring team. This plan has to be submitted to the village Panchayat, the Block Office, Tehsil Office and the District Collector Office.

 

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