Draft EIA Notification 2020 : A step in the wrong direction?

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Recently, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has released the new draft notification of EIA (Environment Impact Assessment), 2020. The Environmental Impact Assessment is a method of recording and calculating the socio-cultural, economical, biological, environmental impact (both beneficial & detrimental) created by projects and other developments at various ecological sites.

The EIA was firstimplemented in 1994 following the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, 1992. The notification was further revised in 2006 to lay down a more comprehensive mechanism for obtaining clearances. The EIA 2020 seeks to replace the 2006 notification.

The draft notification, raises concerns as it gives more ease to the permission norms for environmental clearance. This shall result in quick commencement of projectswithout a systematic check and thus will have adverse effects on the environment. It requires the permission process to be followed through four stages:

  • Screening;
  • Scoping;
  • Public Consultation;
  • Appraisal.

This proposal has been regarded as unfair and unjustified as it gives almost a direct clearance to multiple projects and no power to the people. The draft further legalizes the violations committed by current project proponents, allowing them to continue their project operations with a penalty amount. There is a looming concern about this policy change and various individuals have raised pertinent legal questions challenging the intent of this notification.

For more details about the notification, click on the link below :