ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Strengthen What Exists

Another "national" environment authority will duplicate, not strengthen, existing regulatory bodies.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s promise last month to establish a National Environment Appraisal and Monitoring Authority (NEAMA) “soon” has been buried under the myriad scams and controversies that have come to the fore in the public discourse. Yet, the question of effective environmental governance is central to the future trajectory of development in India’s growing economy. It will also determine how fast India’s environment deteriorates and how this will have an impact on the lives and health of all its citizens, rich and poor. Yet, the issue has received barely any coverage, leave alone discussion in the media or elsewhere.

There are several important issues that have to be addressed about the need for a central authority specically for appraisal and monitoring. The NEAMA has gone through several iterations over the last three years with discussion papers circulated among experts and some environmental groups for feedback. We need to however ask whether such an authority can improve environmental governance in the country.

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