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

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Rating of State Environment Impact Assessment Authorities

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The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Division of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India, introduced a star-rating system in January 2022. The MoEFCC plans to assess the performance of each State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) on the basis of the time taken to process the environmental clearance applications. Applications for environmental clearance are submitted by companies planning to set up large-scale “development” projects in India. Projects that have high-potential environmental impact require prior environmental clearance from the MoEFCC. The projects with relatively lesser potential impact on the environment can be given prior environmental clearance by the respective state governments where they are located. Each state is, therefore, required to set up a SEIAA to process the environmental clearance applications.

The star-rating of SEIAAs is aimed at incentivising the states based on “the efficiency and timelines in the grant of environmental clearance.” The initiative has been rolled out as an outcome of a cabinet secretary-level discussion on the action taken towards the “ease of doing business.” The SEIAAs that take longer to grant environmental clearance to companies or seek essential details about the project, more than once, are being given less marks in the star-rating system. According to the government, this rating system will encourage transparency, efficiency, and accountability in the working of the SEIAAs. However, the continual focus of the rating system on speed and on putting quantity (number of environmental clearance grants) over quality (environmental clearance scrutiny) is worrisome from an environmental and sustainability perspective.

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Updated On : 12th Feb, 2022
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