Precautionary Principles of Sustainability versus Promotion of the Ease of Doing Business in the Proposed EIA Regulation in India: A Critical Analysis and Application of an Ex-Ante Framework to Review the Regulation
The tenets of environmental policy evolved in India and how precautionary principles of sustainability are sidelined in the draft EIA regulation 2020 are analyzed. The emphasis on exempting several categories of projects from the EIA requirements and public consultation, standardization of sector-specific terms of reference and environmental clearance conditions, and decentralization of the decision-making to simplify and fast-track the environmental clearance procedure for development projects is apparent. The list of projects/activities requiring prior environmental clearance and the procedures reveal that promoting the ease of doing business scores over precautionary principles. Efforts to increase the effectiveness and improve transparency in monitoring the implementation of environmental clearance conditions are visible. Still, the prime issues of improving the efficiency and efficacy of the EIA framework and institutional reforms in the EIA system need to be earnestly addressed. The evaluation using an ex-ante framework unveils the areas needing meticulous attention to revamp the EIA regulation.
Keywords:EIA effectiveness, EIA follow-up, EIA framework, EIA policy, EIA system, Scoping
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