In news– The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has decided to “incentivise states” by ranking them on the basis of “efficiency and timelines in grant of environmental clearances”.
More information on the ranking of states-
- It has been decided to incentivise the states through a star-rating system, based on efficiency and timelines in grant of EC (environmental clearance).
- According to the proposed ranking system, a state environment impact assessment authority (SEIAA) will get two marks for granting environmental clearance (EC) to projects in less than 80 days, one mark for less than or equal to 105 days, 0.5 for 105 to 120 days and zero for more than 120 days.
- The state authorities will also be rated on the percentage of disposal of fresh Terms of Reference (TOR) or TOR amendment proposals pending for over 30 days.
- After a project is screened, the authority provides the client a TOR document which defines the purpose and structures of the project, committee, meeting, negotiation etc.
- The ministry has allotted 1 mark for SEIAAs which clear over 90 percent TORs; 0.5 for 80-90 per cent; 0 for less than 80 per cent clearance.
- Similarly, for disposal of fresh environmental clearances as well as environmental amendment proposals pending for over 100 days, SEIAAs will get 1 mark for over 90 per cent clearance; 0.5 for 80-90 percent clearance; and 0 for less than 80 per cent.
- The state authorities will also be rewarded for seeking fewer environmental details.
- SEIAAS will get 1 mark if a proposal is accepted in less than 5 days; 0.5 for 5-7 days; and 0 for more than 7 days.
- The rating system also takes into account disposal of complaints.
- Based on these parameters, if an SEIAA gets more than 7 marks, it will be ranked as 5-star (the highest ranking).
- The state authorities can be ranked as 5,4,3,2 and 1-star, depending on their cumulative score.
- Any SEIAA which gets a total of less than 3 marks will get no star.
- The order does not specify whether all norms are to be mandatorily followed for granting environmental clearances.
Note- The SEIAAs are responsible for providing environmental clearance for a bulk of the infrastructure, developmental and industrial projects. Their main purpose is to assess the impact of the proposed project on the environment and people, and to try and minimize this impact. In India, the biggest projects are given environmental clearances by the Environment Ministry under Category A. The SEIAAs give over 90 percent clearances across the country, primarily for construction projects.