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Annual Policy Review: Summary Of Environment Sector

Here is a summary of all the policies in the Environment Sector for the time period April 2016 till March 2017

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A week back, PRS Legislative Research released its Annual Policy Review for various sectors, summarising policy initiatives taken for particular sectors and laws passed in that sector.

Here is a summary of all the policies in the Environment Sector for the time period April 2016 till March 2017:

•    The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill was passed by the Parliament in July 2016 which
“sets up an administrative mechanism to regulate the funds collected by the government when forest land is diverted for non-forest use (such as infrastructure projects)”. Key features of the law include setting up of National and State Funds, utilization of these funds on a national and state level, setting up of fund management authorities and the composition of the fund management authorities.

•    The Regional Centre for Biotechnology Bill was passed by the Parliament in July 2016, a law which provides “legislative backing to the Regional Centre for Biotechnology Training and Education”. The law declares the institution to be of national importance for the Regional Centre which was established by the central government in Faridabad, Haryana in 2009, in light of an agreement between “India and UNESCO in 2006”. Key features of the law include powers of the Regional Centre and authorities of the Regional Centre.

•    India ratified the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in October 2016, which came into force world-wide in November 2016. The Agreement aims to limit the rise the global average temperature between 1.5 degrees Celsius to 2 degree Celsius, through voluntary domestic commitments (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions), to pursue their targets by 2030. India aimed to reduce green-house emissions and increase forest cover, and increase the share of renewable energy use in the country and set up its NDC targets.

•    An amendment to an international agreement (Montreal Protocol) was adopted by India, to reduce Hydrofluorocarbon gases. The amendment, adopted in October 2016 is a binding agreement which comes into force on January 1st, 2019. “The Montreal Protocol came into force in 1989 to reduce the production and consumption of substances that are causing depletion of the ozone layer of the earth. While HFC gases do not cause depletion of the ozone layer, they contribute to global warming”, mentions the report, adding that the amendment “provides a roadmap for the elimination of HFCs, laying down different time lines for developed and developing countries.”

•    The process for granting environmental clearance for building and construction projects was amended by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, which “issued a notification amending the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, in December 2016”. While the 2006 notification “provides that construction of new projects and expansion of existing projects may be undertaken only with prior environmental clearance”, the amendment seeks to “decentralise the process of granting clearance, and improve the ease of doing business”, the report mentions.

•    The Sustainable Sand Mining Guidelines, 2016 was released in June 2016 by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. As the report states, “Sand and gravel are used for the construction of roads and buildings. In India, the main sources of sand include rivers (riverbeds and flood plains), lakes, agricultural fields and coastal sands. Mining in these areas can damage aquatic habitats, cause river bank erosion, degradation of site of extraction, and pollution of ground water”, the guidelines “aim to ensure that while sand is available in adequate quantity, it should be mined in an environmentally sustainable manner”


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