JavaScript must be enabled in order for you to use the Site in standard view. However, it seems JavaScript is either disabled or not supported by your browser. To use standard view, enable JavaScript by changing your browser options.

| Last Updated:08/06/2021

Latest News



NEW DELHI: The government has decided the country’s mostpolluting industries will need consent to operate every five years, doing away with a UPA-era annual-approval clause that also looked at the impact on health and biodiversity.

The move is being seen as an attempt to boost ease of doing business while a debate rages over India’s toxic air.

With this step, the Narendra Modi government has overhauled a regulation introduced by former environment minister Jairam Ramesh that was based on the effect of industrial clusters on air, water, land, health and ecology.

While the Prime Minister is trying to push India as a global manufacturing hub by promoting industry, the quality of air in the country has raised local and international concerns after the WHO last year declared Delhi the world’s most polluted city.

“We will rate the industrial clusters only on the basis of water, air and land as they can be measured,” said Shashi Shekhar, the environment ministry’s special secretary. Based on the Comprehensive Environmental Assessment of Industrial Clusters (CEPI) ranking system, Ramesh had banned new industries in several regions, including Vapi and Ankleshwar in Gujarat. However, in the revamped CEPI, a ban on new industries will be the exception rather than the rule.

“We are moving away from the moratorium-based approach to taking industries into confidence for reducing emissions,” explained Shekhar, adding that the CEPI parameters will be revised to analyse the impact of pollution in a more holistic manner. In a major relief to industry, the government has decided the approval to operate will be valid for five years in the most-polluting red category units, 10 years for slightly less-polluting orange category, and the cleaner green category units will require onetime approval.

Under the UPA-era system, industries in 17 critically polluting sectors come under red category for which most states give annual consent; orange needs approval every five years and green every 10-15 years. “We are doing away with the annual consent so industry owners don’t have to visit government offices again and again,” said environment minister Prakash Javadekar, adding that the categorisation of over 10,000 industries was being re-worked on the basis of overall pollution potential instead of size and effluent discharge. The ministry has in the last nine months diluted environment rules considered a hurdle by industry to drive economic growth. Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general of the Centre for Science and Environment, said these incremental changes will neither help industry nor ensure pollution abatement. “The government is not pursuing bigger reforms that can improve the environment and help industry meet green standards.”

The ministry also introduced standard terms of reference (ToRs) for conducting scoping studies for projects to reduce time needed for environmental approval from over a year to three months. Project proponents will not be required to submit their proposals before expert appraisal committees of different sectors for issuing TORs as this will happen automatically in the new mechanism after a project’s registration on the ministry’s website.