Status of EIA in India
INTRODUCTION: Environment Impact Assessment (EIA)
- EIA initiated in late 70s as administrative requirement.
- EIA Notification, 1994 mandated 32 Categories of Projects / Processes for environmental clearance.
- Re-engineered EIA Notification, 2006 superseded the EIA Notification, 1994.
- Project level EIAs are practiced in India.
Identified constraints in EC Process under EIA Notification, 1994:
- Cumbersome Procedure
- Disproportionate details sought with applications
- Delay in appraisal meetings
- Time consuming and requiring undue effort
- Reopening of technical issues during various stages of appraisal
- Desirable quality of EIA reports
- Delays by other concerned agencies
Identified Factors for Delay in Decision Making: Inadequate documentation and desirable quality of EIA report, which inter-alia include:
- Incomplete, inconsistent and outdated baseline data;
- Inadequate coverage of issues; like optimization of natural resources, hydrogeological changes, biological environment, risk analysis and social issues.
EIA Notification, 2006: Objectives: To formulate a transparent decentralized and efficient regulatory mechanism to:
- Incorporate necessary environmental safeguards at planning stage;
- Involve stakeholders in the Public Consultation Process;
- Identify Developmental Projects based on Impact Potential instead of the investment criteria.
- Salient Features of EIA Notification, 2006:
- Categorization of projects into ‘A and ‘B’ Category based on impact potential
- Scoping of projects for prescribing TORs
- Decentralization of Appraisal Process
- More structured Public consultation
- Time limits prescribed for each step
- NOC from other Regulatory Agencies not a pre-requisite.
Time frame for Appraisal of Projects:
- 60 days for prescribing TORs
- 45 days for completing Public Hearing
- 105 days for Environmental Appraisal and communicating the decision.
Initiatives taken for Effective EIA:
- Constitution of Sector specific Expert Appraisal
- Committees (EACs)
- Constituted State Level Environment Impact
- Assessment Authorities and Committees
Holding of regular and longer duration EAC Meetings.