The proposed law will not address wildlife protection, forests and forest conservation — the government will instead amend the existing laws to bring them up to date. Laws related to the environment, air and water were legislated over 12 years and the attempt is to amalgamate them into a single legislation, as recommended by the Subramanian Committee, a senior official said. The ministry is seeking legal advice to consider the feasibility of a single law to regulate the environment.
"We will come up with final ideas of what is acceptable," said environment minister Prakash Javadekar. The ministry is targeting the Budget session to introduce the law in Parliament. "This session spills over to April May as well. I am working on two or three contingency plans. If I can bring about all comprehensive changes in one go — that's the best case scenario, but you can't rush through it. Then there is Plan B and that is to take immediate steps.
It's about bringing in some changes, which are immediately necessary and comprehensive changes later. By March end, the picture will be clear," Javadekar said. Whether or not the ministry succeeds in finalising the proposed legislative changes over the next two months, Javadekar is categorical that he will not take the ordinance route.
At present, four laws — Environment Protection Act, 1986, the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977provide the framework for considering approvals for industrial projects and developmental activities. The ministry plans to amend the Wildlife Protection Act to bring it in line with international agreements such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
"An amendment bill to bring the wildlife legislation with CITES is pending in Parliament. We plan to withdraw that bill, make the changes that need to bring it up to date," the official said. The ministry also plans to amend the Indian Forest Act, 1927. The amendments to this law introduced by the previous UPA government in 2012 related to forests and forest produce and addressed the issue of compounding fines, which were still at the 1927 levels, to reduce friction between forest officials and the people dependent on forests for their livelihood.
Article Source: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/government-proposes-an-omnibus-law-to-regulate-the-environment/articleshow/46498048.cms
Publication Date: 09 March 2015