Friday, March 13, 2015

India - Government proposes an omnibus law to amalgamate laws related to the environment, air and water into a single legislation, as recommended by Subramanian Committee - Material Conservation through Corrosion Control is yet to find a place in these laws.

NEW DELHI: The government is proposing an omnibus law to regulate the environment — incorporating all the acts that govern environment protection, water and air — that it hopes to have ready for introduction during the current session of Parliament.

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.

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Publication Date: 09 March 2015

1 comment:

  1. It is good to note the unification of environment, air and water laws into a single legislation for conserving the natural resources. There are several measures undertaken by various agencies to minimise the impacts on these areas. But corrosion of materials is one of the major concerns completely neglected in our country. Worldwide surveys show the significant loss in national economy through corrosion losses. It affects the integrity of assets and poses not only economic concerns, but also safety threats to various stakeholders including the public. Actually, it starts at the miniature level of personal use of appliances and exponentially grows to the macro level of industrial manufacturing processes and distribution. We come across numerous incidents of corrosion induced water pipeline leakages on daily basis and oil/gas/chemical leak on intermittent basis. Only the leak frequency changes, but the damage is sizeable in terms of inventory, health, social and economic means. We do not find reference for corrosion in environmental regulations. None of the environment, water and air acts address the concerns associated with corrosion. We need Corrosion Prevention act to encourage control efforts on minimising the impacts on environment and conserve the precious material resources including water.


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