The following is a brief description of the laws and regulations relating to environmental protection in India.
- Constitutional Status
Article 48A of the Directive Principles of State Policy provides for the State's commitment. To protecting the environment and Article 51A(g) states that to protect and improve the natural environment shall be the fundamental duty of the citizens of India.
- Regulatory Environment Protection Laws
In observation of the Directive Principles, the Union of India has enacted the following major legislations:
The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, which is the umbrella Legislation
The Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, as amended in 1978 and 1988
The Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, as amended in 1987.
The above Acts have been substantially amended in the recent past and some of the most significant aspects of amendments are:
A consent order is now valid for 15 years or till such time there is some significant change in the process, whichever is earlier;
A consent order cannot be provided provisionally and will be obtainable only when all the pollution prevention requirements are adopted in to;
Action under these two Acts are to be taken by the respective State Pollution Control Boards.
The Forest Conservation Act, 1980
The Wildlife Preservation Act, 1982; extended to cover biosphere resources and the Hazardous Wastes (Management & Handling) Rules, 1989.
Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989
Manufacture, Use, Import, Export and Storage or Hazardous Micro organisms and Genetically Engineered Organism or Cell Rules, 1989, to regulate the storage, use, trade, transport and disposal of hazardous wastes.
The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991
The Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, amended in 1988, and
The Environment Tribunal Bill, 1992.
c. Promotional Policy Framework
The National Forest Policy, 1988
The National Conservation Strategy and Policy Statement on Environment & Development, 1992.
The policy statement for abatement of pollution, 1992
The above policy statements complement the National Water Policy and Factories Act, 1948, besides other related legislation having a bearing on resources and economic activities
The national Housing Policy, 1988, the National Water Policy, 1987 and the National Land Use Policy, 1988, recognise the importance of maintaining ecological balance.
D. Organisational Structures of the Regulating Bodies for Environment Management
The Ministry of Environment and Forests, created in 1986, is the nodal regulating agency. The Ministry has four divisions:
- Environment: The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) functions under it and this department is responsible for exercise of promotional and regulatory functions under the Water, Air and Environment Protection Acts.
- Forests and Wildlife: Wildlife preservation offices responsible for implementing the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and the Regional Offices of the MOEF for implementing the provisions of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980.
- Ganga Project Directorate
- National Afforestation and Eco-Development Board.
In addition to the above, there are various bodies and institutes under the MOEF or working with it on other areas such as research, awareness drives etc.
Other important Ministries and Departments of the Government of India looking after environment protection include:
The Ministry of Rural Development - Regeneration of bio-mass outside recorded forest areas;
The Ministries of Power, Industry and Non Conventional Energy Sources - Energy conservation and development of alternate sources of energy.
The Ministry of Water Resources - Monitoring of water quality and environment impact assessment for water resource projects.
The Ministries of Water Resources and Agriculture - watershed management;
The Ministry of Agriculture - soil conservation;
The Department of Biotechnology - technical support for ex-site conservation and bio safety;
The Ministry of Urban Development - Solid waste collection and disposal in 500 urban areas.
All the state governments looking after environment and forests collectively.
Most of the states have State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) which have a significant role to play in enforcing environmental management and pollution control as required under different laws.
E. International Agreements to which India is a Signatory
India is a signatory to six important conventions that have a direct bearing on environment protection and conservation. These are:
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITIES)
The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (the Ram Sar Convention)
The Convention on Climate Change
The Convention for Conservation of Biological Resources
The Vienna Convention / Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer
The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and the Agenda 21, which is the operational programme for sustainable development.
Two important procedures to be observed in the context of environment protection in industry are:
1. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as per a notification issued on 27 January, 1994
The EIA is statutory for 29 different activities in industry, mining, irrigation, power plants, ports and harbours, atomic power plants, railways and road highways, bridges, airport and communications.
The Central government appraises the following types of projects :
Projects which require the approval of the Public Investment Board / Planning Commission / Central Water Commission / Central Electricity Authority etc.
Projects referred to the MOEF by other ministries.
Projects which are sensitive and fall in environmentally fragile areas.
Projects under dispute.
The process to be followed is:
Project authorities are required to provide relevant information as indicated in the guidelines along with the EIA statement / environmental management plan.
After the preliminary scrutiny by the Ministry, the Appraisal Committee evaluates the impact and makes recommendations for approval, rejection or modifications in the project.
The above recommendations form the basis of the Ministry's decision regarding approval / rejection.
2. Environmental Audits:
All units seeking consent under the Water or Air Acts or Authorisation under the Hazardous Wastes (Management & Handling) Rules, beginning 1993, are required to submit environmental statements for the period ending 31 March on or before 30 September every year to the concerned SPCB.
The Central and State Pollution Control Boards are responsible for enforcing legal action against polluters.
Detailed below are the different fiscal benefits for environment protection:
Depreciation allowance at the rate of 100 per cent for installing pollution control devices.
Customs duty at reduced rates of 35 per cent plus 5 per cent auxiliary charges levied on imported equipment and spares for pollution control.
Customs duty at the reduced rate of 25 per cent and full exemption from auxiliary charges for kits required for conversion of petrol driven vehicles to compressed natural gas driven vehicles.
Excise duty at the reduced rate of 5 per cent on manufactured goods that are used for pollution control.
Excise duty exemption for bricks and blocks manufactured from fly ash and phospho-gypsum.
Exemption under section 35 CCB of the Income Tax Act is given to assessees who incur expenditure by way of payments on any sum towards association or institutions which carry out programmes for conservation of natural resources.
Financial assistance towards capital investment up to 25 per cent or Rs. 50 lakh, whichever is less, is given as subsidy to industrialists from the small scale sector for setting up common effluent treatment facilities.
Incentives in terms of rebate on water cess payable under the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution ) Cess Amendment Act,1991.
Provision of loans at reduced rates of interest by financial institutions for installing pollution control devices, for example:
Funded by the USAID (United States Agency for Industrial Development), the Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI) has a $ 25 million Trade in Environmental Services and Technologies (TEST) scheme which carries loans at 12.5 per cent with no exchange risk for the dollar assistance
Industrial pollution control projects funded by the World Bank; the Bank offers loans on concessional terms which is received by the MOEF and disbursed through different financial institutions.
ENVIRONMENTAL CLEARANCE PROCEDURES
Under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, 24 categories of projects and industries will require environmental clearance from the Central Government
In addition, any project proposed to be located within 10 km of the boundary of a reserved forest or a designated ecologically sensitive area or within 25 Kms of the boundary of a national park or sanctuary will require environmental clearance from the Central Government.
For all other projects, environmental clearance need to be obtained only at the level of the State Government. Clearance is required from the environmental (for site clearance) and pollution control angle, which has to be obtained by all units other than certain specified non-polluting units in the small scale sector.
No Objection Certificate (NOC) for the site clearance usually involves clearance from the concerned State Pollution Control Board NOC is also required for adequacy of pollution control measures.
In general, the State Pollution Control Board is the concerned authority which will be the State Pollution Control Board is the concerned authority which will usually specify certain pollution control measures to be taken by the unit.
AUTHORITIES OF STATES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL CLEARANCE
Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board
Secunderabad - 500 003.
Assam State Board for Prevention and Control of Water Pollution
Piyali Phokan Road, Rohaba
Guwahati - 781 001.
Bihar State Water Pollution Control Board
Rudra Bhawan, East Boring Canal Road
Patna - 800 001.
Gujarat Water and Air Pollution Control Board
Patnagar Old Assembly Building,
2nd Floor Sector No. 17
Gandhinagar - 382 017.
Haryana State Board for Prevention
and Control of Water Pollution
Chandigarh - 160 008.
Himachal Pradesh State Board for Prevention
and Control of Water Pollution
Shimla - 171 002.
Jammu & Kashmir State Board for Environmental
Improvement & Ecology Department
Div. Planning and Development
Jammu / Srinagar.
Karnataka State Pollution Control Board
7th and 8th Floors Public Utility Building
Mahatma Gandhi Road
Bangalore - 560 001.
Kerala State Pollution Control Board
Tiruvanandhapuram - 694 003.
Madhya Pradesh State Pollution Control Board
Paryavacan Parisar, Sector E-5
Maharashtra State Pollution Control Board
Army and Navy Building
148, M.G.Road Fort
Bombay - 400 001.
Orissa State Pollution Control Board
Bhubaneshwar - 751 014.
Punjab State Board for Prevention and
Control of Water Pollution
11-A, The Mall
Rajasthan State Board for Prevention and
Control of Water Pollution
J-2/35, Mahaveer Marg
Department of Environment (Sikkim)
Mahatma Gandhi Road
Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board
80, Kamarajar Salai
Ramakrishna Nagar R.A.Puram
Madras - 600 028.
Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board
B-159, Nirala Nagar
Lucknow - 226 007.
West Bengal Prevention and Control of Water Pollution Board
Industry House, 10,
Calcutta - 700 017.
Directorate of Smoke Nuisance
60-B, Chowringhee Road
Calcutta - 700 020.
Department of Environment (Delhi)
Government of India
Central Board for the Prevention and
Control of Water Pollution (Delhi)
A-1, Chandra House
Dr. Mukherjee Nagar
New Delhi - 110 009.
Central Board for the Prevention and
Control of Water Pollution (Goa)
Dhavali Mal Ponda
Goa - 403 408.
Central Board for the Prevention and Control of
Water Pollution (Pondicherry)
Pondicherry - 605 011.
Environmental Restrictions for SSI Sector
Environmental clearances procedure for small scale industries have been rationalised and simplified except in the case of 17 hazardous industries.
Now a mere acknowledgment of the application by the State Environment Board would be sufficient.
Seventeen hazardous items are
Fermentation and Distillery
Iron and Steel
Pulp and Paper
Dye and Dye intermediaries
Pesticides manufacturing and formulation
Basic Drugs and Pharmaceuticals