this is a process of forgetting, i say. do read.
So far, the three agencies monitoring air quality in the city – the Central Pollution Control Board, the Indian Meteorological Department and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee – collect and disseminate their numbers separately. The Indian Meteorological Department has digital displays across the city. The Central Pollution Control Board and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee put their numbers online.
But in the new system, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee and the Indian Meteorological Department will stop making their numbers public. Instead, their data will be sent to the Central Pollution Control Board for analysis. “Authenticated air quality information will be communicated to Delhi Pollution Control Committee on daily basis for further dissemination to the public at large,” the government statement said.
And with this, drumroll, I open my account at Scroll.in. 😉
The TSR Subramanian Committee’s report on overhauling environmental governance in India is a puzzling document. It correctly identifies environmental crises facing India and the lacunae in environmental regulations, monitoring and enforcement responsible. And goes on to outline a new architecture for clearing, monitoring and resolving disputes around projects. The report also makes, however, a set of standalone observations. Some of these are valid — like audits by independent experts to vet the forest department’s work. Others don’t seem to hold up. For instance, it says laws should be amended to ensure customs such as Nag Panchami, where cobras are caught and fed milk, are no longer prosecutable.
Belying the pessimism which surrounded its formation, a committee set up by the environment ministry has submitted a hard-hitting report. Among other things, the committee, headed by former cabinet secretary TSR Subramanian, has recommended that project approvals should be granted not by the environment ministry but by a new National Environment Management Authority (NEMA). It has also proposed that state pollution control boards (SPCBs) be merged into state-level equivalents of the NEMA and that, most importantly, they be made accountable to the Union government.
and then, there is this story on its environmental track record till now.
If environment minister Prakash Javadekar’s tweets are anything to go by, India is treading a fine balance between development and environmental protection. For instance, on May 31, shortly after taking charge at Paryavaran Bhawan, he tweeted: “The government believes in #environment and #development, and not environment vs development.” However, a look at the ministry’s major decisions between then and now suggests that in the NDA, much like the UPA, the conflict is real.
Even as the ministry of environment met its March 31 deadline to submit a plan to the Supreme Court for a new environment regulator, a set of academics, activists and environmental lawyers have weighed in with their own design. Concerned that the ministry version “would not meet the minimum standards of an independent regulatory authority”, this set, called Watchdog and Action Group for the Environment, have proposed an authority that has greater powers and independence than the design proposed by the environment ministry.
this latest development is a good one. some of the suggestions this group makes are very good. more than that, this is one step towards broadening and deepening the debate on the sort of environment authority india should have.