EIA Environmental Impact Assessment) is the process by which an impact analysis of a proposed project is done. Keeping in mind its socioeconomic benefit at the same time ensuring environmental protection and sustainable development. Each project which wants to undertake the activities mentioned in the EIA laws has to mandatory undergo the EIA process and obtain environmental clearance from the Government.
The new draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) 2020 proposed by the Union government is a regressive departure from the 2006 version that it seeks to replace.
An EIA makes a scientific estimate of the likely impacts of a project, such as a mine, irrigation dam, industrial unit or waste treatment plant.
There is also a provision for a public hearing at which the local community
and interested persons can give opinions and raise objections, based on
the draft EIA report prepared by experts for the project.
Subverts Public Consultation:
The notice period for public hearing has been cut from 30 days to 20 days.
This will make it difficult to study the draft EIA report, more so when it is
not widely available or provided in there regional language.
New provision for Post-facto environmental clearance
It means that the clearances for projects can be awarded even if they have
started construction without securing environmental clearances.
The ministry, instead of reducing the time for public consultation,should
focus on ensuring access to information as well as awareness about the
public hearing and its impact upon the whole EIA process.
In order to improve ease of doing business, the government should bring
down the average delay of 238 days in-granting environmental clearance,
that emanates from bureaucratic delays and complex laws.
Grow now, sustain later should not be the policy,as the notion is
dangerously tilted against the concept of sustainable development.