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CAG audit of environmental clreance process in India

Written By Gopal Krishna on Wednesday, April 05, 2017 | 1:58 AM

The Performance Audit provided in the 152 page long Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India on Environmental Clearance and Post Clearance Monitoring (Report No. 39 of 2016)  has revealed that the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) process suffers from various procedural deficiencies which led to delays in grant of environmental clearances. Each project was treated singularly for Environment Impact Assessment but cumulative impact study/assessment was found lacking. There were lack of compliance of environmental clearance conditions by Project Proponents. 

Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) is the nodal agency for the planning, promotion, co-ordination and overseeing of the implementation of India's environmental and forestry policies and programmes. In recognition of the need for ensuring protection of the environment, MoEF&CC has taken various regulatory and promotional measures which include establishment of procedures for environmental impact assessment and granting clearance for various types of projects. Environment Impact Assessment systematically examines both beneficial and adverse consequences of proposed projects and ensures that these effects are taken into account during project design. 

The report mentions that "A National Regulator for looking at the entire process of grant of environmental clearances and its monitoring is under consideration by MoEF&CC."

CAG has also noticed weaknesses in monitoring by State Pollution Control Boards/Union Territory Pollution Control Committees and Regional Offices of MoEF&CC in compliance of environmental clearance conditions. There was lack of monitoring in the Critically Polluted Areas. 
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