Environmental Clearances and Monitoring in India: Report Card for the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change

Reports by Vidhi Aid · June 30, 2017
Author(s): Debadityo Sinha and Dhvani Mehta

One of the biggest challenges facing environmental law in India today is a weak implementation framework. Although laws, rules and regulations abound, compliance and enforcement are poor, with grave consequences for the environment and the rule of law. This is exacerbated by a lack of transparency-information about violations is hard to come by, making it more difficult to hold authorities accountable.

This Report Card for the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) is an attempt to make more information of this kind available. We have analysed over 550 environmental clearances granted by the MoEFCC to assess the performance of its duties under the Environment Impact Assessment Notification against three parameters-speed, quality of appraisal and post-clearance monitoring. Our findings demonstrate that although the time taken for granting environmental clearances has significantly reduced, there are still serious deficiencies in the quality of appraisal and a neglect of monitoring duties by the MoEFCC.

Environmental Clearances and Monitoring in India: Download the Full Report

About Debadityo Sinha:

Debadityo is a Senior Resident Fellow in Vidhi Aid. At Vidhi, he is working on air pollution regulations and environmental clearance process in India. He graduated in 2009 with a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Zoology from the University of Delhi, and thereafter in 2012, completed M.Sc. (Tech.) in Environmental Science and Technology from Banaras Hindu University. Before joining Vidhi, Debadityo has worked with the Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment as Program Officer and has also done independent projects on environment and wildlife protection in collaboration with WWF-India and Environment Equity and Justice Partnership. He is founder and trustee of Vindhyan Ecology and Natural History Foundation, Board Member of EKOenergy network and is a recipient of the Sanctuary Wildlife Service award 2019.

About Dhvani Mehta:

Dr. Dhvani Mehta {B.L.S. LL.B. (University of Mumbai); BCL, D.Phil (Oxon)} is a Senior Resident Fellow and Team Lead of the Vidhi Aid initiative, where she works on environmental and health regulation, medical ethics and the right to education. She has worked specifically on research projects on environmental clearances, the National Green Tribunal, organ transplant laws, end of life care, and pharmaceutical and medical device regulation. She has appeared in the Supreme Court of India in petitions filed by Vidhi on advance medical directives and discrimination against persons affected by leprosy. She has authored chapters on the implementation of environmental judgments and healthcare corruption in India. Dhvani read for a doctoral degree at the University of Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, where she was Chairperson of Oxford Pro Bono Publico and an editor of the Oxford Human Rights Hub blog. Her doctoral thesis explores the idea of an environmental rule of law in India and was cited by the Supreme Court of India.