Environmental Clearances and Monitoring in India

Report card for the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change

Summary: Vidhi analysed the environmental impact assessment process for 550 projects. While the time taken to grant approval has reduced, the quality of appraisal remains poor in 58% of the projects.

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.