The Green Hour (Vol. 1, Issue I)
A report on Parliamentary proceedings on environmental matters in the Winter Session 2022
The report provides insight into the developments on environment-related matters in the parliament’s winter session (December 2022). The findings in the report aim to provide information on environmental matters in a more accessible form for public participation. The information is collated from official sources and presented in a lucid way to allow readers to understand both the parliamentary process and the environmental issues discussed.
In Chapter I, we provide an overview of the scope of the report and why there is a necessity for such research. In Chapter II, we decode the response of the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (“MoEFCC”) to the questions filed with it by various Members of Parliament (“MPs”). The chapter also provides information about the States/Union Territories and MPs who are active about the environment. For empirical analysis, the responses by the MoEFCC are categorised into ten broad themes. The chapter also gives more profound insight into the themes which occupied the most space in the questions by MPs for the MoEFCC.
In Chapter III, we discuss the two government bills approved by the parliament in this session: Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill 2022 (“WPA Bill”) and Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill 2022 (“ECA Bill”). We covered the discussion on WPA by elaborating on the four broad subjects most MPs addressed in their speech: elephants, human-wildlife conflict, displacement of local communities, and declaration of wild animals as vermin. For ECA Bill, we discussed the issues MPs raised on the authority of the Ministry of Power to introduce the Bill. Many MPs argued that MoEFCC should have introduced the ECA Bill given its effect on climate change issues.
Chapter IV explores other parliamentary interventions available to MPs to raise issues of importance. This analysis shows how often environmental matters were raised in both houses of the parliament. The analysis reveals the subjects and issues that MPs put forward for the consideration of the MoEFCC. The chapter also provides insights into local issues raised by MPs for their constituency or state.
In Chapter V, the report enumerates a list of the new bills introduced in the winter session by government and private members. The chapter elucidates the broad objective of these bills.
The following are the key highlights of the winter session of the parliament:
- Responses of MoEFCC in the Parliament during Question Hour
- In total, the government answered 5274 questions in both houses of the parliament, wherein 2274 were in Rajya Sabha (“RS”) and 3000 in Lok Sabha (“LS”). Out of these, 205 (3.9%) questions were responded to by MoEFCC- 71 in the LS and 134 in the RS.
- Bills Discussed and Passed by the Parliament
- WPA and ECA Bill 2022 were debated and passed in RS on 8th and 12th December 2022, respectively. Both the bills were passed by LS in the Monsoon Session (July-August 2022).
- Interventions by MPs to Raise Environmental Matters
- Four types of parliamentary interventions were analysed in the report. For LS, Zero Hour and Rule 377 notices were looked at, and for RS, Zero Hour and Special Mention notices were looked at.
- In LS, 12 out of 374 Zero Hour notices and 15 out of 298 Rule 377 interventions were on matters of environmental importance.
- In RS, 10 of 109 Zero Hour notices and 14 of 206 Special Mention notices were of environmental importance.
- New Bills Introduced in the Parliament
- Ministry of Commerce and Industry introduced the Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2022, wherein it sought to decriminalise offenses under 3 key environmental legislations-Environment (Protection) Act, 1986; Indian Forest Act, 1927; and Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
- 5 Private Members’ Bills were introduced in both houses of the parliament.
The next issue of The Green Hour will be released after the budget session. We would love your feedback and suggestion at firstname.lastname@example.org.