EEIA: Assessment Notification

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has revamped the Environment Impact Assessment Notification to take into account the changes and amendments which are relevant to the orders issued by the court in the year 2006. The redraft is also done to make the entire Environment Impact Process a way for transparent one.

EIA is a process which used to analyse the effects of any infrastructure or industrial project which takes place for the environment. The core object of EIA to evaluate the environments projects which have an economic or social impact.

Key Changes & Issues regarding Draft EIA Notification 2020

Re-Categorisation of Projects: The draft EIA Notification 2020 re-categorises all the projects and activities related to the production of bulk drugs and intermediates for several ailments from ‘A’ category to ‘B2’ category.

Clearance Post-facto: The draft states that the projects or activities can receive clearance post-facto. It implies that those projects can also seek clearance that violate the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (EPA). However, the Supreme Court order dated 1 April states such clearances are against the law.

Exemption of projects: The new draft exempts various projects from the EIA including the “strategic” projects labeled by Government, national highways and inland waterways projects. The Draft EIA states that such projects will be placed in public domain.

Issue regarding time allotted for public comments: These have also been issues regarding the timeline announced to invite public comments  on the Draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification 2020. Earlier, the last date for public comment was June 30. The Delhi High Court has extended the date to August 11.

Exemption to Construction Projects up to 150,000 sq m: The Draft also exempts up to 150,000 sq m construction projects from the assessment. These projects can now gain environment clearance after scrutiny by state-level expert appraisal committee. Earlier, the exemption was granted to construction projects of up to 20,000 sq. m or above.

Karnataka High Court stays publication of EIA Notification 2020: The Karnataka High Court has stayed the publication of EIA Notification 2020 till September 7. The ruling came on a PIL filed by United Conservation Movement Charitable and Welfare Trust (UCMCWT), seeking to translate the draft in all the 22 regional languages mentioned in Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. The PIL also seeks to extend the last data of receiving comments to December 31, 2020.

What is Environment Impact Assessment (EIA)?

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process that assesses the effect of a newly proposed industrial or infrastructural projects on the environment. The EIA prevents the approval and initiation of any project without proper supervision.

What are objectives of the EIA?

  • Identify & evaluate environmental, social and economic impacts of projects
  • Predicts environmental consequences of projects
  • Ensure environmentally sound & sustainable development

What is EIA Process?

Screening –> Scoping –> Public Hearing –> Appraisal

When was first EIA Notification issued?

The Indian Government issued the 1st Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification in the year 1994 under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (EPA). This notification was replaced by amended draft in 2006, which is valid up till now. Both the notifications performed the similar function of evaluating the impact of projects on environment.