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Social Impact Study to be Made Compulsory Besides Environmental Study for Clearance: Javadekar

The Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change (Independent Charge), Shri Prakash Javadekar addressing at the inauguration of a workshop on ‘Environmental Impact Assessment – Challenges in India and Way Forward’, New Delhi on April 25, 2015.

The Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change (Independent Charge), Shri Prakash Javadekar addressing at the inauguration of a workshop on ‘Environmental Impact Assessment – Challenges in India and Way Forward’, New Delhi on April 25, 2015.(PIB Photo)

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said the Centre will soon implement an easy online mechanism to transfer funds to States under the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) and apart from the required environmental study, the social impact study will be made compulsory in all applications.

Social impact assessment (SIA) is a methodology to review the social effects of infrastructure projects and other development interventions. An offshoot of  the environmental impact assessment (EIA) model, it first emerged in the 1970s in the US, as a way to assess the impacts on society of projects such as new roads, industrial facilities, mines, dams, ports, airports, and other infrastructure projects.

Javadekar announced the possible implementation of social impact study clause in giving nod to environmental clearance to major projects in the country, which is hitherto confined to Scandinavian countries, while opening a workshop in New Delhi on Saturday. He promised that that the delivery status of over 2,000 online applications for clearances would be taken up for speedy evaluation soon.

“I am going to see the delivery status of 2,200 online applications which are with us… It would be evaluated within one month,” he assured applicants while opening a one-day workshop on “Environmental Impact Assessment: Challenges in India and Way Forward” in the capital on Saturday.

Javadekar also informed that a statutory procedures will be formulated to transfer funds under CAMPA to the states for “aggressive afforestation”. He hoped that compliance with new technology would impart more accountability on recipient states.

Stressing the need to simplify the granting approvals, the minister said the cases must be decided solely on the basis of merit. “The need to reduce timelines for various projects and right conditions to be prescribed that are reasonable, practical, real and need-based,” he added.

The minister said the recent formulation of Standard Terms of Reference (STR) in 39 sectors includes not only the standard environmental impact study but also makes the study of social impact compulsory, in view of the global demand by subaltern economists to compulsorily study the social impact of projects.

The minister sought the stakeholders to give suggestions on the accreditation process and promised that the pending 2,200 online applications for environmental clearance would be done within a month.

Dr. Prodipto Ghosh, former Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forest, Shri Adil Zainulbhai, Chairman, Quality Control of India and Dr. P.B Rastogi, Director, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change also addressed the gathering.

The One-day Workshop is being jointly organized by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Quality Control of India, QCI and National Accreditation Board of Education and Training, NABET.

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