Over the years, there has been an increasing consciousness
and realisation that environmental quality and economic development are
complementary and not mutually exclusive. This is because, with technological
advancements, environmental challenges are also on rise. As a result,
there is a need to bring about necessary changes in the industrial and
agricultural production patterns, utility services, consumer behaviour
and life styles of the people keeping in view our social and developmental
priorities for conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.
Hence, environmental regulations and standards have been set up by environmental
bodies world around. Indian industry and business too are under increasing
pressure of meeting these environmental standards and regulations.
Recognising the importance of environment, its protection
has been given a Constitutional status. The 'Directive Principles of State
Policy' state that, it is the duty of the State 'to protect and improve
the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country'.
It is also the 'Fundamental duty' of every citizen 'to protect and improve
the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife'.
In India, the Ministry
of Environment and Forests (MoEF) is the apex administrative body
for :- (i) regulating and ensuring environmental protection; (ii) formulating
the environmental policy framework in the country; (iii) undertaking conservation
& survey of flora, fauna, forests and wildlife; and (iv) planning,
promotion, co-ordination and overseeing the implementation of environmental
and forestry programmes. The Ministry is also the Nodal agency in the
country for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The organizational
structure of the Ministry covers number of Divisions,
Directorate, Board, Subordinate
Institutions, and Public
Sector Undertakings to assist it in achieving all these objectives.
Besides, the responsibility for prevention and control
of industrial pollution is primarily executed by the
Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) at the Central Level, which
is a statutory authority, attached to the MoEF. The State Departments
of Environment and State Pollution Control Boards are the designated agencies
to perform this function at the State Level.
Central government has enacted several laws for environmental protection.
Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, is the umbrella legislation which
authorizes the Central Government to protect and improve environmental
quality, control and reduce pollution from all sources, and prohibit or
restrict the setting and /or operation of any industrial facility on environmental
grounds. According to the Act, the term "environment" includes water,
air and land and the inter- relationship which exists among and between
water, air and land, and human beings, other living creatures, plants,
micro-organism and property.
The main provisions of the Act are:-
- The Central Government shall have the power to take
all such measures as it deems necessary or expedient for the purpose
of protecting and improving the quality of the environment and preventing,
controlling and abating environmental pollution.
- No person carrying on any industry, operation or process
shall discharge or emit any environmental pollutants or permit to do
so in excess of such standards as may be prescribed.
- Where the discharge of any environmental pollutant in
excess of the prescribed standards occurs or is apprehended to occur
due to any accident or other unforeseen act or event, the person responsible
for such discharge and the person in charge of the place at which such
discharge occurs or is apprehended to occur, shall be bound to prevent
or mitigate the environmental pollution caused as a result of such discharge
and shall also forthwith intimate the fact of such occurrence or apprehension
of such occurrence; and be bound, if called upon, to render all assistance
to such authorities or agencies as may be prescribed.
- No person shall handle or cause to be handled any hazardous
substance except in accordance with such procedure and after complying
with such safeguards as may be prescribed.
- The Central Government or any officer empowered by it
in this behalf, shall have power to take, for the purpose of analysis,
samples of air, water, soil or other substance from any factory, premises
or other place in such manner as may be prescribed.
- The Central Government may, by notification in the Official
Gazette, establish one or more environmental laboratories; and recognise
one or more laboratories or institutes as environmental laboratories
to carry out the functions entrusted to an environmental laboratory
under this Act.
- Whoever fails to comply with or contravenes any of the
provisions of this Act, or the rules made or orders or directions issued
thereunder, shall, in respect of each such failure or contravention,
be punishable with imprisonment or with fine or with both.
The other important environmental legislations may be categorised
A comprehensive policy framework has also been developed
to complement the legislative provisions. The most important being the
Environment Policy - 2006
. The policy is in response to our national
commitment to a clean environment mandated in the Constitution. It is
intended to mainstream environmental concerns in all development activities.
It briefly describes the key environmental challenges currently and prospectively
facing the country, the objectives of the policy, normative principles
underlying policy action, broad indications of the legislative and institutional
development needed to accomplish the strategic themes, and mechanisms
for implementation and review. It also seeks to stimulate partnerships
of different stakeholders i.e. public agencies, local communities, academic
and scientific institutions, the investment community, and international
development partners in harnessing their respective resources and strengths
for environmental management.
Also, several sector-specific policies have been evolved,
the major being:-
Also, an Environmental
Information System (ENVIS) has been established as a plan programme
and as a comprehensive network in environmental information collection,
collation, storage, retrieval and dissemination to varying users. The
focus of ENVIS since inception has been on providing this environmental
information to decision makers, policy planners, scientists and engineers,
research workers, etc all over the country. ENVIS has developed itself
with a network of participating institutions/organisations. A large number
of nodes, known as ENVIS
Centres, have been established in this network to cover the broad
subject areas of environment with the focal point at the Ministry of Environment
and Forest. These Centres have been set up in the areas of pollution control,
toxic chemicals, central and offshore ecology, environmentally sound and
appropriate technology, bio-degradation of wastes and environment management,
The responsibility of the ENVIS Centres and Nodes are:-
- Establishment of linkages with all information sources,
and creation of data bank on selected parameters in the subject area
- Identification of information gaps.
- Publish newsletters and Bulletins.
- Develop library facility and provide support to the focal
point on the subject area.
- Serve as an interface for the users on the assigned subject.
International Cooperation and Agreements on Environmental
India is a signatory to a number of multilateral environment
agreements (MEAs) and conventions.
Co-operation & Sustainable Development Division (IC&SD) is
the nodal point within the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF)
to co-ordinate all international environmental cooperation and sustainable
development issues. It is also the nodal division for United Nations Environment
Programme (UNEP),Nairobi; South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme
(SACEP), Colombo. The Division also handles bilateral issues and matters
pertaining to multilateral bodies such as the Commission on Sustainable
Development; Environment Support Programme of UNDP under Country Cooperation
Framework-1; Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the regional bodies
like Economic & Social Commission for Asia & Pacific (ESCAP);
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC); European Union
(EU) and the India Canada Environment Facility. The major agreements and