India Is Back To A Time Before The Bhopal Gas Tragedy

I wrote today’s piece — for Article 14 — after reading a comparison between the draft Environmental Impact Assessment Notification (2020) and its forerunner, the 2006 notification. Such analysis is problematic. It suffers from what George Monbiot called the ‘Shifting Baseline Syndrome’ — of assuming what we inherited was ‘normal’ and everything thereafter is a […]

No city is an island: Lessons from Delhi’s odd-even experiment

The Delhi government’s 15-day odd-even initiative to contain vehicular emissions has made little or no difference to air quality in the capital, The Hindu reported last week. The report claims that peak pollution levels during the first week of the scheme – which moved cars with odd licence plates off the streets on alternate days […]

A new threat for Delhi’s air quality monitoring systems

On Tuesday, the Indian government announced a big change in how the people of Delhi get their air quality data. So far, the three agencies monitoring air quality in the city – the Central Pollution Control Board, the Indian Meteorological Department and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee – collect and disseminate their numbers separately. The Indian […]

a closer look at the tsr subramanian committee report

The TSR Subramanian Committee’s report on overhauling environmental governance in India is a puzzling document. It correctly identifies environmental crises facing India and the lacunae in environmental regulations, monitoring and enforcement responsible. And goes on to outline a new architecture for clearing, monitoring and resolving disputes around projects. The report also makes, however, a set […]

on the tsr subramanian committee report

Belying the pessimism which surrounded its formation, a committee set up by the environment ministry has submitted a hard-hitting report. Among other things, the committee, headed by former cabinet secretary TSR Subramanian, has recommended that project approvals should be granted not by the environment ministry but by a new National Environment Management Authority (NEMA). It […]

modi sarkar and its env/dev record

and then, there is this story on its environmental track record till now. If environment minister Prakash Javadekar’s tweets are anything to go by, India is treading a fine balance between development and environmental protection. For instance, on May 31, shortly after taking charge at Paryavaran Bhawan, he tweeted: “The government believes in #environment and […]

the environment ministry tries to weaken the proposed environment authority…

Tasked by the Supreme Court with creating a new and independent environment authority, the Ministry of Environment & Forests wants to retain its say in choosing the panel of experts to vet projects, a Cabinet note on the matter shows. This is a change from its earlier position, where the ministry said it would relinquish […]

an update on the proposed environment regulator

India’s environmental clearance process is universally loathed. Industry and technocrats find it cumbersome and corrupt, and blame it for project delays and slowing growth. Environmentalists and project-affected people consider it superficial, corrupt and given to approving virtually all projects, unmindful of their social and environmental costs. Both views are correct. India’s environmental clearance (EC) process […]

the expert non-appraisal committee

Monday’s order by the Gujarat High Court directing 12 units in the Mundra SEZ of the Adani Group to temporarily stop operations till the SEZ receives an environmental clearance is yet another indictment of the environment and forest ministry. The order, besides hauling up the Adani Group for allotting land to companies even before obtaining […]

the latest update on l’affaire adani ports, moef and sunita narain…

Adani Ports and SEZ has challenged the environment ministry’s decision to impose penalties on it for environmental violations, setting the stage for a faceoff between the government and the company, possibly even a legal battle. In a letter to the ministry dated October 14, a copy of which has been viewed by ET, APSEZ has […]

in which the environment ministry decides to ignore its own laws…

By slapping a Rs 200-crore penalty on the Adani Group for environmental violations, the ministry of environment and forests may be breaking its own laws, say environmental lawyers. According to Delhi-based environmental lawyer Ritwick Dutta, the two laws that define the penal framework for such violations — the Environment Protection Act (EPA) and the Environment […]

The Act That Disagreed With Its Preamble

I have waited the longest time to upload this. I had spent all of 2009 studying the drafting of the “Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006. I finished writing it. Sent the paper to a journal called Conservation And Society. Got busy with my job at the Economic […]

My first book review in Seminar!!!! Yay!!!!

the september issue of seminar (issue #613, titled ‘nature without borders’) has this book review by me. **** INDIA’S NOTIFIED ECOLOGICALLY SENSITIVE AREAS (ESAs): The Story So Far by Meenakshi Kapoor, Kanchi Kohli and Manju Menon. Kalpavriksh and WWF-India, Delhi, 2009. THE draft National Environmental Tribunal Bill prepared in 2008 sought to dissolve all authorities set up […]

Enter, NEPA

The environment ministry will, in the coming monsoon session, place a Bill for creating the National Environment Protection Authority (Nepa), an authority modelled on the lines of the US Environmental Protection Agency. What is less clear is whether this body will be a powerful watchdog, or a toothless old hound. environmental governance in India has […]

a problem with multilateral environmental agreements

i read a very interesting paper this morning on the weaknesses of multilateral environmental agreements like CITES, the montreal protocol (think ozone) and the convention on biological diversity. as david humphreys, the author of forest politics and logjam, points out in a paper called public goods, neoliberalism and the crisis of deforestation (pdf), multilateral agreements view the […]

A process of confrontation: An enquiry into the processes of environmental policy-making in India.

i cannot but marvel at the 45 days gone by. i submitted my dissertation. with that, my year long stint at sussex ended. between wrenching goodbyes to my friends there, i spent a week rambling around london trying to sate the hick tourist in me. i saw, among other things, darwin’s grave, the terracotta army […]

the evolution of china’s environmental policy

The latest issue of Conservation and Society is out. And it contains an interesting account of the evolution of China’s environment policy by the Peking University’s Maohong Bao. For instance, did you know that… “Since China’s leadership purported to employ the mechanism of unified planning with due consideration for all aspects of the economy and the society, which was […]