Kumar Sambhav Shrivastava reports: The National Board of Wildlife, the highest advisory body to the government on wildlife issues, has cleared more industrial projects in and around wildlife habitats in past two years of NDA rule than what its predecessor UPA-II did in its entire tenure of five years, shows the data compiled by CSE.
Ministry of Environment
Two years of NDA government have meant a mixed bag for environmental governance in India, according to a performance review by the non-profit Centre for Science and Environment, While there was commendable progress on pollution control and waste management, forest governance took on a more industry-centric approach and the Paris Agreement was a missed opportunity.
The Centre has endorsed various states’ move to list wild animals – elephants in Bengal, monkeys in Uttarakhand, peacocks in Goa and nilgai in Bihar – as ‘vermin’, allowing them to be culled. With human-animal conflict once again in under the lens, we present a selection of articles that examine both sides of the story.
In his recent monthly address on radio, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “there’s close linkage between drought and environmental degradation and there’s a need for a mass movement to save forests and to conserve every drop of water.” The statement does recognise the problem but do the government’s policies and its implementation reflect these concerns?
This March, the central government set the ball rolling on a new set of rules intended, supposedly, to protect India’s wetlands. In this special feature, we present articles that look at the state of wetlands, and critically examine the new legislation, which many fear is a case of the cure being worse than the disease.
Nachiket Kelkar writes: This Bill plans to convert 106 rivers and creeks across India into waterway canals, purportedly for ‘eco-friendly transport’ of cargo, coal, industrial raw materials, and tourism. Unfortunately there is no debate on the high ecological and social risks the NWB poses to riverine biodiversity and local resources through such irreversible engineering controls.
India’s environment minister Prakash Javadekar has been constantly in news, and not always for the right reasons. Under fire for diluting environmental protection mechanisms, critics have in the past labelled him ‘minister for environmental clearances’ for favouring industry over the environment. As the Narendra Modi government completes two years, here’s a look at Javadekar’s chequered record.
Outlook Magazine Mangroves in peril Navi Mumbai airport site How The NDA Is Whittling Down Green Norms Change in definition of no-go area in dense forest, leaving more area open for project Keeping powers with the Centre to even allow projects in ‘no-go areas’ of dense forests Proposal to allow firms to take over afforestation,
Sajai Jose As Greenpeace India struggles to stay afloat, the real reason why the government wants to shut down the global environmental NGO hasn’t got much attention: Coal, the single biggest source of primary energy in India, is at the heart of the Narendra Modi government’s ambitious plans to ramp up industrial production in the country. Source: World Resources Institute
Rohini Mohan reports: In under a year, the Modi government has begun to undo policies of fair land acquisition, undermine environmental protection and reverse the fight for tribal rights. The finance, environment and rural-development ministers, and Modi himself, have called these safeguards to protect people’s property, the environment and tribal rights “roadblocks” to economic growth.
Basudev Mahapatra writes: Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, has “delinked forest clearance from clearance by the National Wild Life Board and halved NBWL clearance requirements from 10km to 5km around forest reserves, besides emasculating the Board by replacing eminent experts and concerned NGOs with rubber stamps. He has also relaxed procedures of the Forest Conservation Act.
Basic protections to safeguard the environment, that were not particularly strong to begin with, are being wiped out. While in general, faster moving transparent government processes are required, the Modi government’s predilection for protecting private corporations at the expense of public welfare, does not bode well for the environment nor the well-being of India’s peoples.
Kabir Arora writes: According to Modi, it is not climate which is changing, it is humans who have changed. And for the same reason, a meagre Rs. 100 Cr. have been set aside for climate change adaptation. Yes Mr. PM, humans have changed a lot, and have made climate far more variable than ever before.
Jay Mazoomdar writes: Narendra Modi does mean business. So his government has gone about eliminating the policy paralyses that many claimed ailed the previous regime. This meant dismantling roadblocks that hamper economic growth. But here is what also happens to be under fire: laws and rules that safeguard India’s environment, forests, wildlife, and tribal rights.
Papri Sri Raman reports: The new environment minister, Prakash Javadekar, met Defense Minister Jaitley on June 10 and later announced a policy that would enable India’s border states with Pakistan, China and Burma to clear defense projects falling within 100kms of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), without approaching the union government for environment clearances.
Avay Shukla writes: The most disappointing and worrying aspect of the recent elections, for me, has been the almost complete absence of any debate or discussion on the environment. Some political parties, the BJP included, did make weak proforma noises about it in their manifestos but there was no mention of it in their campaigning.
The lion, tiger, turtle, butterfly, orchid, mudskipper and one-horned rhino will need every helping hand to survive the development ambitions of a nation that believes that economic ambitions can be fulfilled at the cost of its wildernesses. We know that’s not possible and hope that you will move us away from the subcontinent’s biological-climate precipice.
Jay Mazoomdar writes: In its “classified” report titled ‘Impact of NGOs on Development’ sent to a host of government offices including the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), on June 3, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) has named a long list of organizations and activists under its watch, from well-known environmental and anti-nuclear groups to little-known localized outfits.