Subramanian committee headed by former Cabinet Secretary T S R Subramanian is a four member high-level committee which was appointed by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change for the purpose of reviewing environmental laws.
Laws reviewed under Subramanian committee
The committee, headed by the former cabinet secretary T S R Subramanian, was constituted in August 2014 in order to review the key environment laws like Forest Conservation Act of 1980, Environment Protection Act of 1986, Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, the Water Prevention and Control of Pollution Act of 1974 and the Air Prevention and Control of Pollution Act of 1981. These laws were reviewed in order to bring them in line in accordance with the current scenario and objectives. The Indian Forest Act of 1927 was another act which was added to the list of laws for the committee to review. This law is based on the colonial law, which governs the forest administration of India.
Recommendations by Subramanian committee
In the recommendation by Subramanian committee, it suggested single window clearance mechanism for green nods. The committee submitted its reports with recommendations after studying all the above environment laws. Among those recommendations, some recommendations are as follows:
To evaluate project clearance in a timely manner, the committee has asked for setting a full-time expert body, National Environmental Management Authority at the Center and State Environmental Management Authority , which will play a pivotal role as the authorities in order to process applications for green clearance. Under these Existing Central Pollution Control Board and corresponding State agencies will also come under.
In order to benefit community in huge amount along with power and mining projects and projects of national importance, the committee recommended fast tracking processes for linear projects.
The committee also recommended the use of national GIS enabled environmental information data base, which would assist both the project proponent and several scrutinizing agencies in order to obtain authentic data which are in fact very important for decision making on an application.
A fast track procedure for linear projects like roads, railways and transmission lines, power and mining projects and several other Projects of national importance also been prescribed in the new plan.
These recommendations were suggested after the committee observed that the corporate seek short cuts to get clearance for their environment projects.
Some other Recommendations
The Subramanian committee also recommended no change in the IFA and FCA.
It also proposes the clubbing of the Water Act and Air Act with EPA.
The Subramanian committee focuses on removing the duplication in the process of environmental clearances in their reports. In the report submitted by the committee, it said that the country’s major problems are related to the weakness in the implementation of various Policies and Acts. According to the report, it states that the there is no satisfactory conditions of the in the current environmental governance and the policy tools currently deployed in the management of various sectors.
The Committee also put stress on the satellite Imagery. It states that the GIS reference maps, combined with use of multilayer data captured through satellite imagery for relief and topography, hydrology, including underground water resources, soil characteristics and settlement patterns would be used for preliminary screening and speedy process of project clearance applications.
In the report, a new concept of the good faith has been included, which ensures the clearance of the applicant should be legal. It also stated that under the case of the suppression of facts or misrepresentation of facts, the person is reliable to severe penalty and will be subjected to the imprisonment of 7 years and even penalty, in the form of finance. The motive of this recommendation was to reduce the Inspector Raj.
At the same time, the Subramanian committee also proposed the Indian Environment Service in order to bring in the application of high-end technology in environment governance.
The Subramanian committee also recommendation the set up of Indian Environment Service in order to bring qualified and skilled human resource in the environment sector!
In fact, the Subramanian committee highlighted several important parts and recommendation along with high level and futuristic suggestion in order to bring in the best for the environment of the country.