What is a world without its environment? Nothing to be exact. Nature has been a providing source for us in the sense that it offers an abundance of resources to develop our nation. The growing needs of the population are, however directly impacting the current condition of the environment. Our attitude towards the environment, howrver, has been so careless and reckless that now it is at a very poor level.
We have always been selfish about our needs. The fast paced growth of our country is directly hampering the environment. The reluctant behaviour of the people has led to the introduction of many problems, such as global warming, floods, droughts and whatnot. However, there arises a strong urge to look after the environment while developing the nation.
Sustainable development, a development that ensures that the current development needs are met without hampering the environment and to make sure that required resources in considerable amounts are available for future generations. It is the idea that human societies must live and meet their needs without compromising the needs of future generations.
The organisation of the society should be in such a way that it can exist in the long term. Currently, the rising concerns of the general public as well as of the government towards the environment is leading to the formation of various ministries and organisations to ensure healthy development, without hampering the environment.
India’s Environment Ministry
India’s Environment ministry has been named the nodal agency for the planning, promotion, coordination and overseeing the implementation of India’s environmental and forestry policies and programmes in the administrative structure of the central government . The current portfolio of the ministry is held by Bhupender Yadav, the union minister of the environment, forest and climate change.
The rising concerns for the environment were much needed for a very long time. The current concerns have been very beneficial to protect the environment. India’s Environment Ministry has recently almost halved the time that it usually takes to clear the projects which are beneficial for the environment. The quick approval of the sustainable projects has been a piece of great news for the whole country. The more the number of sustainable projects, the less will be the damage to the environment.
The recent pandemic has shown that it is we humans that are directly responsible for the poor condition of our environment. The environment was clean and happy again birds came back, the sky was clear and there was no pollution when we all were locked in our homes during the pandemic led lockdown. However, as soon as the economy opened up again, we started to carelessly use the resources of the environment and therefore degrading the environment.
The quick approval of the new policies by the Environment ministry has concerned many economists and worrying green activists that this increased pace might come at a cost and is said to be dangerous.
According to the data that was shared by the ministry, it took only 84 days for them to process and clear out a project in the year 2021 as compared to the slow paced 162 days the year before, which is almost double the current rate. A question that arises is how has the ministry been clearing out projects at this fast pace? Well, we have the answer.
This fast pace is the result of the subsequent cutting down of needless processes which were previously done along with setting timelines for assessment panels. This data was provided by the top bureaucrat in the ministry, Rameshwar Prasad Gupta who took charge the last year and has been constantly working for the efficiency of the ministry.
This fast pace has come after many questions were put up on the ministry several years ago, claiming that the ministry takes a lot of time to process the upcoming projects launched for the protection of the environment as well as for the development of the nation. The ministry was blamed for stonewalling the projects, which leads to delay in the growth of the economy and hence the projects considerably fail. After the Prime Minister of the country vowed to change this delay of the ministry, the ministry has undergone several big changes in the last seven years.
There has been a constant introduction of new policies and regulations since then which has now facilitated the fast pace approval of the new projects in the nation. If a project gets held up for a long period of time, it loses its efficiency as the dynamic environment keeps on changing and therefore it directly impacts the economy of the country. The recent change in the policies has been very efficient in saving a good amount of time and cost and therefore helping the country to grow.
We all are aware of the famous saying ‘haste makes waste’ right? Well, it is somewhat true in this case too and therefore is threatening the nation. Many economists have been saying that the pendulum may have swung too far. In order to speed up the processing and clearing out of new projects, the concern about the environment is loosening. The ministry is going soft on the new policies with the sole purpose to fasten their working but it may lead to degrading the environment, rather than protecting it.
The ministry’s rush has recently led to going soft on the coal-fired power plants as the Modi government proceeds to ease up the laws which were previously made after the world’s deadliest industrial disaster which took place more than three decades ago. The loosening up of the laws has undoubtedly led to the fastening of the clearing out of the projects by the ministry, but it has been severely impacting the main purpose of the ministry, which is to protect the environment.
One other area of concern in the field of expertise is the assessment committees which are made. There is a strong need to involve the experts while making policies as these committees have been made for the sole purpose of protecting the environment. However, these committees currently lack expertise. The working of the committee gets weaker if it involves people from unrelated areas as they might not be able to perform as good as the experts, and with the rising concerns about the environment, the availability of efficient expertise becomes a necessity.
It should always be kept in our mind that focusing on speed over quality will always end up in a failure. It is a risk for the whole country, for the environment and the businesses.
Edited by Aishwarya Ingle