Prelims Syllabus : Environment - National Conservation & Mitigation Mains Syllabus : GS-III Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.
Why in News?
- The Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) had its first ever video-conferencing meet recently. In the meet the NBWL cleared infrastructure projects in 11 States.
- Projects that encroach into forests or protected reserves require NBWL approval as part of the government’s environmental clearance process.
- As per the experts associated with the conference most of the projects were given “in-principal approval”.
- In a virtual conference, it is difficult to scrutinise maps that show the location of the proposed projects. It is because only the formal minutes of the meeting would reveal the conditions which projects would have to adhere to.
Process of getting an Environment Clearance (EC):
- An Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report is prepared to get Environment Clearance (EC) for a project.
- A process of ‘Public Hearing’ is conducted before the issue of ‘Consent to Establish (NOC)’ by state regulators. Concerns of people living in the proposed project area are heard.
- An application form with EIA report, details of public hearing and NOC is submitted for environmental clearance with the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) if the project falls under A category. (or the state government if the project falls under B category).
- The documents submitted for A and B category are then analyzed by an Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) under the Union Environment Ministry or the concerned State Environmental Impact Assessment Authorities (SEIAAs) respectively.
- The recommendations of the Committee gets processed in the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change for final approval or rejection.
National Board for Wildlife (NBWL):
- National Board for Wildlife is a statutory Board constituted under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
- The NBWL is chaired by the Prime Minister and is responsible for promotion of conservation and development of wildlife and forests.
- The board is ‘advisory’ in nature and can only advise the Government on policy making for conservation of wildlife.
- It is an important body because it serves as an apex body for the review of all wildlife-related matters and for the approval of projects in and around national parks and sanctuaries.
- The standing committee of NBWL is chaired by the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change.