India to Set Up Environmental Regulatory Body

Posted July 25th, 2011 at 12:45 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

India will set up a new environmental regulatory agency to review investment projects, as the government struggles to balance industrial growth with ecological protection.

In announcing the planned National Environment Appraisal and Monitoring Authority , Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said it is not acceptable to expect “a certain degree of environmental degradation and over-exploitation of natural resources” while pursuing economic growth.

The plan for the new regulatory body comes after the environment ministry held up a number of major investment projects during the leadership of Jairam Ramesh, who is now India's rural development minister.

Prime Minister Singh told an environmental seminar on Sunday that the new agency will not only be responsible for appraising and evaluating the environmental impact of a project, but will also monitor whether industry is complying with “green norms.”

Mr. Singh gave few details about the planned regulator, saying only that it could lead to a “complete change” in how clearances are granted, as projects would be reviewed by “better and more objective standards of scrutiny.”

Also Monday, human rights group Amnesty International urged the Indian government not to reverse its decision to block a proposed bauxite mine and the expansion of an aluminum refinery in the eastern state of Orrissa.

Amnesty said the British-based mining company Vedanta Resources, which is seeking to overturn the Indian government's ban, had failed to adequately consider the human impact of its proposed projects.