Independent Environmental Regulation in India: Less an Authority and more a Process from Below

Published date01 December 2018
Date01 December 2018
DOI10.1177/0019556118780115
Subject MatterArticles
Article
Indian Journal of Public
Administration
64(4) 614–626
© 2018 IIPA
SAGE Publications
sagepub.in/home.nav
DOI: 10.1177/0019556118780115
http://journals.sagepub.com/home/ipa
Independent Environmental
Regulation in India: Less
an Authority and more a
Process from Below
Tishyarakshit Chatterjee1
Abstract
With India’s well-intentioned environmental laws and legal interpretations in
place, there is still a perceptible weakness in the enforcement of her environ-
mental regulations. This is ascribed to the centralised departmental structure
and process of implementation, which prioritise clearances of developmental
projects over monitoring and cleaning up of already polluted environments.
Although in a democratic set-up, a lack of transparency and participation of know-
ledgeable stakeholders in decision-making are other process weaknesses noticed.
Establishing an Independent Environmental Regulatory Authority has been tried
repeatedly but given up mainly because its effectiveness depends on the same
resources support as at present, on reliable primary field-level environmental
data, not gathered regularly now and on sustained political support. Technically
analysing the issues involved, this article suggests a process shift towards a locally
relevant, transparent, decentralised, participative and area-science–value-based
approach that can strengthen environmental regulation from below.
Keywords
Process, clearance, area-based standards, carrying-capacity, pollution-charge,
decentralised, empowered committees
Introduction
Establishing Independent Environmental Regulatory Authorities in India has
been a constant endeavour of courts and the nodal Ministry of Environment,
Forests and Climate Change in Government of India since the late 1980s.
After the promulgation of the Environment Protection Act, 1986, there were
1 Director, Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi, India.
Corresponding author:
Tishyarakshit Chatterjee, Director, Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi, India.
E-mail: titichatterjee@gmail.com

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