16 Aug PARIVESH – MOEFCC’s initiative to streamline Environment & Development
For any country on its path to fast paced infrastructure development, environmental clearances seem like a road block. Though necessary, so that the environmental damage of our developmental activities are minimised, the entire process of environmental clearances tends to become cumbersome.
With this background and prevailing unpopular sentiment, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has worked under the leadership of Dr Harshawardhan to create a fantastic portal to make the process of environmental clearances, transparent, time bound and integrated across all levels of government. In our government’s on going effort for Ease of Business, this is a welcome step.
Parivesh – ProActive and Responsive facilitation by Interactive, Virtuous and Environmental Singlewkndow Hub paves the way, for the first time, all clearances related to environment, as required under the Environment Protection Act, the Forest Act, the Wildlife Act and the Coastal Zone Regulation Act will be available for easy application and tracking on the portal. The effort of this Portal will also be to streamline the administrative process of the government in processing respective clearances. Transparency in process is at the heart of this portal, as online and easy to access information, will cut down on projects getting undue preferences. The technology platform of the Portal will allow the government officers to also work with ease. SMS alerts, online generation of Agenda, publishing of Minutes of Meetings etc will bring time bound order in the process of granting Environmental Clearances.
The project Proponent, who makes an application for Clearances, will get a timeline of his/her project, showing where and due to what reason the project remains under process. This will give a clear idea to project proponents as to what specific information needs to be provided. The clear indication of time taken at each department of MoEFCC will also suitably indicate to the department to act in a time bound manner.
Through this portal, the central and state machinery for Environmental protection, will also work more coherently and in coordination with each other. State level environment departments will work in tandem with the pace and approaches set by the central ministry. Discretion will be kept at a minimum.
Apart from streamlining processes and focusing on reducing paperwork for Clearances, the portal also aims to create a platform so that there is a systematic way in which environmental compliance’s are monitored and recorded. A dashboard will be available to senior officers in the government to retrieve information on projects and their environmental compliance across the country.
The portal will also offer a space for Green skill building and hiring, thereby giving an impetus to environmental or the green job market. It will also host an GIS database to allow easy and quick access to environmental information in the country. Environmental data and its correlation to other parameters is an area that often gets misused to suit either the project’s perspective or the environmental activists’ perspective. Layering of data on a GIS platform will allow the government to recognise false or fake data narratives if they are attempted.
With the launch of Parivesh, India will stand amongst the few countries who have attempted to put and integrate the entire countries environmental information on one platform. USA, Canada, Australia’s Environment ministries have some of the most sophisticated environmental portals in the world. Parivesh stands amongst these today.
It is widely known and accepted that a weak governmental process often becomes a conduit for corruption, leads to delays and discretion and finally allows all the stakeholders to exploit the loopholes to benefit each one of them. For a humorous account of this, do read a blog by Dr Prasad Modak here https://prasadmodakblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/11/parivartan-through-parivesh-a-new-transformation-in-indias-environmental-clearance-system/
Through the launch of PARIVESH, it is seen that this government is keen to change the status quo of keeping thinks grey and mired in indecipherable governmental procedures that are only solved through greasing palms and lobbying in the halls of government departments.
The vision for e-governance through Digital India and the effort towards Ease of Business by the Modi government, are both responsible in the concept and implementation of Parivesh. With this platform, there is a hope that environmental clearances and monitoring will become a part of development that India has embarked upon. Parivesh, the portal has possibly paved way towards ensuring Sustainable development of India.