Amid growing debate over environment protection and fate of mega projects, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said government will constitute an environmental assessment and monitoring authority to streamline the process for giving green clearances.

“In the coming months, we will constitute an environmental assessment and monitoring authority to streamline the process of environmental clearances,” he said in his Independence Day address to the nation.

Identifying climate change as a threat, he said the challenge before India is to “develop rapidly” while preserving the environment.

“Preserving our environment even as we develop rapidly is a huge challenge for us. Climate change poses a threat to both our development processes and our natural resources. We have established eight missions on climate change and are working hard to implement these missions,” he said.

The Prime Minister also said that government has already established the National Green Tribunal for quick disposal of cases involving environmental issues.

Giving account of efforts by the government to protect the environment, Dr. Singh said government has set up the National Ganga River Basin Authority for the protection and cleaning of river Ganga.