Panel set up to review five eco laws

Published - September 03, 2014 04:50 am IST - NEW DELHI

A four-member high-level committee has been set up under the former Cabinet Secretary T.S.R. Subramanian to examine five laws administered by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change.

The five laws to be put under the scanner are Environment (Protection) Act, 1986; Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980; Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972; The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974; and The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.

As per the order issued on August 29, the committee will “review’’ these Acts and suggest appropriate amendments to bring them in line with their objectives. The terms of reference include assessing the status of the implementation of each Act; examining various court orders and judicial pronouncements relating to these Acts; and recommending specific amendments to bring them “in line with current requirements to meet objectives’’.

The committee has been asked to submit its report within two months. The other members include former Environment & Forests Secretary Viswanath Anand, retired Delhi High Court judge A.K. Srivastav and Supreme Court advocate K.N. Bhat.

“Roadblock Ministry”

Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday claimed that he was able to rid his Ministry of the “Roadblock Ministry’’ nickname it had earned for itself over the past decade. “This Ministry had become notorious as a place where everything would get stalled.’’

Briefing mediapersons as part of the government’s efforts to flag its first 100 days in office, Mr. Javadekar said he did not want to enter into a blame-game and side-stepped a question on whether he found any evidence of the “Jayanti tax’’ which Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken about in his election campaign.

Listing the initiatives taken by the Ministry, Mr. Javadekar maintained that corruption had been weeded out by making provisions for the online submission of applications for environment and forest clearances.

“The avenues for discretion have been plugged,’’ he said. As for the Congress allegation that the Modi government was simply repackaging UPA policies and presenting them as its own, his counter was: “Several things were pending.”

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