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Implementing Environmental Laws in India


Implementing Environmental Laws in India Dr. Vijai Shanker Singh, IAS Additional Chief Secretary, Environment and Forests, Govt. of Rajasthan, – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Implementing Environmental Laws in India

Implementing Environmental Laws in India
  • Dr. Vijai Shanker Singh, IAS
  • Additional Chief Secretary,
  • Environment and Forests, Govt. of Rajasthan,
  • and Chairperson, RSPCB, Jaipur
  • 0141-5101871 (O) ,0141-5159694 (O-Fax)

Key global challenges
  • World population in 1700 AD was 60 crore, now it
    is more than ten times i.e., more than 650 crore
  • If we consider the time period of 1950 to 1995,
    world population doubled, but Rajasthan's
    population tripled.
  • During the same period the demand for food and
    water grew three time, and the world economy
    became 4 times large
  • This has brought many challenges.

Key global challenges
  • Fast Growing Population and industrialization
    leading to
  • Growing threat of potential pollution Water,
    Air, Noise
  • Environmental deterioration due to imbalance
    between drawl from nature and recuperation
  • Reduction in tree cover and thus in carbon
  • Disposal of Bio-medical and hazardous wastes
  • New synthetic chemicals in emission and
    effluents, their impact on human morbidity and

Pollution Hotspots Annual mean concentrations of
particles with diameters of less than 10 µm
(PM10) in the world's megacities
D D Parrish, T Zhu, Science 326674-675 (2009)
The Obligation
  • Obligations towards international instruments /
  • Citizen demand for cleaner and safe environment
  • Capability of stakeholders to hold business
    houses accountable for the social, economic and
    environmental consequences of their industrial
    operations is increasing
  • Need for innovations in cost-effective
    environmental governance
  • Example The cost of a court case today in India
    may range between Rs. 0.1 to 1 million--outliers
  • Necessity of knowing what works, to link
    knowledge to action

Steps Taken so far
  • Water (Prevention Control of Pollution) Act,
  • Water (Prevention Control of Pollution) Cess
    Act, 1977.
  • Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980
  • Air (Prevention Control of Pollution) Act,
  • Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • Manufacture, Storage Import of Hazardous
    Chemical Rules, 1989.
  • Public (Liability) Insurance Act, 1991.
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (Aravali)
    Notification Dated 7.5.1992.
  • Bio Medical Waste (Management Handling) Rules,
  • Noise (Pollution Control Regulation) Rules,
  • Municipal Solid Waste (Management Handling)
    Rules, 2000.
  • Battery (Management Handling) Rules, 2001.
  • Environmental Impact Assessment Notification
    dated 14.09.06
  • Hazardous Waste (Management Handling Tran
    boundary Movement) Rules, 2008.
  • Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules,
  • Creating Institution of Regulators.

Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board
  • Regulatory body constituted under the provisions
    of Water (Prevention Control of Pollution) Act,
    1974 in year 1975
  • Later on, different acts/rules were also enacted
    to control different types of pollution and
    responsibility of implementation of the these
    acts/rules was also entrusted to the State Board.
  • Basic mandate is to prevent and control air,
    water and land pollution and maintain
    wholesomeness and quality of the environment in
    the state

(No Transcript)
Conventional approaches of pollution control
  • Market-based approaches
  • discharge fees, stock market pressure, disclosure
  • Social approaches
  • citizen / civil society monitoring, public
    disclosure, public performance audit, public
  • Voluntary compliance approaches
  • self-monitoring, self-recordkeeping,
  • State / regulatory agencies
  • monitoring and enforcement, technical innovations
  • Hybrid approaches -- often interdependent,
    multiple levers

RSPCBs enforcement mechanism
  • Consents/Authorization
  • Rebate on water cess,
  • Monitoring the compliance of standards
  • Issuing a notice to "show cause"
  • Disconnecting water or power supply and industry
    closure directions
  • Forfeiture of bank guarantee, if any.
  • Prosecution
  • The lack of administrative authority to impose
    fines limits the effectiveness of SPCBs
    enforcement efforts.
  • Filing criminal cases against violators in trial
    courts has, in general, proved to be a
    time-consuming, unpredictable, costly,
    inefficient and ineffective enforcement mechanism.

SPCBs rely on deterrence-based enforcement
  • For a deterrence-based policy to work, the
    industries must believe that
  • There is a high probability of being caught.
  • The regulator's response to violations will be
    certain, fast, and fair.
  • The severity and costs of punishment will
    outweigh the benefits of non-compliance
  • Regulators are indeed capable of making
    non-compliance ultimately costlier than
  • But looking to staffing, infrastructure, and
    monitoring capability of SPCBs, and their
    zero-power to impose penalty, does it happen?

We need different approaches for different
  • Industries fall into one of the three categories
  • 1. Obdurate those who are stubbornly persistent
    in wrongdoing and will not comply at all unless
    they are forced to
  • 2. Opportunist those who might comply if given
    the incentives, knowledge, or capacity to do so
  • 3. Proactive those who will comply always, come
    what may.
  • Experiential knowledge informs that India has 70
    Obdurate, 25 Opportunist, and only 5 Proactive

RSPCB innovations on environmental compliance
  • Review of literature (scientific knowledge) and
    tacit learning of practitioners (experiential
  • Some innovations...
  • 'Violation reference' to the industry boards--the
    vajra (????) for improved compliance practices
    and outcomes
  • Local monitoring and enforcement
  • RTI Applications as incentives for environmental
  • Regulator reputation and really random monitoring

1. Reference to the industry board
  • Innovation most likely to encourage compliance is
    the 'violation reference' made by RSPCB to the
    industry-board (IB) with the condition that
    reference be placed before the IB meeting, and
    the response of the IB be communicated to RSPCB
    under the signature of CEO.
  • IBs have often grilled their CEOs, even
    threatened to relieve them if a reference ever
    came again.
  • Experiential knowledge -
  • VR acts as vajra (????) to elicit compliance in
    case of listed companies.
  • VR is not very effective in case of Govt
    Organisations, Local Bodies and small Industries .

The case of Cairn India
2. Local monitoring and enforcement
  • Local rule-making, local monitoring and local
    enforcement are very useful for successful
    governance of commons (recall the work of
    Professor Elinor Ostrom, Nobel Prize winner,
  • Likewise, voluntary monitoring and abatement by
    local industry association is similar to managing
    a commons property resource they are better
    informed and have an incentive to regulate its
    members to maintain a good reputation. (Kathuria
    and Sterner, 2006).
  • But we need suitable design principles, effective
    monitoring, objective implementation of
    locally-made rules, and enforcement. (Kathuria
    and Sterner, 2006).

The case of Bhilwara
3. RTI applications as incentives for
environmental compliance and enforcement
  • Experiential knowledge informs that industries
    that become target of RTI applicants are more
    likely to remain compliant, and
  • without exception, in case of violation by such
    industries, SPCB staff is more likely to respond
    promptly, effectively and fairly.
  • Caution simple complaints or application by
    citizens to redress the pollution in
    neighbourhood too have effect, but to a limited

The case of Ajeetgarh
4. Regulator reputation and random monitoring
  • Compliance increases if regulator reputation is
    such that its monitoring is often unannounced and
    really random.
  • During the regulatory pressure, industries are
    more likely to institute a self-inspection and
    monitoring program to discover spills or leaks,
    improve maintenance and procedures, and to
    effectively reduce violations (Sam, 2010).
  • While a variety of factors positively influence
    voluntary environmental management, regulatory
    pressure is the strongest determinant of
    voluntary compliance (see, literature reviewed by
    Jones, 2010).

Recent Policy Interventions by RSPCB
  • Environmental Policy formulated last year based
    on the guiding principals that it must weave in
    with the state-specific issues in key sectors
    like agriculture and animal husbandry, mining and
    industry, tourism, energy, and basic urban
    services and infrastructure.
  • Climate Change Agenda for the state formulated
    with the objective to list out a set of state
    priorities for policy, research and
    implementation with respect to adaptation and
    mitigation of climate change.
  • Rajasthan Environment Mission prepared with the
    purpose to bring into focus the high priority
    issues emerging from the State Environmental
    Policy and Climate Change Agenda and to mobilize
    government and non-government stakeholders to
    address these issues.
  • Ban on manufacture, store, import, sell or
    transport of plastic carry bags in the state was
    another major policy intervention.

Interventions related to strengthening of the
State Board
  • Restructuring and strengthening of the State
    Pollution Control Board- total 138 new posts
    created in different cadres, number of R.Os
    increased from 10 to 13
  • Establishment of new Regional laboratories-
    Earlier only four regional labs, now all R.Os are
    equipped with labs.
  • Construction of new office buildings at R.O
    Chittor, Bharatpur, Kishangrah, Sikar, Alwar and
  • Head Office building has been renovated and new
    central lab block is under construction which
    imbibes many of the green building concepts.

Simplification of the legal procedures
  • Rebate for the industries applying for consent
    for more than one year.
  • Scheme for issuance of Tatkal consent
  • Additional fee on the industries which fail to
    apply for consent within the specified period.
  • Regional Officers have been empowered to refuse
  • Guidelines for industries prepared for different
    sectors like stone crushers, mining, steel
    rerolling, hotels etc. for other sectors work is
    in progress.
  • Extensive computerization of the consent
    procedures. On line filing of consent to be
    started shortly.

Other Interventions
  • Establishment of additional CETPs and waste water
    recycling plants. at Pali, Balotra and Jasol
  • One common facility for hazardous waste at
    Balotra recently established.
  • Plantation of air pollution resistant plant
    spices in urban areas of Jaipur through State
    Forest Department for which fund of Rs 105.17
    lacs was provided by the State Board.
  • Cement plants have been issued advisory based on
    research conducted by the State Board to
    implement measures to arrest fugitive dust
  • Publication of scientific research papers/reports

Way forward
  • Self-regulation is useful but it cannot replace
    deterrence-based enforcement (Short Toffel
  • Intensity of self-regulation is directly
    proportional to regulator-reputation (Singh
    Pandey, 2011).
  • Standing trial provides one of the most
    significant deterrents, rather than the
    probability of conviction or the magnitude of
    fines, but only for those who are prosecuted
    (Singh Pandey, 2011 Almer Goeschl, 2010).
  • Public preferences regarding environmental
    quality and political economy shape reported
    environmental crime (Almer Goeschl, 2010).
  • Strengthening of SPCBs on several fronts is
    urgently required.

Way forward
  • Amendment in environmental law is required so
    that rather than treating all violations as
    criminal, provision should be made to
  • Treat general violations as social offences and
    make provision for imposition of graduated
    financial penalty (low for the first-time
    violators but becomes more stringent if an
    industry repeatedly violates a rule) by SPCBs.
  • The direct life-threatening environmental
    violations should be made cognizable offence, in
    which administrative authorities are empowered to
    register a FIR, investigate and arrest an accused
    involved in cognizable crime without a court's
  • Environmental compliance and enforcement is
    poorly-studied in India. More research and
    synthesis on this subject is needed, to link
    knowledge to action.

Felt need for some Policy Interventions
  • Separate Environmental Budgeting
  • Local Bodies to have specified budget for
    addressing pollution issues
  • Industries (Big or Small) and Businesses to make
    sufficient annual budget to treat pollutants
  • Mandatory Environmental Audit of Local Bodies and
    Red category Industries
  • Change in the approach towards deterrent
  • Instead of criminal trials emphasis should be on
    fiscal penalties
  • CAG audit for compliance of Environmental
    Obligations by Govt Orgs and Local Bodies
    should be made regular feature.
  • It should be mandatory for regulator to take
    deterrent action even if the violator is Govt
  • Confusion about competent Authority for action
    under various rules should be done away with.

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