Draft EIA 2020: Multiple Fault Lines
Draft notification dismantles the very foundations of environmental protection laws
Amidst the global pandemic, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) put out a new Draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification to amend the EIA notification of 2006. With the proposed draft notification, MoEFCC, in an attempt to accelerate ‘ease of doing business”, intends to diminish the EIA process to support easy approval of projects. This move will severely weaken environmental protection and sustainable development in India.
The draft EIA notification of 2020 not only codifies the progressive weakening of EIA governance but also systematically dismantles the fundamental legal framework of India’s Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (EPA, 1986) and is against global environmental principles.
The argument that Draft notification is pro-development and is necessary for promoting growth and creating jobs is fundamentally flawed as decades of experience has shown that in the longer-run environmental degradation leads to lower and not more development; unsafe rather than decent jobs.
The Youth Perception Survey on Draft EIA 2020, which we conducted between August 2 – 7, 2020 on Instagram, reflects the growing sensitivity towards environmental issues among the young people in India. It also reflects the mounting sense of urgency among youth to act to build a green and sustainable future.
In the aftermath of the COVID pandemic, the need for economic recovery does not provide any justification for weakening environmental protection. We need to use the opportunity to rebuild better and support more sustainable ways of living rather than ‘race to the bottom’ to weaken environmental protections to attract investments and businesses.
Draft EIA notification 2020 needs to be withdrawn.