A new rating system of State Environment Impact Assessment Authorities (SEIAAs) has been introduced for encouraging the efficiency, transparency and accountability in the functioning of the state authorities.
As per a press release by the Ministry of Environment, the ranking system is based on the provisions of Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification 2006 and various guidelines issued by the ministry from time to time.
It is designed to encourage the SEIAAs to increase their efficiency in decision making strictly as per provisions of EIA Notification 2006 without diluting any regulatory safeguards.
The EIA notification already provides time-lines for all environmental clearances (EC) processes. However, there is no negative marking proposed for not meeting the criteria in the ranking system.
What are SEIAAs?
State Environment Impact Assessment Authorities (SEIAAs) are important arms of the Ministry of Environment to implement the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification at the State level and they have been delegated powers to consider and grant environmental clearance (EC) for all proposals.
SEIAA has complete freedom to do all necessary due diligence before taking a decision on a project without worrying about the timelines.
How does the process work?
The EIA Notification provides a time period of 105 days for granting EC which includes 60 days for appraisal and 45 days for decision by regulatory authority.
This criterion has been introduced to encourage the efficiency of SEIAAs in order to abide by the time-line given in EIA Notification.
The SEIAAs which follow the timeline provided in the EIA Notification 2006 are granted one mark. Even 0.5 mark being given who will take a decision between 105 and 120 days.
Marks are not reduced for SEIAAs which take decisions in more than 120 days but an extra mark is granted to those which take the decision between 80-105 days. There is no negative marking proposed for not meeting the criteria.
There is also a complaint redressal mechanism under the SEIAA. This has been included to increase the accountability of the Government agency to the common man.
The complaints which are raised need to be addressed and not ignored. There is no negative marking proposed for not meeting the criteria.
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