Jairam backs CII's pre-clearance idea for new projects

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 24, 2011 Published on January 24, 2011

The Union Environment Minister, Mr Jairam Ramesh, has backed the Confederation of Indian Industry's idea that the ministries concerned get all clearances for natural resource based projects such as coal, iron ore and bauxite mining before the bidding process starts.

The CII President, Mr Hari Bhartia, had broached the idea of a pre-clearance and competitive bidding process for all natural resource-based projects with the Environment Minister at a closed door session on Tuesday. Such pre-clearances and competitive bidding could be on the lines of New Exploration and Licensing Policy (NELP) for oil and gas sector.

The Minister sought to allay the industry's concerns on the issue of environment becoming a constraint for economic growth at the CII session. Mr Ramesh proposes to hold a similar discussion with members of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) on January 24. A joint advisory council with industry members on board is being considered to review and suggest changes to the regulatory framework.

Environmental regulations

Pointing out that most of the delays in project clearances pertain to the forest clearances in the mining sector where the State Governments were involved, Mr Ramesh said the problem was not with environmental approvals.

Stating that his recent actions against certain projects were not ‘suo motu' but based on the representations of civil society and non-governmental organisations, Mr Ramesh said the questions and closure orders on projects were raised only when basic environmental regulations were not met.

Mr Ramesh told CII members that the Government was trying to bring in relevant and solution-oriented regulations such as fuel efficiency standards for vehicles and market-based instruments such as the Perform-Achieve-Trade [PAT] scheme for energy efficiency, and also modifications in existing regulations, such as the Coastal Regulatory Zone [CRZ] amendments, 2011.

New scheme for air pollution

The Minister said a new scheme to be launched on January 19, 2011 on a market-based instrument for air pollution in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. This is based on research by the Massachussets Institute of Technology, and would focus on tradable permits for monitoring the quality of air.

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Published on January 24, 2011
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