Draft EIA notification 2020: Is it contra legem to international conventions, judicial verdicts

The draft Environment Impact Assessment notification aims to set aside several essential provisions such as public consultation, and plans to introduce ex-post facto clearance for many projects

One of the most successful environmental policy innovations of the 20th century is the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The National Environment Policy Act (NEPA), 1969 is a United States environmental law, which, for the first time, introduced the concept of environmental impact assessment and made it necessary for federal agencies to evaluate impact of environmental decisions.

Many countries followed suit in the 1970s and introduced environmental impact assessment in their national environmental laws and policies.

In 1994, for the first time under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, the EIA notification was formulated in India. It made environmental clearance mandatory for expansion, modernisation and setting up of new projects.

Since then, EIA has been amended several times. The most important amendment happened in 2006.

In May this year, the Indian government introduced the controversial draft EIA notification that aims to set aside several essential provisions such as public consultation, and plans to introduce ex-post facto clearance for many projects. It also puts an end to EIA requirement for many industries; allow monetisation of environmental violations, among other controversial changes.

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