While there were a plethora of green pledges on the World Environment Day, India flagged off an online platform to fast-track environmental clearances for industrial and infrastructure projects. Several important projects have been stalled in the past due to inordinate delay in availing clearances from the environment ministry. And, therefore, the rolling out of an online application procedure and stringent timelines for the clearance process is expected to speed up the entire mechanism.
Speaking at an event on the World Environment Day June 5, India’s Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar described this step as “a beginning of transparency in governance and better functioning of the ministry.” One need not visit the office but submit their proposals online,” he clarified. With the launch of this initiative, the Centre is looking at a timeline of a maximum of 60 days to grant green clearances to infrastructure projects. The time-bound scheme, with fixed timelines for each stage in the process, will also help the government to identify the junctions in the process where the applications are held up. If a delay is unexplained, a penalty will also be sought. However, this clause will come into effect a little later as the ministry is yet to codify the same.
Also, for the next three weeks, along with the online application, applicants will have to submit a hard copy of the application as well. But from July 1, the application process will be available online fully. This platform will deal with approvals that are granted by the union environment ministry and its related offices only.
The online clearance system is the first in the list of such services that will soon be made available to the Indian citizens online. This initiative is expected to be followed by online forest clearances and mining-related clearances as well.
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