E-forest clearances in India on the way

ForestThe new government’s vision of using the World Wide Web to improve governance in India is slowly coming to fruition with several bureaucratic processes going online. The latest in the list being forest clearances. The e-platform for seeking forest-related approval is scheduled to go live on July 1.

Forest clearances in India entail elaborate procedures and are held up further due to bureaucratic delays. The new procedure is expected to enhance efficiency while ensuring clearances for forest-related proposals in a time-bound manner. The move will also usher in greater transparency in the process.

The home page of the website which is hosted by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) features a Live Statistics section which lists the total number of proposals in various stages of clearance like, stage I, stage II and also the ones that have been rejected, returned or closed. As of June 23, the environment ministry has received 34236 applications for approval. The online portal also allows applicants to track their applications online.

The environment ministry is accepting applications offline in the interim period but when the website goes live, only online applications will be accepted. A statement released by the environment ministry stated, “After rollout of the said portal (from July 1), applications seeking prior approval of central government under the Forest Conservation (FC) Act will be accepted only online.”

In order to familiarize the nodal officers with the online portal, the environment ministry is organising a workshop on June 26 in New Delhi. The ministry also requested the Indian states/union territories to organise such workshops well before the website goes live.

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