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Issue 32
, 2011
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Govt planning body to monitor environment

Source: Source: The Hindu Business Line, New Delhi, May 4, 2011, Date: , 2011

The Union Government is setting up a National Environmental Appraisal and Monitoring Authority (NEAMA).

“This will be a professional, science-based autonomous entity tasked with environmental appraisals and monitoring of compliance conditions,” said Mr Jairam Ramesh, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Environment and Forests. “Once appraised by NEAMA, projects would be sent with a recommendation to the Minister of Environment and Forests for approval.”

He said NEAMA will mark a major improvement over the current system — wherein the Ministry does appraisal and approval of new projects — in several ways. It will be a full-time entity of professionals tasked with environmental appraisals on ongoing basis, instead of the current system of appraisals done by environmental appraisal committees that are ad hoc and meet about once a month. In this sense, it will convert a slow batch process into a continuous process, bringing greater rigour in the appraisal process while avoiding unnecessary delays, he said, adding besides addressing the ‘conflict of interest' issue by separating the process of appraisal and approval.

While NEAMA will be tasked with appraisal of new projects, the Ministry will be responsible for final approval.

Delivering the Lawrence Dana Pinkham Memorial Lecture 2011 at the convocation of Asian College of Journalism here today, Mr Ramesh said the Government must not only be anchored in fiscal prudence but should equally look at the ecological sustainability for our growth trajectory in the next two decades.

Mr Sashi Kumar Menon, Chairman, Asian College of Journalism, and the institute's trustee, Mr N. Ram, The Hindu's Editor-in-Chief, also spoke on the occasion.