A high level committee headed by former cabinet secretary T S R Subramanian, set up to review the country's green laws and the procedures followed by the ministry of environment, forests and climate change, has suggested appropriate amendments to align them with the government's economic development agenda.
In its report submitted to union environment and forests minister Prakash Javadekar, the committee has suggested amendments to almost all green laws, including those relating to environment, forest, wildlife and coastal zone clearances.
Sources in the ministry said the government would bring bills to amend a couple of existing green laws, based on the suggestions of the committee, during the winter session of Parliament, which begins 24 November.
However, the exact details of the likely amendments to the existing laws could not be immediately known as the government preferred to keep away from scrutiny by the media, environmentalists and civil societies at this juncture.
Speaking on the occasion, Javadekar said the report was a historical achievement that would strengthen processes to balance developmental commitments and environment protection.
The recommendations of the report would enhance the ministry's efforts to avoid undue delays and ensure transparency in clearances and implementation of projects, he said.
Lauding the efforts of the committee for submitting the report in a short span of time, the minister stated that his ministry would expedite consultations with all stakeholders for the timely implementation of the recommendations of the committee.
In his remarks, the committee chairman TSR Subramanian said the committee had built on the existing mechanisms to optimise the efforts to balance developmental imperatives causing least possible damage to environment. The committee had undertaken wide-ranging consultations with stakeholders and formulated action points to streamline the ministry's efforts to strengthen institutions and processes, he said.
The panel was set up on 29 August and asked to submit its report in two months. The government had, in October, given this panel an additional one month's time, till 28 November, to submit its report, but urged the committee to finish its work as early as possible so that the ministry gets enough time to bring amendments during the Winter Session.
The panel has examined laws pertaining to environment protection, forest conservation, wildlife protection and prevention of air and water pollution.
Former environment secretary V Anand, retired judge of Delhi High Court Justice A K Srivastav and senior advocate and former additional solicitor general K N Bhat are the other three members of the committee.