New Environment Policy --Confused or dangerous priorities?

Confused or dangerous priorities? - The new Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change Mr. Prakash Javadekar spells his firm commitment to create conducive environment for investors.  At social and environmental cost? – Rohit Prajapati

Mr. Prakash Javadekar the new Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change taking over the charge promised to ensure “Fast Environment Clearances”. This is just beginning of the implementation of “Money-Festo – Modi-Festo” for the ministry of environment. A new system for online submission of applications for environmental clearances has been launched. But what about online submission of complains against pollution?

Mr. Javadekar also said that there shall be a maximum time limit for the entire approval process, with stage-wise timelines and promised continuous efforts to bring down the timelines for each stage. But what about the time limit to resolve complains against polluting industries?

Now we are in the era where all the three ministries the Environment, Labour and Industry individually and collectively are more and more concerned about better environment for industries and its profitability, industrial-friendly labour laws and the prosperity of industry so that industrialists can  concentrate only on their production and profits in the interest of GDP. There are other ministries also equally concerned about the industries & its profitability but now Environment, Labour and Industry Ministries are exclusively dedicated themselves to the industries and its profitability.

Keeping in mind the above objective of these three ministries in practice in the interest of  industries, their profitability and GDP the time has come to merge all these ministries in one ministry which can be named as Ministry of Industry, Investment, Industrial-friendly Environment & labour (MoIFEL). By merging all the three ministries the government will be more transparent to overtly expressing their real concerned and commitment for the industries, their profit and GDP.

Industries, their profitability and Environment Clearance were and are the main concerned of Ministry of Environment and Forest. I have not seen MoEF any point in past and in present showing real concerned, commitment for environment protection and complaints of people. The ministry has at best only shown concern and worry about ‘Environment Clearance’ and not even lip service to the people’s complaints about air pollution, contamination of river, surface and ground water, contamination of soil & agriculture produced and its effect on people’s health & life on the earth.

The present Government too so far has shown no commitment for environment protection & labour rights, so government want to get rid of the issue of environment and labour.

Mr. Modi’s government’s main priority is speedy environment clearance for the industries and not the environment protection. Mr. Modi’s manifesto clearly states “Frame the environment laws in a manner that provides no scope for confusion and will lead to speedy clearance of the proposals without delay.” This spells out assurance of Mr. Modi’s Government to the industrialist that they should not worry about environment laws as he will remove all their hurdles so that just by filing some papers and giving some vague assurance they will get the environment clearance.

This is the “Gujarat Model of Development” which led Gujarat State to become number one in pollution. To make it further crystal clear, Mr. Modi’s Manifesto overtly states that “Take all steps: like removing red-tapism involved in approvals, to make it easy to do business, invest in logistics infrastructure, ensure power supply and undertake labour reforms, besides other steps to create a conducive environment for investors.” The Modi-Festo says in very clear words to mortgage the environment and labour laws.

This capitalist development has never tried to arrive at even a realistic estimate of loss of livelihood, land acquisition, displacement, irreversible damage to environment and permanent loss of natural resources figures but the magnitude of the loss can be guessed from some of the facts emerging from various important research works on status of environment in Gujarat.

We should understand this new challenge and it is the time for the all the environment and trade union movements to launch collective struggle against this move of the present government.


Rohit Prajapati

Environment Activist