EIA 2020: Two Steps Back…

EIA 2020: Two Steps Back…

The India Forum, 4 September 2020

The Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC) published the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification 2020 in the Official Gazette on 11 April 2020. If brought into force, it will replace the existing EIA Notification 2006. It has met with widespread public opposition. According to some reports, the Environment Ministry has received 17 lakh representations in response, and politicians across party lines have strongly opposed the draft. In this essay, Shibani Ghosh provides a brief overview of the environment clearance process under the EIA notification, and discusses four principal reasons why the 2020 draft is misconceived and should be withdrawn. She then contextualizes these reasons within the broader regulatory landscape of the 2006 notification. As India awaits far-reaching regulatory reforms, Ghosh proposes four ways in which the existing regulatory framework can be strengthened to achieve significant environmental and social gains.