Presentation on theme: "Implementing Environmental Laws in India Dr. Vijai Shanker Singh, IAS Additional Chief Secretary, Environment and Forests, Govt. of Rajasthan, and Chairperson,"— Presentation transcript:
Implementing Environmental Laws in India Dr. Vijai Shanker Singh, IAS Additional Chief Secretary, Environment and Forests, Govt. of Rajasthan, and Chairperson, RSPCB, Jaipur (O), (O-Fax)
Key global challenges World population in 1700 AD was 60 crore, now it is more than ten times i.e., more than 650 crore If we consider the time period of 1950 to 1995, world population doubled, but Rajasthan's population tripled. During the same period the demand for food and water grew three time, and the world economy became 4 times large This has brought many challenges.
Key global challenges Fast Growing Population and industrialization leading to ◦ Growing threat of potential pollution – Water, Air, Noise ◦ Environmental deterioration due to imbalance between drawl from nature and recuperation ◦ Reduction in tree cover and thus in carbon sequestration Disposal of Bio-medical and hazardous wastes New synthetic chemicals in emission and effluents, their impact on human morbidity and mortality Pollution Hotspots: Annual mean concentrations of particles with diameters of less than 10 µm (PM 10 ) in the world's megacities D D Parrish, T Zhu, Science 326: (2009)
The Obligation Obligations towards international instruments / conventions Citizen demand for cleaner and safe environment Capability of stakeholders to hold business houses accountable for the social, economic and environmental consequences of their industrial operations is increasing Need for innovations in cost-effective environmental governance ◦ Example: The cost of a court case today in India may range between Rs. 0.1 to 1 million--outliers remain. Necessity of knowing what works, to link knowledge to action
Steps Taken so far Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Cess Act, Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, Environment (Protection) Act, Manufacture, Storage & Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, Public (Liability) Insurance Act, Environmental Impact Assessment (Aravali) Notification Dated Bio Medical Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, Noise (Pollution Control & Regulation) Rules, Municipal Solid Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, Battery (Management & Handling) Rules, Environmental Impact Assessment Notification dated Hazardous Waste (Management & Handling & Tran boundary Movement) Rules, Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, Creating Institution of Regulators.
Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board Regulatory body constituted under the provisions of Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 in year 1975 Later on, different acts/rules were also enacted to control different types of pollution and responsibility of implementation of the these acts/rules was also entrusted to the State Board. Basic mandate is to prevent and control air, water and land pollution and maintain wholesomeness and quality of the environment in the state
Conventional approaches of pollution control Market-based approaches ◦ discharge fees, stock market pressure, disclosure Social approaches ◦ citizen / civil society monitoring, public disclosure, public performance audit, public awareness Voluntary compliance approaches ◦ self-monitoring, self-recordkeeping, self-reporting State / regulatory agencies ◦ monitoring and enforcement, technical innovations Hybrid approaches -- often interdependent, multiple levers
RSPCBs enforcement mechanism Consents/Authorization Rebate on water cess, Monitoring the compliance of standards Issuing a notice to "show cause" Disconnecting water or power supply and industry closure directions Forfeiture of bank guarantee, if any. Prosecution ◦ The lack of administrative authority to impose fines limits the effectiveness of SPCBs’ enforcement efforts. ◦ Filing criminal cases against violators in trial courts has, in general, proved to be a time-consuming, unpredictable, costly, inefficient and ineffective enforcement mechanism.
SPCBs rely on deterrence-based enforcement For a deterrence-based policy to work, the industries must believe that: ◦ There is a high probability of being caught. ◦ The regulator's response to violations will be certain, fast, and fair. ◦ The severity and costs of punishment will outweigh the benefits of non-compliance ◦ Regulators are indeed capable of making non- compliance ultimately costlier than compliance But looking to staffing, infrastructure, and monitoring capability of SPCBs, and their zero-power to impose penalty, does it happen?
We need different approaches for different behaviors Industries fall into one of the three categories: ◦ 1. Obdurate: those who are stubbornly persistent in wrongdoing and will not comply at all unless they are forced to; ◦ 2. Opportunist: those who might comply if given the incentives, knowledge, or capacity to do so; ◦ 3. Proactive: those who will comply always, come what may. Experiential knowledge informs that India has 70% Obdurate, 25% Opportunist, and only 5% Proactive industries.
RSPCB innovations on environmental compliance Review of literature (scientific knowledge) and tacit learning of practitioners (experiential knowledge). Some innovations... ◦ 'Violation reference' to the industry boards--the vajra ( वज्र ) for improved compliance practices and outcomes ◦ Local monitoring and enforcement ◦ RTI Applications as incentives for environmental compliance ◦ Regulator reputation and really random monitoring
1. Reference to the industry board Innovation most likely to encourage compliance is the 'violation reference' made by RSPCB to the industry-board (IB) with the condition that reference be placed before the IB meeting, and the response of the IB be communicated to RSPCB under the signature of CEO. IBs have often grilled their CEOs, even threatened to relieve them if a reference ever came again. Experiential knowledge - ◦ VR acts as vajra ( वज्र ) to elicit compliance in case of listed companies. ◦ VR is not very effective in case of Govt Organisations, Local Bodies and small Industries. The case of Cairn India
2. Local monitoring and enforcement Local rule-making, local monitoring and local enforcement are very useful for successful governance of commons (recall the work of Professor Elinor Ostrom, Nobel Prize winner, 2009). Likewise, voluntary monitoring and abatement by local industry association is similar to managing a commons property resource; they are better informed and have an incentive to regulate its members to maintain a good reputation. (Kathuria and Sterner, 2006). But we need suitable design principles, effective monitoring, objective implementation of locally- made rules, and enforcement. (Kathuria and Sterner, 2006). The case of Bhilwara
3. RTI applications as incentives for environmental compliance and enforcement Experiential knowledge informs that industries that become target of RTI applicants are more likely to remain compliant, and without exception, in case of violation by such industries, SPCB staff is more likely to respond promptly, effectively and fairly. Caution: simple complaints or application by citizens to redress the pollution in neighbourhood too have effect, but to a limited extent. The case of Ajeetgarh
4. Regulator reputation and random monitoring Compliance increases if regulator reputation is such that its monitoring is often unannounced and really random. During the regulatory pressure, industries are more likely to institute a self-inspection and monitoring program to discover spills or leaks, improve maintenance and procedures, and to effectively reduce violations (Sam, 2010). While a variety of factors positively influence voluntary environmental management, regulatory pressure is the strongest determinant of voluntary compliance (see, literature reviewed by Jones, 2010).
Recent Policy Interventions by RSPCB Environmental Policy formulated last year based on the guiding principals that it must weave in with the state-specific issues in key sectors like agriculture and animal husbandry, mining and industry, tourism, energy, and basic urban services and infrastructure. Climate Change Agenda for the state formulated with the objective to list out a set of state priorities for policy, research and implementation with respect to adaptation and mitigation of climate change. Rajasthan Environment Mission prepared with the purpose to bring into focus the high priority issues emerging from the State Environmental Policy and Climate Change Agenda and to mobilize government and non-government stakeholders to address these issues. Ban on manufacture, store, import, sell or transport of plastic carry bags in the state was another major policy intervention.
Interventions related to strengthening of the State Board Restructuring and strengthening of the State Pollution Control Board- total 138 new posts created in different cadres, number of R.Os increased from 10 to 13 Establishment of new Regional laboratories- Earlier only four regional labs, now all R.Os are equipped with labs. Construction of new office buildings at R.O Chittor, Bharatpur, Kishangrah, Sikar, Alwar and Balotra. Head Office building has been renovated and new central lab block is under construction which imbibes many of the green building concepts.
Simplification of the legal procedures Rebate for the industries applying for consent for more than one year. Scheme for issuance of ‘Tatkal’ consent Additional fee on the industries which fail to apply for consent within the specified period. Regional Officers have been empowered to refuse consent. Guidelines for industries prepared for different sectors like stone crushers, mining, steel rerolling, hotels etc. for other sectors work is in progress. Extensive computerization of the consent procedures. On line filing of consent to be started shortly.
Other Interventions Establishment of additional CETPs and waste water recycling plants. at Pali, Balotra and Jasol One common facility for hazardous waste at Balotra recently established. Plantation of air pollution resistant plant spices in urban areas of Jaipur through State Forest Department for which fund of Rs lacs was provided by the State Board. Cement plants have been issued advisory based on research conducted by the State Board to implement measures to arrest fugitive dust emissions. Publication of scientific research papers/reports
Way forward Self-regulation is useful but it cannot replace deterrence-based enforcement (Short & Toffel 2010). Intensity of self-regulation is directly proportional to regulator-reputation (Singh & Pandey, 2011). Standing trial provides one of the most significant deterrents, rather than the probability of conviction or the magnitude of fines, but only for those who are prosecuted (Singh & Pandey, 2011; Almer & Goeschl, 2010). Public preferences regarding environmental quality and political economy shape reported environmental crime (Almer & Goeschl, 2010). Strengthening of SPCBs on several fronts is urgently required.
Way forward Amendment in environmental law is required so that rather than treating all violations as criminal, provision should be made to: ◦ Treat general violations as social offences and make provision for imposition of graduated financial penalty (low for the first-time violators but becomes more stringent if an industry repeatedly violates a rule) by SPCBs. ◦ The direct life-threatening environmental violations should be made cognizable offence, in which administrative authorities are empowered to register a FIR, investigate and arrest an accused involved in cognizable crime without a court's warrant. Environmental compliance and enforcement is poorly-studied in India. More research and synthesis on this subject is needed, to link knowledge to action.
Felt need for some Policy Interventions Separate Environmental Budgeting ◦ Local Bodies to have specified budget for addressing pollution issues ◦ Industries (Big or Small) and Businesses to make sufficient annual budget to treat pollutants Mandatory Environmental Audit of Local Bodies and Red category Industries Change in the approach towards deterrent measures ◦ Instead of criminal trials emphasis should be on fiscal penalties ◦ CAG audit for compliance of ‘Environmental Obligations’ by Govt Orgs and Local Bodies should be made regular feature. ◦ It should be mandatory for regulator to take deterrent action even if the violator is Govt Org. Confusion about competent Authority for action under various rules should be done away with.