Reform Agenda for India's Environmental Regulators
One of the key challenges faced by India today is how to maintain a high economic growth, and at the same time, ensure environmental sustainability and social justice.
The high growth rate during the last decade has not gone hand in hand with the mandate of environmental sustainability. The air of cities is dirty, rivers are polluted, and hazardous wastes are ill-managed. This could be attributed to the increasing gap that has been created over the years in the overall capacity of environmental regulations and regulatory institutions to address the negative environmental impacts of rapid industrialisation. Environmental regulations are intended to ensure sustainable resource use and facilitate effective natural resource management. Regulatory institutions are entrusted to protect the natural environment from degradation by means of a well developed mechanism of monitoring, compliance and enforcement.
However, there are certain inherent capacity constraints within the regulatory institutions that come in the way of effective compliance and enforcement of regulations. The capacity constraints of regulatory institutions such as the Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF), the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) need to be identified and removed or ameliorated, so that effective implementation of environmental regulations is ensured in the country.
Environmental issues like climate change, water availability, pollution, waste generation and disposal are commanding considerable global attention. Industries, as a major user of raw materials and energy and source of pollution and waste generation, have a major role in addressing current and emerging environmental issues.