• In the final year of its tenure, the Indian government is making a dash to revamp the country’s major environmental laws meant to protect forests, coasts and wildlife, and tackle air pollution.
  • Environmentalists say that the hasty changes seem to have been proposed in quick succession to avoid wider and detailed consultations with all concerned stakeholders.
  • They also allege that the proposed changes to existing environmental laws are not focused on protecting and conserving the environment, but aim to ease the growth of industries — a promise made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi just before the 2014 general elections.
India’s 7,500-kilometer (4,660-mile) coastline may see large-scale construction if proposed changes to the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification are finalized.
India’s 7,500-kilometer (4,660-mile) coastline may see large-scale construction if proposed changes to the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification are finalized. © KuwarOnline via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

    With India’s general elections looming large next year, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has proposed sweeping overhauls of environmental laws that govern the country’s forests, fragile coasts, wildlife, and tackle air pollution. Once the proposed changes are finalized they will become the cornerstone for India’s environmental policy for at least the next two decades.

    However, environmentalists say the changes seem to have been proposed in quick succession to avoid wider and detailed consultations with all concerned stakeholders, and to speed up the process of finalization.

    They also allege that the proposed changes to existing environmental laws are not focused on protecting and conserving the environment, but aim to ease the growth of industries — a promise made by Prime Minister Modi just before the 2014 general elections.

    Tinkering with the country’s green laws is not new for the current government. Since coming to power in May 2014, it has implemented a series of changes related to environmental law. However, it has not yet been able to initiate any big-ticket plans. With the general elections now scheduled to take place in the first the half of 2019, the government has hit the gas to implement large-scale changes.

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