19 states launch online platform for green clearances

Nineteen states on Thursday introduced online submission of applications for environment clearance, a minister said.

Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar launched a web portal that aims to bring in transparency in the process of submission of applications for environment clearance by the State Environment Impact Assessment Authorities for projects that fall under Category ‘B’.

“The online processes have raised the levels of transparency and accountability. It will ensure that monitoring is carried out more effectively and on a real time basis and thus, status on the pendency is available clearly,” Javadekar said.

“It will also speed up clearance processes, while maintaining the rigours of environment clearance process,” he added.

The minister expressed confidence that the remaining states will come on board soon.

Developmental projects are classified under Category ‘A’ or ‘B’ depending on their threshold capacity and pollution potential. While ‘A’ category projects require environment clearance from the Centre, state governments have the authority to clear projects under category ‘B’.

Environment ministry secretary Ashok Lavasa said the ministry had conducted workshops and several rounds of interaction with the 19 states that includes Maharashtra, Punjab, West Bengal and Manipur.

“Majority of environment clearances are done at the state level. So, this (portal) is a significant step forward towards giving clearances to environment projects,” he said.

“Now, the ministry is targeting to bring all the clearances required and Hazardous Substances Management rules online as well,” he added.

The environment ministry had launched the online application system for environmental clearance in 2014.