The Draft EIA Notification 2020: Reduced Regulations and Increased Exemptions Part I

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has proposed a new notification to supersede the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification 2006 that is currently in force. The system created by the 2006 Notification is far from perfect. Over the last 14 odd years, there have been quality issues with respect to EIA Reports, several procedural lapses during public hearings and a poor track record with respect to post clearance monitoring and compliance. Despite that, it has been used by project-affected people and non-governmental organisations to reduce the social and environmental costs of projects. The 2020 draft notification proposes changes that can dilute the provisions of the existing framework. This brief provides an analysis of the draft; it offers a clause by clause comparison with the 2006 Notification and unpacks the possible implications of the changes.