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T.S.R. Subramanian Committee Submits Report on Review of Environmental Laws
Nov 20, 2014

The T.S.R. Subramanian Committee headed by former Cabinet Secretary, T.S.R. Subramanian submitted its report to Ministry for Environment, Forests and Climate Change. Viswanath Anand, Justice (Retd.) A.K. Srivastava and K.N. Bhat were the other members of the committee.

The Committee was constituted to review the processes, laws and Acts of the Ministry. The Report is an achievement that would strengthen processes to balance developmental commitments and environment protection. The recommendations of the Report would enhance Ministry’s efforts to avoid undue delays and ensure transparency in clearances and implementation of projects.

The committee had built on the existing mechanisms to optimize the efforts to balance developmental imperatives causing least possible damage to environment. The committee had undertaken wide-ranging consultations with stakeholders and formulated action points to streamline Ministry’s efforts to strengthen institutions and processes.

This high level committee was constituted to review the following Acts administered by the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change:

  • Environment (Protection) Act, 1986

  • Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980

  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972

  • The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974

  • The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act,   1981


The terms of reference were as follows:

  • To assess the status of implementation of each of the above Acts vis-a-vis the  objectives;

  • To examine and take into account various court orders and judicial pronouncements relating to these Acts.

  • To recommend specific amendments needed in each of these Acts so as to bring them in line with current requirements to meet objectives.

  • To draft proposed amendments in each of the above Acts to give effect to the proposed recommendations.


Proposing a complete overhaul of the existing environmental governance framework, the committee has recommended measures that would make it easier to set up industrial or infrastructure projects, but would also ensure that those who flout pollution norms or violate green laws are penalised heavily.

Among the measures suggested by the committee are: creation of new institutions—National Environment Management Agency (NEMA) and State Environment Management Agencies (SEMA), a new All India Environment Service, a National Laboratory that will host a databank of all environmental parameters, and introduction of digital and non-tamperable methods of monitoring compliance.

It has also proposed a new law to give a legal framework to all these and strict punishment for defaulters. While a first offence would be punished with a heavy fine, a repeat offence would straightaway invite closure of the unit or project. The new environment protection regime needs to be backed by the right people, right laws, right technology and right knowledge.


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