For ‘sitting’ on projects, Government shunts out its scientists

On February 10, Dave re-jigged the work allocation of 16 non-official expert members of the Ministry’s appraisal committees in Environment and Climate Change departments.

Written by Amitav Ranjan | New Delhi | Published:February 14, 2017 4:03 am
scientists, scientists projects, scientist project delay, anil madhav dave, scientist transfer, prakash javadekar, work allocation, development project, development project approval, development project inquiry, indian express news, india news Anil Madhav Dave

A month after he admonished scientists for delaying approvals to development projects, Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave has ordered an overhaul of their portfolios.

On February 10, Dave re-jigged the work allocation of 16 non-official expert members of the Ministry’s appraisal committees in Environment and Climate Change departments.

According to an official, this is the largest one-time overhaul. Some experts, an official said, had been sitting on project approvals for “more than six months and needed a stern warning”.

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The most transfers — four — were done in the Impact Assessment Division which conducts environmental assessment of power, construction, mining, industrial and infrastructure projects.

On January 5, Dave held an “interaction and lunch” with 40 experts where he had asked them to clear projects fast and not to hold back development. He later told The Indian Express that he did not want scientists to sit on projects for years by seeking further studies before approving a project.

In November 2015, his predecessor Prakash Javadekar had directed these experts to seek all relevant information relating to the approval of a project “at one go” with the rider that “seeking piecemeal information during appraisal of the project should be avoided”.

Four officials were also transferred out of Hazardous Substances Management Division which lays down procedures and safeguards for accident prevention, preparedness, mitigation and management of e-waste, hazardous waste, solid waste, plastic waste, bio-medical waste and fly ash utilisation.

The transfers follow the shunting of three senior-level advisors out of the ministry to regional offices early this month. Usually, scientists are promoted to advisors and kept in the ministry.

Sources say the next reshuffle could involve juggling of Indian Forest Service officers of the rank of Deputy Inspector General and above.

The Ministry also has plans to appoint an outside consultant to draft and implement a “360-degree evaluation” of the performance of its scientists to assess their suitability for promotion. The ministry feels that the R&D output of the scientists is low.

Scientists are involved in the appraisal/monitoring of environment impact, pollution and hazardous substances, forest conservation, research in environment and climate change, besides providing inputs for Parliament questions and court cases.

In its first two years, the Narendra Modi government cleared over 2,000 projects involving investment worth Rs 10 lakh crore. In May 2016, Javadekar had said that the average waiting period for project approval had been brought down to 190 days from 600 days during the UPA regime and the aim was to reduce it further to 100 days.

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  1. M
    Mary
    Feb 14, 2017 at 5:07 am
    Good riddance to bad rubbish.lt;br/gt;Well done Ministet
    Reply
    1. S
      Satyaki
      Feb 14, 2017 at 3:01 am
      Ha ha ha. Paid trolls are on it today. Bhosriwaalo environment destroy Karke khaoge Kya? Adani ke tatte?
      Reply
      1. A
        Ashok Wadhawan
        Feb 14, 2017 at 3:52 am
        A must shake up .
        Reply
        1. A
          Against Sick
          Feb 14, 2017 at 5:53 am
          Leftists dusaro ko gaali de to woh correct but if the rightists raise any just point and you're banned..this is called freedom of expression as being practiced by Indian left..Twitter India being case in point
          Reply
          1. A
            arv
            Feb 14, 2017 at 1:10 am
            Last govt we were talking scams. Now see what we are talking cleanup of mess. Isn't this acche din. I am fully convinced modi is our man. We need him and he.needs us. Forget others we have seen all.
            Reply
            1. T
              Tutu420
              Feb 14, 2017 at 3:29 am
              Well, the government at any situation must not force scientists to p projects without essing their perceived impacts. At the same time, the scientists should not be left with projects for ever in the name of study. They must do their works. BTW, what do you with environment when half of India's potion don't have enough to eat? Achhar pakaoge? Definitely, you are among those half who wants to stay fit and healthy in the name of preserving environment, while the majority stay hungry !
              Reply
              1. G
                G.S.Satya
                Feb 13, 2017 at 11:57 pm
                Way to make the Govt.productive and results driven by removing the boulders and deadwood.Every project progress should be monitored daily/weekly against goals and target dates.Govt. Officials should propose possible solutions to problems encountered,not just excuses.Reward performance and punish non performance at all levels ,from managers to Officers and even Ministers.Kudos to minister Dave.May he be a role model in the Govt.Best wishes .
                Reply
                1. P
                  pais
                  Feb 14, 2017 at 8:09 am
                  At present 10% of India's richest men and women own 60% of India's wealth. Our governments objective is to increase this to 90% as quickly as possible. The Ministry of Environment and Forests should be wound up. A committee of rich industrialists and businessmen should be formed for clearing projects within 15 days. The Prime Minister's make in India goal can be achieved in the fastest time in this manner.
                  Reply
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