The Centre on Thursday decided to form a committee of four ministers to prepare a framework for an independent environmental regulatory authority to monitor compliance of green laws in the country.
Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Power Minister Piyush Goyal and Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Ananth Kumar have been asked to look at long-standing proposals for creation of a regulator and suggest the most viable structure. The move comes after Supreme Court directed the government to form a regulator in January this year.
The regulator would be tasked with appraising environmental impact assessments for setting up new industries, monitoring the compliance of conditions laid down during granting clearance to projects and prescribing penalties for errant firms.
The proposed regulator will take most of the operational work away from Environment Ministry which will then be left with the job of framing policy guidelines.
The past proposals have been to make the regulator fully autonomous of Environment Ministry, administratively, functionally and financially. It is expected to employ experts who will work on environment regulation full time.
Currently, these jobs are done by ad-hoc committees attached to the MoEF, which meet once a month to clear several, sometimes over 50, projects in a day.