What is wrong with #DraftEIA2020 ? (A point-wise thread).
This March the Government proposed a new EIA notification, which would supersede the EIA notification of 2006.
An EIA process firstly exists to protect the environment from industries which would irreparably harm it.
However, the proposed draft EIA 2020 is being called by experts as a 'compilation of violations'.
It dilutes several existing rules and safeguards.
It lays a foundation favourable to industries, injurious to wildlife and public health.
How exactly? Here are some salient points.
1. Post-facto approvals -

The draft has favourable provisions for projects which have been started illegally in protected areas, without permission or without following due process.

They could be appraised, approved later and allowed to continue.
2. Compliance reports submitted by industries -
This has been changed from once in 6 months to once a year.

This means, if there are accidents like gas-leaks, fires, etc within this time, they may not get the attention they require and may go under-reported/not reported.
3. Destabilizing the Public hearing process -
In a democratic system, rules exist to include local people in the decision making.
The new draft exempts numerous harmful projects from public consultation.
For projects without this exemption, its power has been greatly weakened.
4. 'Strategic Projects' -

If the government considers a project as 'strategic' - which includes, but is not limited to, defence and security - then no information about it will be placed in the public domain.
5. Making Clearances faster -

This includes 'digitizing clearance processes' which gives plenty of space for ignoring guidelines and lack of due diligence.

(Just recently the NBWL apprased 31 project proposals in various protected areas over 'zoom', spending 10 mins for each.)
6. Narrow definition of Eco-sensitive areas -
The draft considers eco-sensitive areas as only those notified by the Moefcc.
This excludes places like reserve forests, sacred groves, wetlands, coasts, flood plains etc.
These have reduced protection against destructive projects.
7. Restricted functioning of scientists/experts -

Some clauses allow industries to begin 'scoping' without going through an expert appraisal committee.
Also - only recognized organizations will be consulted for EIA. This leaves out individuals who maybe experts in that field.
8. Botched data collection process -

The draft requires that data from a project site needs to be collected during one season only. It also allows use of old baseline data.

This gives much space for data-biasing and for studies to be conducted in the project's favor.
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