9th Five Year Plan (Vol-2)

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Environment and Forest


8.1 There has been an increasing awareness in recent years that protection of the environment is necessary for sustaining the economic and social progress of a country. This awareness was reflected at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992, where more than a hundred heads of government adopted a global action plan called Agenda 21 aimed at integrating environmental imperatives with developmental aspirations and reiterated through the U.N. General Assembly Special Session on Environment held in June 1997. It is now accepted that, in terms of natural resources, a country's demand for its sustenance should not exceed its carrying capacity. Over the last few decades, India has evolved legislations, policies and programmes for environmental protection and conservation of natural resources. The Indian Government's policy has been expressed in the form of statements on forestry, on the abatement of pollution, the national conservation strategy and the policy statement on environment and development (Box 1).

Policy on Environment and Forest

The Indian Government’s policy towards Environment is guided by the principles of Agenda 21. The overnment of India has issued Policy Statements on:

  • Forestry
  • Abatement of Pollution
  • National Conservation Strategy
  • Environment and Development

India is already a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity, Montreal Protocol and Basel Convention.

The spirit of Agenda 21 principles has already been incorporated in these policies. For instance, with regard to the social and economic dimensions of Agenda 21, India has become a signatory to the Montreal Protocol for phasing out ozone depleting substances, the Basel Convention on trans-boundary hazardous substances, the Convention on biological-diversity and other international treaties. Similarly, poverty alleviation programmes have been launched wherein family planning and welfare is a major focus. Environmental concerns are being integrated with development in decision making through mandatory clearance of projects based on environmental impact assessment. Compliance with the conditions stipulated is being ensured by monitoring the progress of implementation of Environmental Management Plans. Conservation and management of resources for development are sought to be achieved through a combination of regulatory and market-based economic instruments. The role of major groups including the NGOs, farmers and other communities is being strengthened by directly involving them in the process of identification, formulation and implementation of environmental programmes. The important role of capacity building, legal instruments and mass media for promoting public awareness is fully recognised.

8.2 Global environmental issues, such as ozone depletion, climate change due to accumulation of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs), bio-diversity loss etc. are largely due to the rapid industrialisation of the developed nations. India is an insignificant contributor to the GHG emissions as can be seen from the Table8.1:

							(million tonnes)
Country		Share of  	Share of  	Share of  	Emissions
                World		Gross		World		per capita
                Population 	World     	Carbon
                1996      	Product   	Emissions
                                1994        	1995
United States         5        26   		23             	5.3    
Russia             	3         2    		7             	2.9
Japan              	2        17       	5             	2.4
Germany            	1         8       	4             	2.9
China                 21        2        13             	0.7
India                 17        1         4             	0.3
Indonesia          	4         1       	1             	0.3
Brazil             	3         2       	1             	0.4
Total                   56       59      	58             	0.9
(* Compilation from several international published sources)

8.3 The main environmental problems in India relate to air and water pollution, degradation of common property resources, threat to biological diversity, solid waste disposal and sanitation. Increasing deforestation, industrialisation, urbanisation, transportation and input-intensive agriculture are some of the other major causes of environmental problems being faced by the country. Poverty presents special problems for a heavily populated country with limited resources.


Air Quality

8.4 The urban areas represent complex environmental problems. The living conditions of millions of urban poor are such that they pose a threat to their health and have potentially catastrophic social consequences. For the urban poor, the living conditions are the worst. If these problems are not addressed to in an adequate and timely manner, serious environmental and associated health consequences will follow. Burgeoning urban population beyond the carrying capacity of the different components of urban eco-systems, coupled with indifferent urban governance, are the root causes for urban environmental problems. Air pollution can cause chronic and acute respiratory diseases, ventilatory malfunction, heart diseases, cancer of the lungs and even death. The blood lead levels of persons in Ahmedabad, Bombay and Calcutta have been reported to be higher than the corresponding levels of persons in lead-free gasoline areas. The details of ambient air quality status in ten large cities/towns are at Annexure I. In most of the cities, while the SPM levels are significantly higher than the CPCB standards, the levels of SO2 and NOx are within the CPCB standards.

8.5 The rural population uses substantial quantities of non-commercial fuel i.e. crop residues, animal dung or wood. Although their share in total fuel consumption is decreasing, these still provide 80 per cent of rural energy for cooking. Several adverse health effects are suspected to arise due to indoor pollution especially where conventional ‘sigri’ has not been replaced with smokeless chulha. Respiratory infection in children, chronic lung diseases, lung cancer in adults and adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as low birth weight and still birth of the child, for women exposed during pregnancy, are some of the diseases associated with indoor pollution.

Water Resources and Water Quality

8.6 India is rich in water resources, being endowed with a network of rivers and vast alluvial basins to hold groundwater. Besides, India is blessed with snow cover in the Himalayan range which can meet a variety of water requirements of the country. However, with the rapid increase in the population of the country and the need to meet the increasing demands of irrigation, human and industrial consumption, the available water resources in many parts of the country are getting depleted and the water quality has deteriorated. In India, water pollution comes from three main sources: domestic sewage, industrial effluents and run-off from agriculture.

8.7 The most significant environmental problem and threat to public health in both rural and urban India is inadequate access to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities. Almost all the surface water sources are contaminated and unfit for human consumption. The diseases commonly caused by contaminated water are diarrhoea, trachoma, intestinal worms, hepatitis etc. Many of the rivers and lakes are getting contaminated from industrial effluents and agricultural run-off, with toxic chemicals and heavy metals which are hard to remove from drinking water with standard purification facilities. Even fish and shellfish in such water get contaminated and their consumption may cause diseases.

8.8 The Constitution of India has assigned the responsibility of protecting the environment to the Union and State Governments. Environmental protection laws have been enacted under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986; the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. The Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986 has empowered the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to lay down and maintain the ambient air quality and water quality standards, to demand information regarding effluent emissions, to shut down polluting activities and to prevent discharges of effluent and sewage. Although these regulations give the CPCB and its State-level counterparts broad powers to control the problem of air and water pollution, the enforcement has been weak.

Solid Wastes and Hazardous Chemicals

8.9 There has been a significant increase in the generation of domestic, urban and industrial wastes in the last few decades. This is largely the result of rapid population growth and industrialisation. The per capita solid waste generated is 0.20 tonnes in Mumbai, 0.44 tonnes in Delhi and 0.29 tonnes in Chennai. Although a major part of the waste generated is non-hazardous, substantial quantities of hazardous waste is also generated. The growth of chemical industries has resulted in the extensive use of chemicals, which release huge quantities of wastes into the environment in the form of solids, liquids and gases. A substantial amount of these wastes are potentially hazardous to the environment. The leaching of hazardous wastes at the dumping sites is a common feature. This results in the contamination of surface and groundwater supply and is a potential risk to human health. Effective control of hazardous wastes is of paramount importance for the maintenance of health, environmental protection and natural resource management.

8.10 Hospital wastes being generated by mushroom growth of nursing homes pose a special risk and has the potential to take epidemic form.

8.11 In view of the proliferation of the chemical industry and the significant increase in the hazardous waste generation, the Government of India framed the Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 1989. Under these Rules, it is mandatory for the hazardous waste generators to provide information on the quantity and type of hazardous wastes produced.

Land Degradation and Soil Loss

8.12 Soil erosion is the most serious cause of land degradation. Estimates show that around 130 million hectares of land (45% of total geographical area) is affected by serious soil erosion through ravine and gully, cultivated waste lands, waterlogging, shifting cultivation etc. It is also estimated that India loses about 5310 million tonnes of soil annually.

8.13 The accumulation of salts and alkalinity affect the productivity of agricultural lands in arid and semi-arid regions, which are under irrigation. The magnitude of water logging in irrigated command has recently been estimated at 2.46 million hectares. Besides, 3.4 million hectares suffer from surface water stagnation. Injudicious use of canal water causes water logging and a rise in the water table, which, if left uncorrected, eventually leads to salinisation. Although irrigation and drainage should go hand in hand, the drainage aspect has not been given due attention in both major and minor irrigation projects in the country. There has been waterlogging associated with many of the large reservoirs since their inception.

8.14 Fertilisers and pesticides are important inputs for increasing agricultural production. Their use has increased significantly from the mid-60s. Over and unbalanced use of these chemicals is fraught with danger. However, fertilisers and pesticide use are concentrated in certain areas and crops. Suitable agronomic practices will be helpful in this regard. Table 8.2 and Table 8.3 show that our consumption of pesticides and fertilisers is much below than that of the neighbouring countries.

                             TABLE  8.2 
  Country        Use of Chemical Fertilisers per hectare of arable land (kg/ha)
                    1970-71                      1991-92
 Bangladesh           15.7               	  109.8
 Bhutan                0.8             		    0.8
 India                13.7              	   75.2
 Nepal                 2.7                         27.2
 Pakistan             14.6                	   88.9
 Sri Lanka            55.5                	   93.1
 Philippines          28.7             		   54.8
 China                41.0               	  304.3
 Rep. of Korea       245.0                        451.7
 Japan               354.7               	  387.3


  Source: FAO

              TABLE 8.3


S.No. Country        Level of consumption   

1. Argentina           0.295
2. India               0.450
3. Turkey              0.298
4. Indonesia           0.575
5. U.S.A.              0.579
6. Thailand            1.367
7. Mexico              1.375
8. Republic of Korea   6.559
9. Japan               9.180
10. Hungary           12.573
11. Italy             13.355
Source : FAO

Forests, Wildlife and Bio-diversity

8.15 Forests are important for maintaining ecological balance and preserving the life supporting system of the earth. They are essential for food production, health and other aspects of human survival and sustainable development.

8.16 Indian forests constitute 2% of the world's forest area but are forced to support 12% of the world's human population and 14% of world's livestock population. This is sufficient to indicate the tremendous biotic pressure they face.

8.17 Forests in India have been shrinking for several decades owing to the pressure of population on land for competing uses, such as agriculture, irrigation and power projects, industry, roads etc. In India, forests account for about 19.27 per cent of the total land area. On the other hand, in advanced countries, the area under forests is often about a third of the total land area. There is a need to have massive reforestation programmes, control over hacking and grazing and provision of cheap fuel through alternative technologies.

8.18 The National Forest Policy (1988) stipulates that a minimum of one-third of the total land area of the country should be brought under forest or tree cover. It is envisaged that this will be achieved by involving local stakeholders like the farmers, the tribals, the women, the NGOs and the Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs).

8.19 Another concern relating to the state of forest resources is that of bio-diversity and extinction of species. India has a rich heritage of species and genetic strains of flora and fauna. Out of the total eighteen bio-diversity hot-spots in the world, India has two, one is the north-east Himalayas and the other is the Western Ghats. At present, India is home to several animal species that are threatened, including over 77 mammal, 22 reptiles and 55 birds and one amphibian species. For in-situ conservation of biological diversity, India has developed a network of protected areas including national parks, sanctuaries and biosphere reserves. This network, which is being progressively expanded, now covers about 4% of the total land area of the country. As a result of the amendments in 1991 to the Wildlife (Protection) Act, hunting of all species of wild life for commerce or for pleasure has been banned.


8.20 The Ministry of Environment and Forests was allocated an outlay of Rs.1200 crore for its Eighth Plan (1991-92 prices) against which the actual expenditure was Rs. 1631.90 crore (current prices). The sector wise and year wise details of outlays/expenditure is at Annexure II.


8.21 Environmental protection covers all those activities which relate to the formulation of policies and programmes for prevention and mitigation of pollution through the regulatory framework. Besides, activities which are initiated for the conservation of ecology are also included. An amount of Rs.325.00 crore was allocated for the environment sector in the Eighth Plan. The major highlights of the achievements in the environment sector during the Eighth Plan are as below.

i) Abatement of Pollution

(a) Central Pollution Control Board

8.22 The main functions of the Central Pollution Control Board are to act as regulatory agency for the prevention and control of water and air pollution by invoking, wherever necessary, the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act - 1974, the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act - 1981 and the Environmental (Protection) Act - 1986 and to supervise the work of the State Pollution Control Boards.

8.23 The major activities of the Central Pollution Control Board during the Eighth Plan included the development and expansion of laboratory facilities, management and operation of the national air and water quality network, controlling pollution at sources, river basin studies, evaluation and implementation of national standards, hazardous waste management, including preparation of an inventory of hazardous waste generating industries in different States, preparation of Zoning Atlas for siting industries in various districtsof the country, development of criteria for eco-labeling of consumer products, remedial measures for vehicular pollution especially for vehicles in use in metro cities, noise pollution survey, training of personnel engaged in preventing and controlling pollution and organising nation-wide awareness programmes for prevention and control of pollution.

(b) Environment Statement (as part of Environmental Audit)

8.24 Submission of an environmental statement by the polluting units to the concerned State Pollution Control Boards has been made mandatory through a gazette notification issued under the Environment (Protection) Act - 1986. The environmental statement enables the units to take a comprehensive look at their industrial operations and facilitates an understanding of material flows and focusing on those areas where waste reduction, and consequently saving in input costs, is possible.

(c) Adoption of Clean Technologies in Small Scale Industries

8.25 This scheme seeks (a) to promote the development and adoption of clean technology, including waste re-use and recycling and (b) to link research and development with dissemination of the R and D outcome and adoption of clean technologies to prevent pollution in small scale industries. Activities relating to demonstration of already proven cleaner technologies/techniques, preparation of sector-specific manuals on waste minimisation, setting up of Waste Minimisation Circles in specific clusters of small scale industries, training and awareness programmes for the personnel in small scale industries and waste minimisation and demonstration studies in selected sectors were undertaken during the Eighth Plan.

8.26 The concept of Waste Minimisation Circles is as follows:

  1. Promotion of the concept of waste minimisation through awareness and training programmes.
  2. Institutionalisation of waste minimisation circles among the clusters of small scale industries of the same category.
  3. Sectoral studies on waste minimisation and demonstration in selected sectors.
  4. Demonstration of improvement in environmental and, in turn, economic performance in a cluster of small units.
  5. Promotion of increased general environment awareness among small scale units by providing training programmes on various environmental issues.
  6. Preparation of sector-specific manuals on waste minimisation.
  7. Preparation of training packages on waste minimisation and organisation of training programmes for trainers and trainees.

(d) Environmental Statistics and Mapping

8.27 Under this scheme, activities relating to collection, collation and analysis of environmental data and its depiction on an atlas were carried out. Activities relating to the production of computerised maps and preparation of Zoning Atlas for siting industries in selected districts were also taken up during the Eighth Plan.

(e) World Bank Assisted Industrial Pollution Control Project (Phase-I)

8.28 This project commenced in 1991 and is expected to be completed by the end of March, 1999. It has the following two broad components:

  1. Investment Component which provides for loan assistance to large and medium scale industries for installing pollution control equipments; establishment of common effluent treatment plants for clusters of small scale units; and establishment of demonstration projects for introducing energy and resource conservation measures in the small and medium scale sectors.
  2. Institutional Development Component which is designed to strengthen the monitoring and enforcement abilities of the Pollution Control Boards of four industrialised States of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and UttarPradesh. These include activities like acquisition of analytical and monitoring equipments, provision of laboratory facilities and training.

8.29 The medium and large scale industries have utilised the loan amount disbursed to them by the IDBI and ICICI. As many as 35 common effluent treatment plants have been extended financial assistance. About 100 training programmes have been conducted for the personnel of the Central and State Pollution Control Boards. A dozen demonstration projects have been approved for different technologies to be developed in various industries. The equipment for the identified State Pollution Control Boards under Phase-I have been partly procured.

(f) World Bank Assisted Industrial Pollution Prevention Project (Phase - II)

8.30 This project has been operational from 1996-97. The objectives of the project are: (i) to strengthen the capabilities in the States of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, (ii) to facilitate priority investments to prevent pollution from industrial sources by encouraging the use of clean technologies, waste minimisation and resource recovery, (iii) to provide technical assistance for the adoption of modern tools of information and management, organisation of clean technology institutional network and an extension service on environmentally sound practices for small scale industries. The project has three components, namely, institutional, investment and technical.

(g) Development of Standards

8.31 Development of standards is a continuous process and they are notified as and when they are finalised for specific categories of industries.

(h) Industrial Pollution Control

8.32 The activities under this programme include:-

  • Taking priority action to control industrial pollution, for which 17 categories of heavily polluting industries in the country have been identified and a time-bound programme has been given to the industries to instal necessary pollution control facilities and to comply with the prescribed standards. The follow-up action on compliance is being monitored.
  • Monitoring of action points relating to restoration of environmental quality in critically polluted areas.
  • Preparation of Zoning Atlas for siting industries.
  • Implementation of pollution control measures in Agra-Mathura region.

(i) Pollution Monitoring and Review

8.33 The activities under this programme include:-

  • Monitoring of coastal water, river water and ground water quality.
  • Assessment of coastal pollution to plan for its prevention.
  • Ambient air quality monitoring.
  • Industrial inventory for large, medium and small scale industries.

(j) Economic Instruments

Economic Instruments

Government policies, in addition to regulatory mechanisms, incorporate market based economic instruments in economic and environmental planning. For example:

  • Enhancement of cess rates on water consumption.
  • Duty concessions on import of certain pollution control equipments.
  • Accelerated depreciation on pollution abatement equipment.

8.34 In an effort to integrate economic and environmental planning, a variety of incentives to adopt efficiency enhancing and waste minimisation practices are being promoted. This includes enhancing the cess rates on water consumption, duty concessions, accelerated depreciation on pollution abatement equipment etc. To facilitate a wider introduction of such instruments, a study has been sponsored by the Ministry of Environment and Forests to analyse the market-based instruments such as taxes/charges for industrial pollution abatement.

ii) Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

8.35 The purpose of Environmental Impact Assessment is to appraise developmental projects to ensure that development takes place in harmony with environmental concerns. It also enables the project authorities to integrate environmental concerns in the project portfolio. In a way it is a preventive measure.

8.36 Other related activities carried out during the Eighth Plan included: carrying capacity studies (Doon Valley, National Capital Region), studies on improving the methodology and techniques of environmental impact assessment of development projects, training programmes, promotion of cleaner production programmes, including life cycle studies.

iii) Conservation and Survey

a) Botanical Survey of India (BSI)

8.37 About 65% of the total area of the country has been surveyed and three million herbarium specimens are in possession. During 1987-97, 106 new species were discovered by BSI. Surveys in special/fragile ecosystems like cold deserts, hot deserts, Alpine Himalayas, wetlands, mangroves and coastal areas have been undertaken. The BSI also undertook special projects such as a study on conservation and survey of rare and endangered species, all-India coordinated project on ethnobiology, floristic study of biosphere reserve areas, EIA in developmental project areas, geobotanical studies in Singhbhum and Khetri copper belts etc.

b) Zoological Survey of India (ZSI)

8.38 About 65% of the total area of the country has been surveyed. During 1987-97, 759 new species were recorded. The main activities of ZSI during the Eighth Plan were: exploration and survey of faunal resources, taxonomic and ecological studies, maintenance and development of national zoological collections, status survey of endangered species, environmental impact assessment studies, publication of Fauna of India.

c) National Museum of Natural History (NMNH)

8.39 The NMNH, New Delhi is an institution devoted to environmental education. The highlights of the Eighth Plan performance of NMNH relate to "LEARN" (Lessons on Environmental Awareness and Resources at NMNH) for the students of classes VI to XII of Delhi Schools; `Environment Essay Competition (in Braille)' and `Feel, Smell and Tell' for visually handicapped; and `Know About Dinosaurs' for teenagers.

d) Bio-diversity Conservation

8.40 The scheme on Bio-diversity Conservation was initiated during 1991-92 to ensure proper coordination among various agencies concerned with the issues relating to conservation of biological diversity and to review, monitor and evolve adequate policy instruments for the same. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was signed by 168 countries, including India, during the Rio meetings. India has since ratified the Convention.

iv) Research and Development

8.41 This is a continuing scheme for the promotion of research in the multi-disciplinary aspects of environmental protection, conservation and development together with the creation of facilities and development of technical capabilities. To achieve these objectives, the research projects in the thrust areas are supported with grants-in-aid.

8.42 Under the scheme, programmes such as Man and the Biosphere Programme, Environmental Research Programme, Action-Oriented Research Programme on Eastern and Western Ghats and research projects in Climate Change are included. During the Eighth Plan, over 190 research projects in multi-disciplinary aspects were initiated. Of these, about 60 have been completed and results disseminated to the potential/interested user agencies. A Status Report on the All India Coordinated Project on Ethnobiology, documenting information of the country-wide survey concerning traditional knowledge system, use of biological resources by the tribal population and their inter-dependence, has also been published. A report on the All India Coordinated Project-III on conservation of endangered plant species has been published. A coordinated research project on `Aerobio-pollution and Human Health' was launched to collect information, through survey, concerning air borne diseases involving 26 centres throughout the country.

8.43 Attention has also been paid to initiate studies on improving our understanding of the subject of climate change and on preparation of inventories of the greenhouse gases, which would be useful in projecting the scientific inputs for various discussions at the international level, as also to meet the requirements of the general commitments emerging out of the Framework Convention on Climate Change.

8.44 A new scheme on environmental information dissemination was launched during the Eighth Plan to ensure public participation in the programmes of environment awareness generation, control of pollution and conservation of natural resources. The scheme named as `Paryavaran Vahini' is being implemented from 1992-93. 184 districts in various states of the country have been selected to set up `Paryavaran Vahinis' during the Eighth Plan period.

v) Environmental Education, Training and Information

8.45 In order to encourage participation of school children in various activities related to ecological conservation and preservation of the environment a scheme namely, Eco-clubs involving school children has been launched. The objective of the Eco-clubs is not limited only to imparting environment education to school children but also includes mobilising them to participate in various environmental preservation efforts in their locality. During Eighth Plan period more than 5,000 such Eco-clubs have been set up in various schools of the country.

8.46 An Environmental Information Systems (ENVIS) was set up by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, to provide information on various subjects related to environment to decision-makers, researchers, academicians, policy planners, environmentalists, engineers and the general public. It is a decentralised system with a network of distributed subject oriented centres, ensuring integration of national efforts in environmental information, collection, collation, storage, retrieval and dissemination to all user groups. A chain of 22 such distribution centres, known as ENVIS centres, has been set up on various priority areas of environment under the scheme, by the end of Eighth Plan.

8.47 Five Centres of Excellence in the field of environmental education, ecological research, mining, environment and ornithology have been set up. These Centres provide various resource materials, training, research facilities etc., to all concerned.

8.48 As per the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Bio-resources and Environment, 37 priority areas were identified for undertaking research projects involving remote sensing technologies under a scheme of National Natural Resource Management System. Projects covering more than 18 areas have been considered by the Bio-resource Committee and sanctioned during the Eighth Plan.

8.49 Financial assistance has also been provided for the organisation of seminars/ symposia/ workshops on environment related topics of scientific interest and to provide a common platform to all professionals for sharing the up-dated knowledge on environmental-related areas.

vi) Policy and Law

8.50 The Government of India has enunciated its policy, in the form of policy statements, on Abatement of Pollution, on Forestry and National Conservation Strategy and on Conservation and Development. In addition, there are laws for protection of environment. These include Wild Life (Protection) Act-1972; Forest (Conservation) Act-1980;Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act-1974; Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act- 1981; Environment (Protection) Act - 1986; Public Liability (Insurance) Act-1991; and National Environment Tribunal Act- 1995. The Environment (Protection) Act - 1986 sets out the parameters under which the Ministry of Environment and Forests operates to formulate and carry out environmental policy at the national level. Underlying the policy statements is the recognition of the principle that effective management and control of natural resources requires the support and participation of the people.

8.51 During the Eighth Plan, considerable attention was given to make the pollution control laws more effective and to bring an umbrella legislation for protection of environment. A number of Central and State executive authorities have been delegated powers for effective implementation of the Environment Protection Act. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act - 1981 and the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act - 1974 have been amended to bring certain provisions of the Acts at par with those of the Environment (Protection) Act - 1986.

8.52 The National Environment Tribunal Act - 1995, provides for strict liability for damages arising out of any accident occurring while handling any hazardous substance and for the establishment of a National Environment Tribunal for effective and expeditious disposal of cases arising from such accidents with a view to granting the relief and compensation for damages to persons, property and the environment and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

vii) International Cooperation

8.53 During the Eighth Plan period, the Government of India participated in the conventions on implementing the Rio Agreements and the AGENDA-21, Montreal Protocol, Commission on Sustainable Development, Global Environment Facility.

8.54 The Indo-Canada Environment Facility, operational since 1993-94, is a commodity grant from the Canadian Government. The grant is in the form of Murate of Potash, which is sold in the Indian market and the proceeds passed on, through the Ministry of Environment and Forests, to a registered society to undertake projects on environmental protection and conservation.

8.55 India became a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Convention on Biological-diversity (CBD), Basel Convention on the Control of Trans-boundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal and Montreal Protocol on controlling the substances that deplete the Ozone layer.

viii) National River Conservation Programme

(a) Ganga Action Plan - Phase I

8.56 The Ganga Action Plan (GAP) Phase-I was launched by the Government of India in June, 1986 as a 100% Centrally Sponsored Scheme with the objective of improving the river water quality.

8.57 It was envisaged that industrial pollution would be tackled through the enforcement of existing regulations by municipal authorities under which effluent treatment plants would be set up by industry. Under GAP-I, interception, diversion and treatment of sewage works; electric crematoria; low-cost sanitation, and river front facilities were set up.

8.58 Out of 261 schemes of pollution abatement taken up in 25 Class-I cities along the river Ganga, 254 schemes have been completed till March, 1998 in the States of Uttar Pradesh (105 schemes), Bihar (41 schemes) and West Bengal (107). There are four, three and one schemes which are pending in the states of Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh respectively.

8.59 The major reasons identified for the slippages have been problems in land acquisition, related litigation and contractual issues. 683 mld of sewage treatment facilities have been installed against the target of 873/882 (revised).

8.60 The scheme has been subjected to technical evaluation by four universities located on the banks of Ganga. An ex-post evaluation in the `Benefit Cost Analysis' framework is in progress and the final report is awaited. Achievements of GAP-I are evident from Figure 1. As Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) is a measure of the amount of organic pollution in water, it serves as a useful parameter for assessing water quality. Maximum success in reducing pollution in the river Ganga has been achieved in Allahabad followed by Varanasi and Kanpur.


  Figure 1: Water quality under Ganga Action Plan (Phase I) in Allahabad,  
                   Varanasi and Kanpur (BOD Levels)


(b) Ganga Action Plan - Phase II

8.61 The GAP Phase II was launched during the Eighth Plan. Works on the major polluted tributaries of Ganga, namely, Yamuna, Gomti and Damodar, were taken up with the objective of improving the river water quality, as per the designated best use criteria. Works in 29 Class-I towns along the Ganga, which could not be included in the first phase were taken up in Phase-II together with works in other smaller towns along the Ganga.

8.62 The Scheme was launched as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme with equal sharing by the Central and State Government, with the operation and maintenance expenses being fully borne by the States. The Yamuna Action Plan and the Gomati Action Plan components were approved in 1993. No work was taken up on Damodar river during the Eighth Plan period. Summer average values for water quality (Dissolved Oxygen, BOD) on main stem of river Ganga under GAP have been shown at Annexure III.

8.63 The approved outlay of GAP Phase II is Rs. 416.36 crore and funds to the tune of Rs. 7.34 crore have been released till 31.03.98.

(c) National River Conservation Plan (NRCP)

8.64 The NRCP, which was approved in July, 1995, envisages the coverage of 18 grossly polluted stretches of rivers in 10 States. As many as 46 towns are to be covered of which 17 are in the Southern, 11 in the Western, 7 in the Eastern and 11 in the Central part, of India. The NRCP was launched as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme with equal sharing between the Centre and the States. The total cost of the scheme has been placed at Rs.772 crore and the time-frame for its completion is 10 years. Till March 1998, a sum of Rs. 40.97 crore has been released by Government of India.

8.65 The towns are proposed to be included in NRCP (Table 8.4).

8.66 The GAP-II and the National River Conservation Plan were approved as Centrally Sponsored Scheme with a sharing cost of 50:50. Through a Government resolution dated 5.12.96, GAP-II was merged with NRCP to cover a total of 141 towns on 22 rivers streches in 14 States.

8.67 The Operations and Maintenance (O and M) under the NRCP has not been found to be satisfactory. Lack of interest by the local bodies in the maintenance of Sewage system etc. and problems of uninterrupted power supply to Sewage Treatment Plants, Pumping Stations, Electric Crematoria etc. have been found to be the main causes. Unless O and M facilities created are improved, optimum benefits of the project cannot be achieved.


Sl No Town Sl No Town Sl No Town
Andhra Pradesh Madhya Pradesh 34 Chandbali
1 Mancharial 17 Indore 35 Dharamshala
2 Bhadrachalam 18 Ujjain Punjab
3 Rajamundri 19 Burhanpur 36 Ludhiana
4 Ramagundam 20 Mandideep 37 Jallundhar
Bihar 21 Bhopal 38 Phagwara
5 Ranchi 22 Vidisha 39 Phillaur
6 Jamshedpur 23 Jabalpur Rajasthan
7 Ghatshila 24 Seoni 40 Kota
Gujarat 25 Chapara 41 Keshoraipatta
8 Ahmedabad 26 Keolari Tamil Nadu
Karnataka 27 Nagda 42 Kumarapalayam
9 Shimoga Maharashtra 43 Bhawani
10 Harihara 28 Karad 44 Erode
11 Bhadravati 29 Sangli 45 Trichy
12 Davanagere 30 Nasik 46 Palli Palayam
13 K R Nagar 31 Nanded
14 Kollegal Orissa
15 Nanjangud 32 Cuttack
16 Sri Rangapat 33 Talcher


8.68 According to the State of Forest Report 1997, which is the sixth assessment of the forest cover of India based on visual and digital interpretation of the satellite data pertaining to the period 1993-95 on a scale of 1:250,000, the forest cover of the country is only 19.27% of the total geographic area. Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have shown an improvement in the forest cover, whereas Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Orissa, and the Union Territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands have shown a further deterioration of forest cover. In Delhi, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu, there was no change in forest cover during the period of last two assessments. On an aggregate basis, there has been a reduction in the forest cover to the extent of 5,482 sq. km between the two assessments of 1995 and 1997. Of the greatest concern is the picture in the North Eastern States where a reduction to the extent of 783 sq. km in the forest cover was reflected in the 1995 assessment. The 1997 assessment shows a somewhat better situation, as the loss of forest cover in this region has come down to 316 sq.km. Mizoram and Tripura have, in fact, shown gain in forest cover between two assessments. Extent of state-wise forest cover under different assessments (1987-95) is shown at Annexure IV and that of 1997 assessment at Annexure V.

8.69 Under forest protection and regeneration, the scheme `Association of Scheduled Tribes and Rural Poor in Regeneration of Degraded Forests' was taken up on pilot basis with 37 projects in nine States namely Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharasthra, Rajasthan, Orissa, West Bengal and Karnataka.

8.70 During the Eighth Plan, a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, `Modern Forest Fire Control Methods in India' was continued. The scheme was launched during the Seventh Plan with UNDP assistance as a pilot project in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra mainly to protect forests from fire. The Project was implemented in 13 states during Eighth Plan.

Afforestation and Eco-Development

A). Afforestation on degraded forests

8.71 The National Afforestation and Eco-Development Board was created at the time of the bifurcation of the erstwhile National Wasteland Development Board, then under the Ministry of Environment and Forests in July, 1992. Areas adjoining forests and fragile eco-systems were brought under the National Afforestation and Eco-Development Board (NAEB), while other wastelands were covered under the newly created National Wasteland Development Board in the Department of Wasteland Development in the Ministry of Rural Areas and Employment. An outlay of Rs. 461 crore was finally allocated to the NAEB for reclaiming degraded forest area adjoining forests during the Eighth Plan. The schemes of NAEB are:

(i) Integrated Afforestation and Eco-Development Projects (IAEPS) Scheme

8.72 This is intended to promote afforestation and development of degraded forests by adopting an integrated watershed-based approach. This 100% Centrally Sponsored Scheme envisages micro-plan preparation by a multi-disciplinary team in consultation with the local people. During the Eighth Plan period under this scheme an area of about 2,89,917 ha. was covered with a total expenditure of Rs. 203.12 crore.

(ii) Fuelwood and Fodder Project Scheme

8.73 This is meant to augment the production of fuelwood and fodder in 229 identified fuelwood deficient districts of the country to meet the needs of the communities. The cost of raising the plantations of fuelwood and fodder is shared equally between the Central and the State Governments. Under this scheme an area of about 3,87,216 ha. was covered with a total expenditure (central assistance component) of Rs.154.19 crore during the Eighth Plan period.

(iii) Non-Timber Forest Produce Scheme

8.74 The scheme provided for financial assistance to State Governments for increasing the production of Non-Timber Forest Produce (NTFP), including medicinal plants by raising plantations. This 100% Centrally Sponsored Scheme has a focus on creation of NTFP plantation assets in tribal areas. During the Eighth Plan period an area of about 1,06,170 ha. was covered with a total expenditure of Rs. 56.47 crore under this scheme.

(iv) Grants-in-Aid Scheme

8.75 Promotion of people's participation in afforestation activities is a mandate of the NAEB. Under this scheme, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are assisted financially for taking up afforestation and tree planting in public and private wastelands adjoining forest areas and building upon people's movement for afforestation. A total of 338 projects were sanctioned and Rs. 7.51 crore were released to voluntary agencies during Eighth Plan period.

(v) Seed Development Scheme

8.76 Developing facilities for collection, testing, certification, storage and use of quality seeds for afforestation purposes is the aim of this scheme. The scheme also aims at establishing seed certification protocol in the long-run, which would ultimately increase the productivity of forests. Under this scheme a total amount of Rs. 7.80 crore was released to States/UTs during Eighth Plan period.

(vi) Scheme of Aerial Seeding

8.77 A Centrally Sponsored Scheme of aerial seeding, which was started on a pilot basis in 1988-89 with 100% central assistance, continued during the initial years of Eighth Plan period. The objective of the scheme was to study the effectiveness of aerial seeding technique of afforestation for regenerating/revegetating difficult and inaccessible areas like ravines, hills/mountains, desert areas etc. However, this scheme was discontinued after 1993-94 on the basis of technical report of Indian Council of Forest Research and Education (ICFRE). The ICFRE advised that they were not aware of any technologies which make the seed penetrate in highly degraded and compacted soils on which better results were possible manually. In two years (1992-94) of its implementation during the Eighth Plan, an amount of Rs. 2.49 crore were spent and an area of 37,320 ha. was covered.

Afforestation under 20-Point Programme

8.78 NAEB, in Ministry of Environment and Forests, is the nodal agency for fixing targets and monitoring the achievements for afforestation and tree planting activities under point 16 of the 20-Point Programme. During the Eighth Plan period under 16 (a) (Seedling distribution) 501.07 million seedlings were distributed and under 16 (b) (area coverage) 4.56 million ha. of area was afforested bringing the total national area covered under afforestation to 7.03 million ha. The Targets/achievements of NAEB during the Eighth Plan are at Annexure VI.

8.79 A comprehensive evaluation of the following major afforestation schemes of NAEB was undertaken during the Eighth Five Year Plan by an independent and expert agency : i) Integrated Afforestation and Eco-Development Projects Scheme (IAEPS), ii) Fuelwood and Fodder Project Scheme (FFPS), iii) Non-Timber Forest Produce Scheme (NTFPS).

8.80 The main findings of the evaluation report are as follows :

  1. Under IAEPS, the overall physical coverage vis-a-vis the area targets has been around 76%. The survival percentage has been in the range of 50-80% in most of the cases. The surviving plants have been found to be in good condition. Soil and moisture conservation measures such as contour bunding, gully plugging, trenches etc. have been given adequate attention. Lack of funds for maintenance has led to ineffective protection through cattle proof trenches, fencing etc. Social fencing has been taken up only in a few cases and found to be effective.
  2. Under FFPS, the overall physical coverage vis-a-vis area targets has been approximately 96%. The survival percentage has been in the range of 50-85%. The surviving plants have been found to be in good condition.
  3. Under NTFPS, the overall physical coverage vis-a-vis area targets has been approximately 94%. The survival percentage has been in the range of 40-70%. The surviving plants have been found to be in good condition, except in the case of medicinal plants. Lack of funds for maintenance has led to ineffective protection through fencing and cattle proof trenches etc. Hedges of thorny species and social fencing were taken up only in a few cases and found to be effective.

8.81 The main recommendations of the evaluation report are as follows:

  1. Although watershed approach has been found to be difficult to implement, the schemes should have the objectives of saturating an identified watershed.
  2. Projects should be prepared on the basis of Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA). Formation of `Van Suraksha Samities' / Forest Protection Committees should be taken up simultaneously.
  3. Technology development needs to be enlarged in scope. Field trials of developed technologies must be made more extensive.
  4. Orientation of the staff and their continuity in projects may be ensured for better results.
  5. Implementing Agencies must consider formation of Joint Forest Management Committees as their first responsibility in implementing the projects and no project should be prepared without taking local communities in confidence.
  6. Choice of species should be made carefully, for AOFFP projects good coppicers suited to the locality should be selected.

8.82 Based upon the above findings and recommendations the guidelines of all schemes of NAEB have been revised with emphasis on the following activities to make afforestation programmes more effective and people-oriented :

a) Joint Forest Management

8.83 People's participation in afforestation activities, popularly know as Joint Forest Management, has been made a central and integral part of all plantation projects. The project authorities will be given adequate leverage by way of `entry point activities' and more emphasis will be given along with adequate funds for building of awareness etc. amongst communities. In the selection of the project sites, village panchayats or other village level bodies would be associated. Such village bodies and local community will be involved in project preparation, implementation and usufruct sharing.

b) Micro Planning

8.84 Emphasis on micro-planning for project implementation after full consultation with the local communities is being given. In order to involve the local community in afforestation projects, sufficient flexibility to locate sites is being allowed to the field level implementing agencies.

c) Technology Extension

8.85 Sufficient flexibility along with appropriate funds will be provided to the implementing agency for implementing improved and established new technology in the field of nurseries, plantation etc. for getting better results.

d) Monitoring and Evaluation

8.86 In order to ensure the adequacy of the joint forest management efforts and the micro planning exercises, NAEB has proposed to take up three concurrent evaluations of plantation projects instead of the existing system of two evaluations.

B). Wastelands Development

8.87 Realising the gravity of the ecological and socio-economic problems arising out of land degradation and the urgency of evolving and implementing integrated strategies for development of the vast areas of wastelands, the Government of India set up a new Department of Wastelands Development under the Ministry of Rural Development in July, 1992 with the mandate to develop non-forest wastelands. Following schemes/ programmes which are Central Sector Schemes (CS) are being implemented by the department to achieve its objectives:

(I) Integrated Wastelands Development Projects Scheme (IWDP)

8.88 This is the flagship scheme of the Department with about 90% outlay of the Department earmarked for it. The main objective of the Scheme is to take up integrated wasteland development based on village/micro-watershed plans. These plans are prepared after taking into consideration the land capability, site condition and local needs of the people. Since 1st April, 1995 all the projects of IWDP are implemented on the basis of watershed approach, based on the guidelines of Dr. C.H. Hanumantha Rao Committee. The guidelines envisage the bottom-up approach whereby the User Groups/ Self Help Groups themselves will decide their work programme which is to be integrated at the district level. The people are involved in planning, implementation and monitoring of watershed programme.

8.89 During the Eighth Five Year Plan period, 155 integrated wasteland development projects were sanctioned at total outlay of Rs. 393.68 crore for the development of 2.84 lakh hectare of wastelands involving release of Rs. 216.16 crore.

(ii) Technology Development, Training and Extension Scheme

8.90 The main objectives of the Scheme are to establish technical data base and to provide assistance to such projects, which are required for filling the gaps existing in the present technology. The scheme aims at compilation of important technical data bases, initiated through various institutions, departments, universities, etc. for evolving suitable techniques to fill these gaps. The scheme also envisages the setting up of demonstration centres for the reclamation of problematic lands like saline, ravine, water logged etc. The scheme is implemented through Governmental agencies, Agriculture Universities, established and reputed Non-Government Organisations, public sector undertakings etc. Currently 57 projects are being implemented through various institutions. During the 8th Five Year Plan 66 projects with total investment of Rs. 8.28 crore were sanctioned under the scheme.

(iii) Grant-in-Aid Scheme

8.91 Under this scheme, 100% Central grant is made available to registered voluntary agencies, cooperatives, Mahila Mandals, Yuva Mandals and other similar organisations for undertaking work, directly or indirectly encouraging afforestation and wastelands development. The work could include actual implementation of small programmes like plantation and soil and moisture conservation, awareness raising, training and extension, organisation of the people for protection, maintenance and sharing of usufruct etc.

8.92 During the Eighth Five Year Plan 234 projects were sanctioned in favour of voluntary agencies and a sum of Rs. 13.75 crore was released to VAs for development of about 18,684ha. of degraded land.

(iv) Investment Promotional Scheme

8.93 The principal objective of this scheme is to mobilise resources from financial institutions/ banks, corporate bodies including user industries and other entrepreneurs for development of wastelands belonging to individual farmers, community/ Panchayats, institutions and Government agencies. During the Eighth Five Year Plan, the physical achievement was 91 ha. with expenditure of Rs. 1.08 crore and subsidy released was 0.21 crore.

(v) Wastelands Development Task Force

8.94 Under this scheme, a Wastelands Development Task Force was created in March, 1995 for the development of inaccessible and highly degraded ravines of Morena District in Madhya Pradesh. During the Eighth Five Year Plan an allocation of Rs. 3.5 crore was made for implementation of the scheme.

(vi) Communication

8.95 Publication of literature on Wastelands Development Programmes and preparation and distribution of short-duration films/pamphlets have been undertaken for creating general awareness.


8.96 One of the objectives of the Ninth Five Year Plan is to ensure environmental sustainability of the development process through social mobilisation and participation of people at all levels. The Ninth Plan is also based on the belief that the principal task of planning in a federal structure is to evolve a shared vision and commitment to the national objectives and development strategy. The Ninth Plan also lays greater stress on reorienting the policies than on direct intervention so as to signal and induce the various economic agents to function in a manner consistent with the national objectives.

8.97 The Ninth Plan strategy for the environment sector has been drawn in accordance with the need to develop the required measures to protect the environment in such a way as to achieve sustainable development. The Ninth Plan recognises the symbiotic relationship between the tribals and the forests and gives a special focus to the tribals and other weaker sections living in and around the forests.

8.98 A number of enabling conditions have been already created for harmonising economic growth and environmental conservation. These include the macro-economic stability, the 73rd and the 74th Constitutional Amendments and the work being undertaken in various ministries.


8.99 The strategy for the Ninth Plan is based on the belief that macro-economic stability is fundamental not only for economic growth but also for sound environmental management. The Ninth Plan envisages a multi-pronged strategy for sustainable development of the country. The important elements of this strategy are given in Box.

Important Elements of the Ninth Plan Strategy

  • Empowering the people through information generation, dissemination and access
  • Involving the Industry in both the private and the public sector.
  • Integrating environment with decision making through valuation of environmental impacts; evolving market based economic instruments as an alternative to the command and control form of environmental regulation; appropriate pricing of natural resources based on their long-term marginal cost of supply; appropriate fiscal reforms and natural resource accounting.
  • Evolving the rights for common property resources.
  • Inter-sectoral coordination and cooperation.
  • Ensuring scientific and technological inputs.
  • Participation of people (particularly women) in the management and sharing of usufruct through Joint Forest Management.
  • Involvement of NGOs for awareness building and as an interface between forest department and the people would be encouraged during the Ninth Plan.
  • Integrated development of villages in and around forests.


8.100 The discipline of forestry has been traditionally identified with either ecological stability or as a source of industrial raw material, and not with the subsistence of the rural poor. Participation of people in the management and sharing of usufruct will be achieved through Joint Forest Management which will be given priority in the schemes of Ninth Plan.

8.101 Involvement of NGOs in areas of awareness building and community education and as an interface between the Forest Department and the people would be encouraged through various schemes during Ninth Plan.

8.102 Villages in and around the forests are normally with high percentage of tribals and they are crucial for the protection and development of forests. The development of these under developed villages is basic to the well being of the forests. During the Ninth Plan period due importance will be accorded to the all round development of these villages.

8.103 It has been found that many times the land records of revenue and forest departments do not reconcile and they have overlapping areas shown in their maps. Similarly, the forest area on the ground, in many cases, is not demarcated with boundary pillars etc., leading to encroachments. Survey and demarcation of existing forest area would be taken up during the Ninth Plan.

8.104 Protection and management of forests on the inter-state boundaries e.g. continuous forest patches at the tri-junction of a) Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala; b) Madhya Pradesh Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra etc. is very important to prevent them from becoming sanctuaries for anti-social elements instead of wild-life and it will be given high priority.

8.105 Lack of training of the staff of the Forest Department in combat methods against smugglers, poachers etc. will be tackled by giving high priority to the training of the staff of the Forest Department.

8.106 Efforts will be made to take advantage of various Employment Generation Schemes of Rural Development Department to supplement funds for plantation activities.

8.107 Research, especially in the areas of seed and tree improvement, non-timber forest produce, agro-forestry, alternatives of timber, value addition to the various forest products etc. is basic to any scientific management of forests. Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education, as an umbrella organisation, will try to concentrate on these areas.

8.108 Despite the fact that the women have greater stake and dependence on forests than men, in day to day life, empowering women has not reached the desired level. During the Ninth Plan period, with its emphasis on Joint Forest Management, efforts will be made to empower the women by ensuring their involvement from micro-planning stage to implementation and usufruct sharing.

8.109 During the Ninth Plan period welfare of staff of forest department will be given due priority.


8.110 Environmental protection requires both preventive and curative measures. The strategy for environmental protection in the Ninth Five Year Plan relies much more on initiatives and interventions through policies and programmes of different sectors, notably, Health and Family Welfare, Transport, Rural Development, Energy, Agriculture, Fertilisers and Chemicals, Urban Development and Education. The underlying logic is that curative treatment should come only as the last resort, the primary emphasis being placed on the preventive approach.

8.111 Energy sector is a major polluter. In order to minimise its adverse impact on environment a number of steps have been taken. All major power projects are subjected to an environmental impact assessment. Environmental clearance is granted to them only after stipulating appropriate environment management plans. These are rigorously monitored for compliance. Relocation and rehabilitation plans are an integral component of hydro electric projects. A separate regulatory agency has been established for the nuclear power plants. In the interest of transparency it is important that the annual reports of the Department of Power, the Department of Coal and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas should give a Balance Sheet of carbon di-oxide generated by their activities and counterpart sink created by them or through resources contributed by them.

8.112 The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has laid considerable stress on improving the quality of petroleum products, particularly, automotive fuels like motor spirit and high speed diesel. The important aspects of these efforts are:

(I) Phasing out lead in motor spirit

8.113 Supply of motor spirit with low lead (0.15 gm/lt.) in Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta and Chennai has begun from June 1994, in Taj Trapezium from September, 1995 and in the whole country from January, 1997.

8.114 Supply of unleaded motor spirit for cars fitted with catalytic converters has started from April 1995 in four metropolitan cities and Taj Trapezium. This will be effected in all State and Union Territory capitals from December 1998 and throughout the country from April 2000.

8.115 In order to meet the low lead specifications, Catalytic Reformer Units have already been installed at Barauni and Digboi refineries and are being installed at Mathura Refinery at an estimated cost of about Rs.900 crore.

(II) Improvement in quality of high speed diesel (HSD)

8.116 As regards HSD, a Plan has been prepared to reduce the levels of sulphur from the present 1% to 0.25% in a phased manner as indicated below:-

  • - Supply of diesel with 0.5% wt. `S' max. to four metropolitan cities, i.e. Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai and Taj Trapezium from 1-4-1996.
  • - Supply of diesel with 0.25% `S' max. in Taj Trapezium from 1-9-1996.
  • - Supply of diesel with 0.25% `S' max. throughout the country by 1-4-1999.

8.117 Similarly, improvement in octane number, total sediments, distillation recovery etc. have been proposed. The investment for the product quality improvements in the refineries during the Ninth Plan is projected at about Rs.8000 crore.

8.118 In line with the objectives enshrined in Article 48-A of the Constitution, the new National Mineral Policy, 1993 for non-fuel and non-atomic minerals, prohibits mining operations in identified ecologically fragile and biologically rich areas. The strip mining in forest areas is also to be avoided, as far as possible. The latter could be permitted only when accompanied by a comprehensive time-bound reclamation programme. The policy states further that no mining lease would be granted to any party, private or public, without a proper mining plan, containing the environmental management plan approved and enforced by statutory authorities. The environmental management plan should have adequate measures for minimising the environmental damage, for restoration of mined areas and for planting of trees in accordance with the prescribed norms.

8.119 The Ninth Plan has chalked out issue-specific programmes, area-specific programmes and sector-specific programmes. The core items of these programmes comprise: involvement of people; strengthening of the surveillance and monitoring system; preparation of state of environment reports at the all - India, State and district levels; graduation from environmental impact assessment to economic impact assessment; introduction of valuation and environmental economics and natural resource accounting.

Issue-Specific Programmes

(i) People's Involvement and Role of Information

8.120 A challenging task is mobilisation and involvement, of the people in environmental protection. Environmental protection is not the sole responsibility of the Government. All sections of the society have to participate in this national endeavour.

8.121 The Ninth Plan has already had an auspicious beginning in this regard in the sense that through an amendment to the notification relating to environment impact assessment, a provision has been made for the process of public hearing. All important developmental activities, covered by the EIA Notification dated 27-1-1994, are covered by this amendment, which provides that only after the issue of a Press Notification regarding the intention to set up such a project and the due process of public hearing, and only after giving sufficient notice, any major activity can be undertaken. It is also significant that even under the delegation of powers to the State Governments under Environmental Protection Act, the provision of public hearing is applicable.

8.122 Citizens Monitoring Committees are being established under the National River Conservation Programme. Specific schemes have been launched for involving people from all cross-sections of life from students to retired soldiers in the vast task of environmental protection. Public is becoming restive and is eager to get involved through information dissemination and `right to access' and by forcing transparency to the regulatory process.

8.123 People at large and the university system, particularly the science, engineering, and medical faculties, will be involved in monitoring and enforcement work. A lot more needs to be done and perhaps, this could save resources which would otherwise have been spent on creating new assets which remain unutilised/underutilised for several reasons including resource constraints.

8.124 Attitudinal changes are fundamental to protection of environment. Informed citizenry can play an immensely positive role in the area of abatement of pollution. When fully aware of the adverse impact of polluted environment, the citizens can act in such a manner as to minimise the effect of pollution on their health and property. If air and water resources are unfit and do not meet the acceptable standards, the people living in adjoining areas, if adequately informed, will take necessary precautions. If they have an alternative they may not use the polluted resources. Or they may undertake necessary steps, if that is within their capability, to depollute before using them. They may also possibly organise themselves and force the responsible agencies and legislators to take appropriate action. If suitable action is not forthcoming they may, under the laws of the land, even file public interest litigation. Thus, informed citizens can achieve what even regulators and enforcing agencies cannot. Information dissemination, right to access and involvement of enlightened citizenry are fundamental to any democratic process. Given the weaknesses in enforcing environmental standards, perhaps this is the only alternative available.

8.125 Information is also useful for conducting research. For instance, at present there is hardly any epidemiological research linking the levels of pollution to morbidity and mortality. This information is partly generated by several monitoring stations located across the length and breadth of the country. Data gaps need to be identified and filled up. Information is a key resource which people require for getting organised and involved.

(ii) Strengthening of the Surveillance and Monitoring System

8.126 A wide network of air and water quality monitoring stations has been established under National Ambient Air Quality Management, Global Environmental Monitoring System and other programmes. This needs to be meaningfully utilised. Considering the size of the country and the changing nature of the problems, the surveillance system needs to be established at least for each district. Other research and academic institutions and even the industry, already having the capabilities for collection and analysis of data and information, need to be involved in this work. This will not only be the most cost-effective method but also an important step for involving people and institutions. Secondly, the scope of surveillance needs to be broadened by including more technical parameters: toxic chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals etc. Bio-monitoring should also be taken up. Health and environmental surveillance and monitoring system should be integrated with other organisations like Central Ground Water Board.

(iii) State of Environment Report

8.127 The objective of providing an acceptable standard of natural environment is unexceptionable. Unfortunately, in the absence of any aggregate picture in the form of a systematic State of Environment Report State-wise and on an all-India basis, it is difficult to give satisfactory answers on a macro level, to questions such as: Where do we stand today vis-a-vis our objective? In which direction are we heading and at what rate? The Ninth Plan envisages the preparation of such State of Environment Reports by the State Governments.

(iv) Integrating Environmental concerns with Decision Making

8.128 Similarly, the other important lacuna relates to the magnitude of different environmental issues like water pollution, air pollution, soil degradation etc. These have both physical and economic dimensions. In the absence of any idea about these two, especially the latter, any attempt at resource allocation and inter-se prioritisation would appear arbitrary and subjective.

8.129 In order to lend a reasonable degree of rationality to the process of policy formulation and decision making, the Ninth Plan lays specific emphasis on epidemiological studies and environmental economics. It is hoped that this would facilitate integration of environmental concern with the decision making process.

(v) Natural Resource Accounting

8.130 The use of Gross National Product (GNP) or Gross Domestic Product (GDP) alone as an indicator of human welfare and well-being is no longer considered satisfactory. It does not reflect the sustainable income of the country in the sense of the flow of goods and the services that the economy could generate without reducing its productive capacity. Besides, it does not allow for the cost of damage to environment and the resultant cost/suffering imposed on different sections of the society.

8.131 Other serious limitations of GNP as an indicator arise from the exclusion of non-marketed goods and services from its purview and the treatment of environmentally degrading, undesirable activities and other costs of repairing adverse environmental damages, as income, whereas these should be treated as costs.

8.132 In spite of these shortcomings, if these are used to measure the changes that occur in the economy over time or the relative importance of different sectors at any one point of time or the difference in the economic situation among regions or countries, it is because there is no satisfactory alternative. The current debate is also with regard to the question as to whether a single measure of human development and welfare can be evolved or whether there should be a satellite system of accounts over and above the existing system. A number of attempts have been made for incorporation of natural resource accounts into income accounts. In order to make a beginning, an expert group under the Ministry of Planning and Programme Implementation (Department of Statistics - CSO) has been constituted for giving technical directions including finalisation of the methodology to be followed for the preparation of natural resource accounting both in physical and economic terms to integrate with the State Domestic Product.

Area-Specific Programmes

(i) National River Conservation Programme (NRCP)

8.133 The NRCP was started during the Eighth Five Year Plan as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme with 50 percent Central assistance. However, it was realised that many States were not in a position to match it with their own funds to the extent of 50 percent. Therefore, during the Ninth Plan period, it has been decided to make it 100% Centrally Sponsored Scheme. This includes Ganga Action Plan Phase I and Phase II. Besides, 26 towns in ten States will be covered. It is important that the lessons learnt from Ganga Action Plan Phase-I will prevent similar mistakes from recurring. Municipalities and elected bodies in major towns need to be considerably strengthened financially to enable them to implement the schemes of urban sanitation, including underground sewerage, sewage diversion and treatment. It has often been noticed that requirements for operation and maintenance are not provided for sufficiently, as a result of which the entire effort and investment are rendered infructuous. The State Governments need to make adequate provisions for operation and maintenance of these assets. It is important to note that river pollution cannot be tackled unless a minimum flow of water is maintained in the rivers.

 National River Conservation Plan (NRCP)

Covers Ganga Action Plan (GAP)- Phase I, Phase II and National River Conservation Plan.
GAP-I covers the cleaning of Ganga along 25 class I towns. The total cost of the plan is Rs 462.04 crore. It is to be completed by March 1999.

Under GAP-I specific schemes for improvement in the river water quality are listed below. 97% of the sanctioned schemes have been completed (Sanctioned 261- Completed 254).


I and D: INTERCEPTION and DIVERSION                                            STP: SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT

LCS: LOW COST SANITATION                                                    CRE: ELECTRIC CREMATORIA

RFD:RIVER FRONT DEVELOPMENT                                             MISC: MISCELLANEOUS

GAP-II covers cleaning of Ganga along 59 towns of three states viz Bihar, U.P. and West Bengal, cleaning of Yamuna along 21 towns of three states viz Delhi, Haryana and U.P., cleaning of Gomti along 3 towns in one state viz U.P. and cleaning of Damodar along 12 towns in two states viz Bihar and West Bengal. The total cost of the plan is Rs 1328 crore. It is to be completed by March 1999/ Dec 2001 (for West Bengal and Damodar Action Plan).

Under NRCP 46 towns and 18 rivers of 10 states viz Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Punjab, RajasthaUn and Tamil Nadu are to be covered. The total cost of the plan is Rs 772.09 crore. It is to be completed by March 2005. 

ii) National Lake Conservation Programme

8.134 Due to pressure of human activities, a number of lakes are shrinking or getting polluted beyond the point of recovery. Encroachments, siltation, weed infestation, discharge of domestic sewage, industrial effluents and surface run-off carrying pesticides and fertilizers from agricultural fields are among the major threats. The symptoms of pressure due to encroachment and invasion are already being experienced in the form of decrease in migratory bird population, fish and other fauna, poor water quality and prolific growth of obnoxious weeds.


S.No. Name of Lake        State
1. Dal               J and K
2. Sukhna           Chandigarh
3. Sagar            Madhya Pradesh
4. Bhoj              Madhya Pradesh
5. Nainital         Uttar Pradesh
6. Kodai Kanal      Tamil Nadu
7. Ooty              Tamil Nadu
8. Udaipur          Rajasthan
9. Rabindra Sarovar West Bengal
10. Powai           Maharashtra
11. Hussain Sagar   Andhra Pradesh

8.135 On the recommendations of a National Committee under the Chairmanship of the Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, 21 urban lakes considered to be highly degraded were identified for conservation and management in 1993. Later, a committee under the Chairmanship of Shri T.N. Khoshoo prioritised 11 lakes, as shown in the Table 8.5.

8.136 Of these 11 lakes, the Bhoj in Bhopal has been covered by the OECF funding and the project is already in progress. The remaining 10 lakes are proposed to be covered for conservation and manage-ment under the proposed NLCP. The objective of NLCP is to arrest further degradation of lakes and to revive these water bodies to acceptable environmental standards.

(iii) Taj Trapezium

8.137 In pursuance of the suggestions made by the Honourable Supreme Court of India for a separate Plan allocation for environmental protection of Taj Mahal in the context of a Civil Writ Petition in September 1996, the Central Government has made an allocation of Rs.300crore during the Ninth Plan on a 50:50 matching basis with the State Government to cover the estimated cost of Rs.600 crore to implement various Schemes relating to uninterrupted power supply to the industrial units of Agra, construction of Gokul and Agra Barrage and improvement of drainage and sanitation in Agra city, all in the context of environmental protection of Taj.

8.138 It has been decided to provide Rs.50 crore during 1997-98 from the budget of the Ministry of Environment and Forests for the aforesaid purpose. This amount is to be placed at the disposal of the Mission Management Board, which will implement the above schemes. The Board has been set up in the State of Uttar Pradesh and will be serviced by the State Government.

8.139 The Mission Management Board will consider the schemes prepared by different departments of the U.P. Government in accordance with the directions of the Hon'ble Supreme Court. The Mission Management Board will consider the schemes drawn up as above and accord sanction to them within the financial limits of expenditure allowed to them from year to year by matching contributions from the State and the Central Governments. The Mission Management Board will take necessary action for implementation of the schemes sanctioned by them. It will also monitor, review and take corrective action for smooth implementation of the sanctioned schemes.

(iv) Himalayan Region

8.140 In March 1992, an Expert Group was constituted by the Planning Commission to formulate a National Policy for the integrated development of the Himalayas. With a view to operationalising the recommendations of the expert group a Steering Committee has been constituted by the Planning Commission. Six sector-specific sub-committees have been set up under the Chief Secretaries of the States of the Himalayan region. These deal with I) Environment and Forests; ii) Agriculture and Allied Activities; iii) Industry and Industrial Infrastructure; iv) Social Sectors including Health and Family Welfare, Education; v) Transport, Communications and Tourism, and vi) Energy including Non-conventional Energy and Science and Technology. They are expected to formulate and implement appropriate schemes to protect the Himalayan ecosystem and biodiversity.

(v) Islands

8.141 With a view to recommending policies and programmes for the integrated, environmentally sustainable development of Andaman and Nicobar and the Lakshadweep groups of Islands, the Island Development Authority (IDA) has been reconstituted in August 1998. The Authority, which is chaired by the Prime Minister, also reviews periodically the progress of implementation and impact of the programmes of development. Simultaneously, the Standing Committee of the IDA has also been reconstituted under the chairmanship of the Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission.

8.142 It is recognised that the requirements of the islands are very different from those of the main land. New approaches are therefore necessary. The single most important issue with which the IDA is concerned has been : how to strike a balance between development aspirations of the Island people with the need to protect these unique and fragile eco-systems full of genetic wealth and natural beauty. In addition, the far flung and strategic locations of these Islands from defence considerations also need to be kept in mind. The various meetings of the IDA have tried to grapple with these issues in one form or the other. While the Ministry of Environment and Forests as a primary agency for conservation of environmental resources has taken, from time to time, steps such as Coastal Zone Regulation Act and Declaration of Biosphere Reserves, a clear view with regard to the developmental aspect has now emerged as a result of fruitful deliberations of the Island Development Authority and its Standing Committee.

8.143 In view of their fragility and distant location, the viability of any purposeful industrial activity appears to have questionable relevance. The thrust areas have accordingly been identified as the Fisheries and the Tourism Sector. Although, other activities based on coconut, rubber, boat building and wood based industries have also been found to be suitable for encouragement, it appears that the developmental thrust on tourism alone, or in conjunction with fisheries, should meet the vital interest of employment generation in harmony with the environmental concerns. The infrastructural needs in the form of shipping services for bringing the Islands into the main-stream of national development, are also being given greater attention.

Sector-Specific Programmes


8.144 The sub-strategy under this broad head for achieving the wider purpose consists of prevention of pollution at source; encouragement, development and application of the best available feasible technological solutions, application of the "pollutor pays" principle, focus on heavily polluted areas and public participation.

(i) Strengthening the Central Pollution Control Board

8.145 The Central Pollution Control Board is the apex regulatory and enforcement agency. The programme areas for the Ninth Plan are proposed to be environmental monitoring and assessment of pollution; environmental standards and action plans; enforcement of pollution abatement programme and promotion of infrastructure and capacity upgradation programme.

8.146 Some of the highlights of the proposed activities are introduction of bio-monitoring for assessment of pollution and health of aquatic system, water quality monitoring in medium and small rivers, ground water quality monitoring, soil pollution monitoring, epidemiological studies for formulation of standards based on health considerations, environmental audit, promotion of infrastructure and capacity upgradation programme.

(ii) Industrial Pollution Control and Prevention Projects

8.147 There are two projects for industrial pollution control and prevention under the World Bank assistance. The Phase-I Project, started in late 1991, is expected to be completed by the end of March 1999. The Phase-II Project, which commenced in 1995, would be completed by 2001. Whereas the Phase-I project covered the States of U.P., Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat, the Phase II project relates to Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Rajasthan. Under these projects, the State Pollution Control Boards are being strengthened by providing them essential infrastructure such as equipment for laboratories and training of personnel. Other activities include demonstration projects for new technology, Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETP) for clusters of small scale industrial units and financial assistance to various industries for installing industrial pollution control equipments.

(iii) The Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETP)

8.148 The CETP would be an important scheme for assisting in the setting up of common facilities for clusters of small scale units for treatment and disposal of solid, liquid and gaseous waste generated by small scale units located in industrial estates/clusters. Under this scheme, the Central Government provides financial assistance to the extent of 25 per cent of the project cost with an equal share coming from the State Government and promoter's contribution of 20 per cent. The remaining 30% is provided as loan by the IDBI at a concessional rate of interest through the World Bank Loan and Credit. Assistance is provided to clusters of tanneries, textile units, chemical units, dye, and dye-intermediate units.

(iv) Adoption of Clean Technologies in Small Scale Industries

8.149 A scheme for promoting the development and adoption of clean technology including waste water re-use and re-cycling, has been formulated for small scale industries. This scheme links research and development with diffusion and adoption of pollution prevention measures. Under this scheme, activities relating to demonstration of already proven clean technologies, preparation of sector-specific manuals on waste minimisation, setting up of waste minimisation circles in specific clusters of small scale industries, training and awareness programmes for personnel in small scale industries would be undertaken.

(v) Environmental Statistics and Mapping

8.150 The Ninth Plan proposes the preparation of statistical data base and reports on the status and the trends in environmental quality with reference to air, water, soil and noise and depicting them on an Atlas. It is also proposed to prepare a Zoning Atlas for locating industries in States. Environmental statistical cells are proposed to be set up in the Central as well as the State Pollution Control Boards.

(vi) Environmental Impact Assessment and Development and Promotion of Clean Technologies

8.151 Studies on the carrying capacity status for Doon Valley, National Capital Territory, Damodar River Basin and Tapti River Estuary, initiated during the Eighth Plan, will be completed in the Ninth Plan. In addition to the work of completing the status report, it is proposed to undertake the study of the carrying capacity for Kochi region. A life cycle assessment study of the steel sector has been formulated in consultation with the steel industry for being undertaken during the Ninth Plan. With regard to development and promotion of cleaner technologies, the Ninth Plan envisages the taking up of demonstration projects for effective transfer of technologies.

(vii) Conservation and Survey

8.152 India is a mega bio-diversity country. With the signing of the Convention on Biological Diversity, India could take advantage of its bio resources, based on the principles of equitable benefit sharing, provided for in this Treaty. It is proposed to consolidate and draw upon the gains made in the past and to formulate more focussed strategies. This strategy comprises such elements as, for instance, modernisation of taxonomic surveys, creation of a national data base on bio-diversity and facilities for characterisation of bio-resources at molecular level to enable the country to lay claims to benefits, creation of capacity for bio-prospecting. Creation of new/strengthening the existing administrative infrastructure to promulgate, administer and implement the regulations governing the use of bio-resources both by the people within and outside the country and gaining access to bio-diversity resources are also envisaged as integral components of this strategy.

8.153 India is also a signatory to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. This convention is likely to enter its implementation phase during the Ninth Plan. Therefore, steps are proposed to be taken to meet India's obligations by formulating and implementing a National Action Programme.

8.154 The scheme for promoting environmental awareness and providing non-formal environmental education through the medium of Natural History Museums to encourage meaningful public participation is proposed to be continued during the Ninth Plan.

(viii) Biosphere Reserves

8.155 The Biosphere Reserve Management Programme is intended to conserve representative ecosystems. It is aimed at providing in-situ conservation of plants,animals and micro-organisms. This emphasises the need for the conservation of the entire ecosystems of suitable size to ensure self-perpetuation and unhindered evolution of living resources.

(ix) Mangroves

8.156 The scheme on conservation and management of mangroves was initiated in 1986. The main activities under the programme are survey and identification of problems, protection and conservation measures like natural re-generation, afforestation, nursery development, education and awareness programmes and research on various aspects of mangrove ecosystems and coral reef. It is an on-going activity. Review meetings for both research projects and management action plans are periodically held to monitor the progress.

8.157 Four coral reef areas have been identified for intensive conservation and management. These include Gulf of Kutch, Gulf ofMannar, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep.

(x) Wetlands

8.158 The scheme on conservation and management of wetlands was initiated in 1987 with a view to laying down policy guidelines, taking up priority wetlands for intensive conservation measures, for monitoring the implementation of the programme of conservation, management and research and to prepare an inventory of Indian wetlands.

8.159 The main activities under the programme are data collection and survey, identification of the problems, wetlands mapping, landscape planning, hydrology, control of encroachments, eutrophication abatement, aquatic weed control, wildlife conservation, fisheries development, environmental awareness and research on various aspects of wetlands processes and functioning of these ecosystems. This is an ongoing activity. Reviews are periodically carried out to monitor the progress of work both under the research projects and the management action plans.

(xi) Assistance to Botanical Gardens

8.160 This is an ongoing activity. An expert group screens and examines the proposals. In order to help conserve important representative eco-systems with a view to ensuring self-perpetuation and unhindered resolution of the living resources, 14 potential sites in the country have been identified for being designated as bio-sphere reserves. It is proposed that the Management Action Plans for these bio-spheres would be prepared and put into implementation. Eco-development in the buffer zone area is proposed to be strengthened to ensure people's participation for protection and conservation of the core zone area.

(xii) Bio-diversity Conservation

8.161 With the advent of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the important issues that have emerged are those pertaining to (a) sovereignty of a nation over biological resources; (b) provision of access to genetic resources through prior informed consent based on mutually agreed terms; (c) fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilisation of genetic resources; (d) access to, and transfer of, technology on concessional and preferential terms, including the technology protected by patents and other intellectual property rights and (e) the rights of the local communities to equitable sharing of benefits, arising from utilisation of their knowledge and practices. These issues have to be viewed from two perspectives - national requirement and actions; and international negotiation needs, commitments and actions. The need for a comprehensive legislation has been fully recognised and the process of drafting the same has commenced. The legislation will need to fully internalise the strengths and opportunities built in the Convention on Biological Diversity by the bio-diversity rich, developing countries. At the international level, the negotiations on this issue are expected to continue for some more time. It is expected that at the end of these negotiations an enabling environment would be created for the countries of origin to derive benefits from the use of their knowledge and resources, as provided for in the Convention. It is essential to safeguard the country’s interests in these negotiations for meeting the challenges at the national and international levels. It is proposed to introduce new activities for building institutional capacity for bio-diversity utilisation, characterisation of biological resources at molecular level, protection of sacred groves and conservation of medicinal plants. A separate bio-diversity cell is proposed to be set up in the Ministry of Environment and Forests in the Ninth Plan. In order to realise the potential of India's bio-diversity, the building up of the institutional capacity for bio-diversity utilisation and the establishment of in-situ and ex-situ conservation areas for medicinal plants and endangered species are important pre-requisites.

8.162 The Department of Agriculture and Cooperation is in the process of finalising a legislation relating to sui-generis system for the protection of plant varieties. The objectives of the proposed legislation are:

  1. To promote the availability of high quality seeds and planting materials with a broad and diverse genetic base, keeping in view our diversified agro-climatic conditions and having regard to food security, protection of human and animal health and safeguarding of environment.
  2. To stimulate research and development in the formal and informal, public and private, sectors for new varietal development.
  3. To promote diffusion of new varieties to farmers through the development of seed industry.
  4. To recognise and provide protection to farmer-varieties, land-races and extant-varieties and ensure adequate returns to the breeders including farmer-breeders and public sector breeders.
  5. To recognise the rights of farmers as breeders, conservators, cultivators and seed producers.
  6. To promote the rights of researchers and ensure their access to all biological materials for a strong and effective breeding programme.

(xiii) Research and Eco-generation

8.163 Ecological task forces, comprising ex-servicemen, are deployed in remote and difficult areas to undertake restoration of degraded eco-systems through afforestation, soil conservation and water resource management techniques. The scheme also serves the important purpose of rehabilitation of the ex-servicemen in productive activities. At present, these ecological task forces are operational at Dehradun and Pithoragarh (U.P.); Jaisalmer (Rajasthan); and Sambha (J and K). It is proposed that these batallions will move from one area of operation to another, after achievement of the targets, in consultation with the State Governments.

(xiv) Environmental Education, Training and Information

8.164 Under this broad head, it is proposed to continue to provide grant-in-aid to professional societies and NGOs for developing programmes in the areas of environmental education, wild life and ecology. The Ninth Plan also envisages the strengthening of the ENVIS Centres in the priority areas. A link would also be provided with the Internet. The Centres of Excellence in the field of environmental education, ecological sciences, mining, environment and ornithology and natural history would be continued.

(xv) Policy and Law

8.165 Grants are released to the State Pollution Control Boards and the Department of Environment of the State Governments with the objective of strengthening their technical capabilities. Due to various decisions of the Supreme Court and the High Courts, the responsibilities and commitments of the State Pollution Control Boards are increasing. A comprehensive legislation is proposed during the Ninth Plan by adopting a cross medium approach; removing the multiplicity of legislation and agencies, besides removing the overlapping and ambiguous policies currently in vogue. The labeling of environmental friendly products by granting ECOMARK helps in pollution abatement. This important activity would be considerably supported during the Ninth Plan.

(xvi) The National Environment Tribunal Act, 1995

8.166 The National Environment Tribunal Act, 1995 has already come into effect. The Principal Bench of the Tribunal will be located at New Delhi. The supporting infrastructure for this Tribunal will be provided during the Ninth Plan.

(xvii) International Cooperation

8.167 In pursuance of the Environment Action Programme 1993, the World Bank has initiated a project for environment management capacity building. The main components of the project are: environmental economics, environmental indicators, environmental law, environmental awareness and strengthening of environmental protection programmes. This project will be implemented through the Ministry of Environment and Forests in cooperation with the Department of Ocean Development and the Government of Gujarat. A special emphasis is being placed on Gujarat because the State is not only one of the fastest growing industrial regions of the country but is also expected to have high levels of pollution, judged by the way the industries are making a headway in the State.

8.168 With the assistance of the Japanese Government, studies are proposed to be carried out in Surat and Delhi for the formulation of a project, specifically addressed to the concerns in the areas of air, water quality and solid waste management. It is also proposed to prepare an Action Plan for regenerating the institutional structures governing urban environmental management and for identification of cost-effective technology options for improving the delivery of environmental services.

Forestry and Wildlife and Afforestation

8.169 The programmes/schemes of Ninth Five Year Plan are generally similar to those taken up during the Eighth Plan, such as Integrated Afforestation and Eco-Development Project, Fuelwood and Fodder Project Scheme, Non-Timber Forest Produce Scheme, Grants-in-Aid Scheme Seed Development Scheme etc. with greater focus and improved implementation on the basis of the experience gained during Eighth Plan. The Planning Commission had set up a Working Group to examine the prospects of leasing out of degraded forest lands to the private entrepreneurs/Forest Corporations. The main term of reference of the Working Group was to assess the economic, social and environmental feasibility of leasing or otherwise making degraded forest land available to the private entrepreneurs/Forest Corporations. The Working Group has submitted its report and has not recommended leasing of forest land to the private entrepreneurs either directly or indirectly through forest corporations. The main reasons for not recommending the use of government forests to private industry are as follows:

  1. Degraded forest lands leased out to industry would deprive a large populace which is dependant on these lands for their fuelwood and fodder needs
  2. It will be against the interest of the farmers who wish to supply wood to industry.
  3. The proposal would be against the National Forest Policy (1988), the Forest Conservation Act (1980), and the Provisions of Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996.
  4. Paper and other industries consume only 10% of the raw material from forests. Leasing of forest lands to these industries will adversely affect other sectors which are dependent on forests for raw materials.
  5. Industries will prefer to go for plantations of one or two fast growing species in place of multi-layered mixed forest which results from natural regeneration.
  6. Industries have shown no interest in leasing the non-forest wastelands, and therefore their plan to operate on forest lands needs careful scrutiny.

Wastelands Development

8.170 The Ninth Plan envisages regeneration of wastelands to release pressures on the forests and standardisation of the definition of wastelands, assessment of their magnitude and their development by a reorienation of the policy of "open access" to "common property resources". Clear, quantified and phased arrangements would be evolved for an equitable sharing of the usufruct. The programmes/schemes for the Wastelands Development of Ninth Five Year Plan are generally similar to those taken up during Eighth Plan such as Integrated Wastelands Development Projects Scheme, Technology Development Scheme, Training and Extension Scheme and Investment Promotional Scheme etc.

8.171 The National Forest Policy 1988 envisages massive afforestation and social forestry programmes on all denuded, degraded and unproductive lands. Approximately, 30 mha of non-forest wastelands are to be brought under tree cover. This can be done by promoting farm-forestry, community forestry and agro-forestry by government agencies, NGOs and by individuals through institutional financing. The Working Group on the prospects of leasing out degraded Forest Lands to the Private Entrepreneurs has recommended that :

  • Private entrepreneurs may consider reclamation of non-forest wastelands which are far from habitation.
  • Industries should establish direct contact with the farmers as provided in the new Forest Policy.
  • Laws regarding ceiling of land should be liberalised to attract private entrepreneurs to take forestry projects.


8.172 The statewise approved outlays and actual expenditure for ecology and environment and for forestry sector during Eighth Plan (yearwise) are given at Annexure VII and VIII respectively.

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