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MoEF to get more hands to fight corruption

More people will get jobs in the environment ministry to improve transparency and reduce corruption in the project approval process.

delhi Updated: Jul 30, 2012 01:19 IST
Chetan Chauhan

More people will get jobs in the environment ministry to improve transparency and reduce corruption in the project approval process.

The ministry of environment and forests is mandated under law to decide on projects for four clearances - environment, forest, coastal and wildlife. With economy growing at an average of 7.5-8% in recent years, clearances to projects has become rather controversial mainstay of the ministry.

To make the entire clearance process transparent and less cumbersome, the ministry has come out with series of decisions with specific time-lines for its implementation in forest and environment clearance divisions.

The ministry has decided to open four new regional offices in the next six months and start electronically to eliminate reasons for delay in processing and reduce human interface, especially for forest clearances.

For this, the ministry has decided to create additional posts of deputy inspector general forests and additional inspector general of forests in the next six month along with adequate support staff.

The rules and procedures would be streamlined to reduce official discretion that can aid and abet corruption.

"We will have a system in next two months where projects would be processed in order of their receipt except projects of strategic and public importance," a senior ministry official said.

In addition, there would be a comprehensive check list of documents to be submitted while applying and objective norms to deal with violations of the approval conditions.

The ministry will also come out with a comprehensive policy in four months on monitoring of the conditions imposed for approving a project, including a provision of mandatory disclosure by project proponents in public domain of self-monitoring.

To make the entire forest clearance process transparent, the ministry has decided to place entire agenda and minutes of the Forest Advisory Committee in public domain within a stipulated period and have an electronic system to refer to maps and other data before deciding on projects to diver forest land.

"The minutes of the meeting will have to be prepared to prevent any possibility of post meeting change in decisions," an official note circulated by the ministry said.

In case of environment clearances, the ministry would upload all documents related to projects on its website to bring more transparency.

The ministry also wants that the decision on the projects should be given as per the time-period specified in the Environment Impact Assessment notification of 2006.