In another move to fast track green approvals, the environment ministry on Tuesday unveiled a geographical information system (GIS) which would also bring in transparency and ensure compliance of conditions in regulatory clearances.
Launching the new satellite based system, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said the GIS based decision support system would ensure balancing of development with environment protection.
The system will help the officials in getting relevant information with just click of the house as it will have the satellite imagery and details about the forest cover. Projects and other activities being carried out in the forests will be monitored as the images would be visible live through Google maps.
The first phase launched today contains geo-referenced layers of forest cover as per the latest state of forest report by the Forest Survey of India, forest types, biological richness, landscape integrity, protected areas, tiger reserves and corridors.
GIS layers of Net Present Value (NPV), hydrological layers and forest cover as per the previous state of forest reports will also be incorporated in the system in the second phase. Also, in the second phase, information about eco sensitive zones will be incorporated.
“We have decided that the unclarity of the protected areas should finish...its ESAs should be cleared. Then there would be hydrological mapping, digitized boundaries...Net Present Values will also be added into this so that everything is online,” the minister said.
He added that the new system would save time and would facilitate in taking merit based decisions without delay and in a transparent manner.
While referring to the earlier launch for portals for online submission of applications for grant of environment and forest clearance and Zoo Authority, the minister said this was the fourth big step taken by his ministry.
Environment ministry officials said the system would facilitate informed and objective decision on forest clearance applications and it would also facilitate the ministry to identify the inviolate forest areas, once parameters for identifications of such inviolate areas are accepted by the ministry.