In an attack on the Congress-led UPA, environment minister Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday said the Narendra Modi government ended the practice of “tax” being paid for environmental clearances as it believed in “development without destruction”.
“We have made the system transparent. The game of office-office is over. The tax which needed to be paid earlier has been stopped... This (government) is mission without commission,” he said, replying to the demand for grants of environment ministry,
Though he didn’t take any names, Javadekar’s remarks referred to “Jayanthi tax”, a term the BJP had used in the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections to point to corruption in the ministry when it was headed by the then Congress leader Jayanthi Natarajan, who later quit the party.
He sought to dispel the “myth” that protecting environment amounted to stopping development, arguing that giving clearance to projects was not a “crime”. “Our government holds the flag of environment in one hand and the agenda of development in another.”
Regarding the high level of air pollution in Delhi, Javadekar said the government has been trying to address the issue. “The quality of air has not deteriorated in the last 10 months. We have begun action and formed a three-month action programme, which will be reviewed in July,” he said.
As the opposition parties stepped up their attacks over the TSR Subramanian committee’s recommendations for reforming the functioning of the environmental ministry, Javadekar said the government was yet to take a decision on it as it has sought the views of all states. “This is not the law. We are consulting everybody,” he said.