A non-trivial threat to India's ecological and economic security

On 29th August 2014 the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change of the Government of India (hereinafter referred to as MoEF & CC) set up a High Level Committee headed by former Union Cabinet Secretary Mr. T. S. R. Subramanian, IAS (Retd.). This Committee was given a comprehensive mandate: to review all laws and judgments pertaining to environment, wildlife and forest protection, and also those relating to pollution control, and then produce a report with specific recommendations for reforms in law and governance. This enormous and complex exercise of review of laws and judgments, and governance practices, followed by the formulation and presentation of a report with recommendations for amendments to existing laws, was to be completed within 2 months. In the critique of the High Powered Committee Report, find that the entire exercise has been undertaken in a hurried manner, without sufficient inquiry into the relevant factors, without addressing concerns of a range of communities, especially those which are indigenous and natural resource dependent, and without at all considering the importance of consulting elected representatives from Local Government, Legislatures and the Parliament. This report, thereby, is an outcome of a comprehensively democracy deficit effort, and promotes a schema for environmental reforms, which, if adopted could result in widespread chaos in environmental governance and jurisprudence, and also would result in irreversible damage to the environment, cause widespread loss of natural ecosystems and could further fuel fundamental violation of human rights in a country where discontents over environmental decisions are become increasingly contentious.

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