ACTS AND PROGRAMS for ENVIRONMENT [UPSC]

ACTS AND PROGRAMS for ENVIRONMENT [UPSC]

ACTS AND PROGRAMS for ENVIRONMENT, Wildlife protection act 1972, Environment(Protection) Act 1986, National Forest Policy 1988, Biological Diversity Act 2002, Coastal regulation zone , Wetlands (Conservation And Management) Rules 2010, National Green Tribunal (NGT), The Ozone Depleting Substances Rules.

ACTS AND PROGRAMS

Constitutional Provisions related to environment

According to 42nd amendment –

  • Article-48-A of the constitution provides – “The state shall endeavor to protect, and
    improve the environment and to safeguard forest and wildlife of the country.”
  • Article 51-A (g) provides – “It shall be duty of every citizen of India to protect and
    improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have
    compassion for living creatures,”
  • Thus our constitution includes environmental protection and conservation as one of our
    fundamental duties.

Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

With reference to ‘Eco-Sensitive Zones’, which of the following statements is/are correct?
1. Eco-Sensitive Zones are the areas that are
declared under the Wildlife (Protection) Act. 1972.
2. The purpose of the declaration of Eco-Sensitive Zones is to prohibit all kinds of human
activities in those zones except agriculture.
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

  • This act has been adopted by all the states except that of Jammu and Kashmir which has
    a similar law enacted for the purpose of wildlife protection. The operation of the Act is
    mandatory in the Union Territories too.
  • It provides the basic framework to ensure the protection and management of wildlife.
  • It was amended in 1982, 1986, 1991 and 1993 to accommodate provision for its
    effective implementation.

Q.) What was the need of this act or why it was enacted?

Main reason – rapid decline of richest and most varied wildlife resources of our country.
Small punishments and outdated laws like – Wild Birds and Animals Protection Act, 1935
Poaching and trade in wildlife products.

Salient features of act

It has 7 chapters, 66 sections and 6 schedules.
After various amendments it provides various tools to prevent damage to wildlife.
Schedules I to V is in accordance with the risk of survival of the wildlife (fauna) enlisted
in them.

Animals included in schedule are provided for total protection from hunting and the
trade and commerce related to such animals are strictly regulated.
Schedule VI was added by amendment to Wildlife (protection) Act, 1991 to include plant
species.
An expert committee, constituted by the Indian Board of Wildlife considers
amendments to the Act, as and when necessary.
With the amendment of the Act in 1991, powers oft he State Governments have been
withdrawn almost totally. Now the State Governments are not empowered to declare
any wild animal a vermin.

Environment (Protection) Act, 1986

Consider the following statements:
1. Animal Welfare Board of India is established under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
2. National Tiger Conservation Authority is a
statutory body.
3. National Ganga River Basin Authority is chaired by the Prime Minister.
Select the correct answer using the code given
below.
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 2 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3 only

Compared to previous laws on environment protection, this Act is a more effective and
bold measure to fight the problem of pollution.
The genesis of Act is in Article 48A (Directive Principles of State Policy) and Article 51A
(g) (Fundamental Duties) of the Indian Constitution.
It has 26 Sections and it has been divided into 4 chapters relating to

  • Preliminary
  • General Powers of the Central Government
  • Prevention, Control, and Abatement of Environmental Pollution
  • Miscellaneous.

The Act consists of and deals with more stringent penal provisions.
The minimum penalty for contravention or violation of any provision of the law –
imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years or fine up to one lakh rupees,
or both.
Further penalty if the failure or contravention continues after the date of conviction.
(Rs. 5000/- per day)
The Act empowers the Central Government to take all appropriate measures to –

  • Prevent and control pollution
  • Establish effective machinery for the purpose of protecting
  • Improving the qualify of the environment
  • Protecting, controlling and abating environmental pollution.

The Central Government or any other person duly authorized is empowered to collect
the samples of air, water, soil or other substances as evidence of the offences under the
Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
It prescribes a special procedure for handling hazardous substances.
If a Government Department offend this act, the Act holds the Head of the Department
as guilty of the offence unless the head of the Department proves that the offence was
committed without his knowledge or that he exercised all due diligence to prevent the
commission of such offence.
It empowers and authorizes the Central Government to issue directions for the
operation or process, prohibition, closure, or regulation of any industry. For this purpose
government is also authorized to stop, regulate the supply of electricity or water or any
other service directly without obtaining the order of the Court in this regard.
It grants immunity to the officers of the Government for any act done under the
provisions of this.
The Central Government is also empowered to enter and inspect anyplace through any
person or through any agency authorized by Central Government.
The Act debars the Civil Courts from having any jurisdiction to entertain any suit or
proceeding in respect of an action, direction, order issued by Central Government or
other statutory authority under this Act.
This act will be superior over anything inconsistent contained in any enactment other
than this Act.

National Forest Policy 1988

Aim – to ensure environmental stability and maintenance of ecological balance including
atmospheric equilibrium which are vital for sustenance of all life forms, human, animal
and plant.

Objectives

1. Maintenance of environmental stability through preservation and, where necessary,
restoration of the ecological balance that has been adversely disturbed by serious
depletion of the forests of the country.
2. Conserving the natural heritage of the country by preserving the remaining natural
forests which are habitat to diverse flora and fauna.
3. Checking desertification
4. Increasing the forest/tree cover in the country through massive afforestation and social
forestry programs.
5. Meeting the requirements of fuel-wood, fodder, minor forest produce and small timber
of the rural and tribal populations.
6. Increasing the productivity of forests to meet essential national needs.
7. To minimize pressure on existing forests.

Major achievements of National Forest Policy

Point 4 and 5 of above objectives.
Involvement of local communities in the protection, conservation and management of
forests through Joint Forest Management Programme.
Conservation of Biological Diversity and Genetic Resources of the country through exsitu and in-situ conservation measures.
Significant contribution in maintenance of environment and ecological stability in the
country.

Biological Diversity Act, 2002

It was born out of India’s attempt to realize the objectives enshrined in the UN
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) 1992.
CBD recognizes the sovereign rights of states to use their own Biological Resources.
The Act provide for conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its
components and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the use of
biological resources.

Objectives

Conservation of biological diversity;
Sustainable use of its components; and
Fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic
resources. (i.e. no greed)
The Act envisages a three-tier structure to regulate access to the biological resources,
comprising of –

  • National Biodiversity Authority (NBA)
  • State Biodiversity Boards (SBB)
  • Biodiversity Management Committees (BMC) – local level.

The Scheduled Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dweller (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act,
2006

It provides for the restitution of deprived forest rights across India, including both
individual rights to cultivated land in forestland and community rights over common
property resources.
It integrates conservation and livelihood rights of the people.

FRA is a potential tool

To empower and strengthen the local self governance
To address the livelihood security of the people

To address the issues of Conservation and management of the Natural Resources and
conservation governance of India.

The Act recognizes and secures

Individual rights + community Rights
Right to protect, regenerate or conserve or manage any community forest resource
which the communities have been traditionally protecting and conserving for
sustainable use.
Right to intellectual property and traditional knowledge related to biodiversity and
cultural diversity
Rights of displaced communities & Rights over developmental activities

Salient features

Nodal Agency for implementation – MoTA (Ministry of Tribal Affairs).
This Act is applicable for – Tribal and Other Traditional Forest Dwelling Communities.
It recognizes traditional forest dwellers rights provided they have for at least three
generations prior to 13.12.2005 primarily resided in and have depended on the forest or
forest land for bonafide livelihood needs.
“generation” = period of 25 years.
Maximum limit of the recognizing rights on forest land – 4 ha.
Recognition of rights in – National Parks, Sanctuaries, Reserve Forest, Protected Forests.
The Act recognizes the right of ownership access to collect, use, and dispose of minor
forest produce which has been traditionally collected within or outside village
boundaries.
Term “minor forest produce” = non-timber forest produce of plant origin (including
bamboo, brush wood, stumps, cane, tussar, cocoons, honey, wax, lac, tendu or kendu
leaves, medicinal plants and herbs, roots, tubers and the like)
The rights conferred under the Act shall be heritable but not alienable or transferable
and shall be registered jointly in the name of both the spouses in the case of married
persons and in the name of the single head, in the case of a household headed by a
single person and in the absence of a direct heir, the heritable right shall pass on to the
next of kin.
Till the recognition and verification procedure is completed, no member of a forest
dwelling Scheduled Tribe or other traditional forest dwellers shall be
evicted or
removed
from forest land under his occupation.
Gram sabha will be the competent authority for initiating the process of determining
the nature and extent of individual or community forest rights or both that may be given
to the forest dwelling Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers.

Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ)

The coastal stretches of seas, bays, estuaries, creeks, rivers and back waters which are
influenced by tidal action up to 500 meters from the High Tide Line (HTL) and the land
between the Low Tide Line (LTL) and the HTL are declared “Coastal Regulation Zone”
(CRZ)

Q.) What is HTL and LTL?

High Tide Line means the line on the land up to which the highest water line reaches
during the spring tide.

Aim – protecting coastal stretches in India.
National Coastal Zone Management Authority (NCZMA) and State Coastal Zone
Management Authority (SCZMA) are for enforcement and monitoring of the CRZ
Notification.

Classification Criteria and Regulatory Norms –

The coastal regulation zone has been classified for the purpose of regulation of the permitted
activities.

Category I (CRZ-I) –

Areas that are ecologically sensitive and important, such as national parks/marine parks,
sanctuaries, reserve forests etc.
Area between Low Tide Line and the high Tide Line.

Category-II (CRZ-II) –

Areas that have already been developed upto or close to the shoreline.
“developed area” – area within the municipal limits or in other legally designated urban
areas which is already substantially built up and which has been provided with drainage
and approach roads and other infrastructural facilities, such as water supply and
sewerage mains.

Category-III (CRZ-III):

Areas that are relatively undisturbed and those which do not belong to either CategoryI or II.
These will include coastal zone in the rural areas (developed and undeveloped) and also
areas within Municipal limits or in other legally designated urban areas which are not
substantially built up.

Category-IV (CRZ-IV):

Coastal stretches in the Andaman & Nicobar, Lakshadweep and small islands, except
those designated as CRZ-I, CRZ-II or CRZ-III.

Norms for Regulation of Activities

CRZ-I

• No new construction shall be permitted in CRZ- I except
• Projects relating to Department of Atomic Energy
• Pipelines, conveying systems including transmission lines
• Facilities that are essential for activities permissible under CRZ-I.

CRZ-II

• Buildings shall be permitted only on the landward side of the existing road (or
roads approved in the Coastal Zone Management Plan of the area) or on the
landward side of existing authorised structures
• Reconstruction of the authorised buildings to be permitted subject to the existing
FSI/FAR norms and without change in the existing use.
• The design and construction of buildings shall be consistent with the surrounding
landscape and local architectural style

CRZ-III

• Undisturbed areas + those which do not belong to either CRZ-I or CRZ-II which
includes mainly the rural area and those not built up within designated urban
areas.
• The area up to 200 meters from HTL is earmarked as “No Development Zone”.
• No construction permission except for repairs to the existing authorized.
• Development of vacant plots between 200 and 500 meters of HTL is permitted in
CRZ III for the purpose of construction of dwelling units and hotels/beach resorts
subject to certain conditions.

CRZ-IV

• No new construction of buildings shall be permitted within 200 metres of the HTL.
• Corals from the beaches and coastal waters shall not be used for construction and
other purposes.
• Sand may be used from the beaches and coastal waters, only for construction
purpose upto the 30th day of September 2002 and thereafter it shall not be used
for construction and other purposes.
• Dredging and underwater blasting in and around coral formations shall not be
permitted

Wetlands (Conservation And Management) Rules 2010

Purpose – To ensure that there is no further degradation of wetlands.
The rules specify activities which are harmful to wetlands like industrialization,
construction, dumping of untreated waste and reclamation and prohibit these activities
in, the wetlands.
Other activities – like harvesting and dredging may be carried out only with prior
permission from the concerned authorities.
The rules have classified the wetlands for better management and easier identification.
Central Wetland Regulatory Authority – It had been set up to ensure proper
implementation of the Rules and perform all functions for management of wetlands in
India.
Authority shall have a number of expert members apart from govt. representatives to
ensure that wetland conservation is carried out in the best possibie manner.
The Rules are a positive step towards conservation of wetlands in India. This will go a
long way in protecting our wetlands which are under severe threat.

National Green Tribunal (NGT)

Preamble of act – NGT is established for the effective and expeditious disposal of cases
relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural
resources, including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving
relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters
connected therewith.
India had become one of the distinguished league of countries that have a dedicated
adjudicatory forum to address environmental disputes.
This court can rightly be called ‘special’ because India is the third country following
Australia and New Zealand to have such a system.
The specialized architecture of NGT will facilitate fast track resolution of environmental
cases
and provide a boost to the implementation of many sustainable development
measures.
This is the first body of its kind that is required by its parent statute to apply the
“polluter pays” principle and the principle of sustainable development.
Members – The tribunal shall consist of a full time chairperson, judicial members and
expert members. The
minimum number of judicial and expert member prescribed is ten
in each category and maximum number is twenty in each category.
A judge of the Supreme Court of India or Chief Justice of High Court are eligible to be
Chairperson or judicial member of the Tribunal.
Even existing or retired judge of High Court is qualified to be appointed as a Judicial
Member.
NGT is mandated to dispose the cases within six months of their respective appeals.
Speedy environmental justice by NGT will help to reduce the burden of litigation in the
higher courts.
Initially, the NGT is proposed to be set up at five places of sittings and will follow circuit
procedure for making itself more accessible. New Delhi is the Principal Place of Sitting of
the Tribunal and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai shall be the other four place of
sitting of the Tribunal.

The National Green Tribunal Act. 2010 was enacted in consonance with which of the following
provisions of the Constitution of India?
1. Right to healthy environment. construed as a part of Right to life under Article 21.
2. Provision of grants for raising the level of administration in the Scheduled Areas for the
welfare of Scheduled Tribes under Article 275(1).
3. Powers and functions of Gram Sabha as mentioned under Article 243(A).
Select the correct answer using the codes given below:
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

The Ozone Depleting Substances Rules

They set the deadlines for phasing out of various ODSs, besides regulating production,
trade import and export of ODSs and the product containing ODS.
Amendments were done in 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2005 to facilitate implementation of
ODS phase-out at enterprises in various sectors.
These Rules prohibit the use of CFCs in manufacturing various products beyond 1st
January 2003 except in metered dose inhaler and for other medical purposes.
Use of halons is prohibited after 1st January 2001 except for essential use.
Carbon tetrachloride and methylchoroform are other ODSs.
Use of methyl bromide has been allowed up to 1st January 2015. Since HCFCs are used
as interim substitute to replace CFC, these are allowed up to 1st January 2040.

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