Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: about NBWL
Mains level: Issues related to the clearances of forest lands for industrial purpose
Easy or Hasty Clearance?
- India’s apex National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has cleared 682 of the 687 projects (99.82%) that came up for scrutiny.
- NBWL is the agency charged with allowing forest land in Protected Areas to be diverted for industry
- Only five projects were rejected since August 2014.
About National Board for Wildlife (NBWL)
- The NBWL is a “Statutory Organization” constituted under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
- Theoretically, the board is “advisory” in nature and advises the Central Government on framing policies and measures for conservation of wildlife in the country.
- However, it is a very important body because it serves as apex body to review all wildlife-related matters and approve projects in and around national parks and sanctuaries.
Functions of NBWL
- Primary function of the Board is to promote the conservation and development of wildlife and forests.
- It has power to review all wildlife-related matters and approve projects in and around national parks and sanctuaries.
- No alternation of boundaries in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries can be done without approval of the NBWL.
- The NBWL, formally headed by the Prime Minister, adjudicates on industrial projects, road diversions or the like that could encroach into Protected Areas or eco-sensitive zones of forests.
- The environment ministry has delegated all powers of the NBWL to a compliant Standing Committee which regularly meets and clears projects in Protected Areas with due diligence.
- A smaller Standing Committee of the NBWL is charged with deliberating on the merits of projects that come to it for scrutiny.
- The committee comprises scientists and government officials and is chaired by Union Environment Minister.