From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : AQC and its jurisdiction
Mains level : Air pollution
The Lok Sabha has passed the Bill to formalize the Commission for Air Quality Management For National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas.
Highlights of the AQC Bill
- The AQC would be a ‘permanent’ body to address pollution in the National Capital Region Delhi and address sources of pollution in Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
- The all-powerful body assumed several powers to coordinate action among States, levy fines — ranging up to ₹1 crore or five years of prison — to address air pollution.
- Over-riding powers: While the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and its state branches have the powers to implement provisions of the Environment Protection Act for air, water and land pollution.
- In case of dispute or a clash of jurisdictions, the AQC’s writ would prevail specific to matters concerning air pollution.
- Chair: The body has a full-time chairperson and a range of members consisting of both representatives from several Ministries as well as independent experts and will have the final say on evolving policy and issuing directions.
- Curb on stubble burning: the Commission may impose and collect environment compensation causing pollution by stubble burning.
- No penalties to farmers: The Centre, facing flak earlier this year from farmers protesting the farm laws, had committed to removing a clause in the Air Commission Bill that would penalize farmers for burning stubble, an important contributor to noxious air quality.