Coastal Zones Management and Regulations

Aug, 09, 2019

Centre unveils plan for coastal zone management


The Environment Ministry has unveiled a draft plan that will dictate how prospective infrastructure projects situated along the coast ought to be assessed before they can apply for clearance.


  1. The draft Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) is part of a World Bank-funded project.
  2. It lays out guidelines for coastal States to adopt when they approve and regulate projects in coastal zones.
  3. It seeks to assist the Government of India in enhancing coastal resource efficiency and resilience by building capacity for adopting and implementing integrated coastal management approaches
  4. The document was prepared by the Society for Integrated Coastal Management, a Ministry-affiliated body.
  5. As per the report, Integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) has to be a continuous process rather than a “one-off” investment action.
  6. The key activities proposed for coastal zone development include: 
    1. mangrove afforestation/shelter beds
    2.  habitat conservation activities such as restoration of sea-grass meadows
    3. eco-restoration of sacred groves
    4. development of hatcheries
    5. rearing/rescue centres for turtles and other marine animals
    6. creation of infrastructure for tourism
    7. restoration and recharge of water bodies
    8. beach cleaning and development
    9. small infrastructure facilities
  7. Livelihood improvement projects include
    1. demonstration of climate-resilient or salinity resistant agriculture
    2. water harvesting and recharge/storage
    3. creation of infrastructure and facilities to support eco-tourism
    4. community-based small-scale mariculture
    5. seaweed cultivation
    6. aquaponics
  8. Environmental and social aspects ought to be integrated into the planning, design, implementation of projects.
  9. Projects should avoid or minimise impacts on cultural properties and natural habitats, compensate any loss of livelihood or assets, adopt higher work safety standards, occupational and community health and safety

Action so far

  1. So far three coastal States, Gujarat, Odisha and West Bengal, have prepared Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plans with support from the World Bank.
  2. Such plans would be prepared for the selected coastal stretches in other States/UT.
  3. Inadequate planning has often obstructed coastal zone development projects
May, 14, 2019

Coastal Regulation Zone: How rules for building along coast have evolved



  • The Supreme Court has recently ordered the demolition of some constructions in Kerala’s Ernakulum, for violating Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms.
  • While the CRZ Rules are made by the Union Environment Ministry, implementation is supposed to be done by state governments through their Coastal Zone Management Authorities.
  • The states are also supposed to frame their own coastal zone management plans in accordance with the central Rules.

The CRZ Rules

  • CRZ Rules govern human and industrial activity close to the coastline, in order to protect the fragile ecosystems near the sea.
  • The Rules, mandated under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, were first framed in 1991.
  • They sought to restrict certain kinds of activities, like large constructions, setting up of new industries, storage or disposal of hazardous material, mining, or reclamation and bunding, within a certain distance from the coastline.
  • In all CRZ Rules, the regulation zone has been defined as the area up to 500 m from the high-tide line.
  • Several kinds of restrictions apply, depending on criteria such as the population of the area, the ecological sensitivity, the distance from the shore, and whether the area had been designated as a natural park or wildlife zone.

Why such rules?

The basic idea is: because areas immediately next to the sea are extremely delicate, home to many marine and aquatic life forms, both animals and plants, and are also threatened by climate change, they need to be protected against unregulated development.

Evolution of Rules

  • The Centre notified fresh CRZ Rules in 2011, which addressed some concerns. An exemption was made for the construction of the Navi Mumbai airport.
  • Projects of the Department of Atomic Energy, which plans to set up nuclear power plants near the coast, were exempted.
  • After even these Rules were found inadequate, however, the MoEFCC in 2014 set up a six-member committee under then Earth Sciences Secretary Shailesh Nayak to give suggestions for a new set of CRZ Rules.
  • Simultaneously, the Chennai-based National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management defined a new high-tide line along India’s entire coastline to remove ambiguities.
  • Separately, the Survey of India defined a hazard line along the coasts — to be used mainly for disaster management planning.
  • Based on these and other inputs, the MoEFCC issued fresh CRZ Rules in December 2018, which removed certain restrictions on building, streamlined the clearance process, and aimed to encourage tourism in coastal areas.

New Rules under CRZ regulations

  • The government notified new CRZ Rules with the stated objectives of promoting sustainable development and conserving coastal environments.
  • For the so-called CRZ-III (Rural) areas, two separate categories have been stipulated.
  • In the densely populated rural areas (CRZ-IIIA) with a population density of 2,161 per sq km as per the 2011 Census, the no-development zone is now 50 m from the high-tide level, as against the 200 m stipulated earlier.
  • In the CRZ-IIIB category (rural areas with population density below 2,161 per sq km) continue to have a no-development zone extending up to 200 m from the high-tide line.
  • The new Rules have a no-development zone of 20 m for all islands close to the mainland coast, and for all backwater islands in the mainland.

Problems with some states

  • Despite several amendments, states found the 1991 Rules to be extremely restrictive.
  • They complained that if applied strictly, the Rules would not allow simple things like building decent homes for people living close to the coast, and carrying out basic developmental works.
  • The 1991 Rules also created hurdles for showpiece industrial and infrastructure projects such as the POSCO steel plant in Odisha and the proposed Navi Mumbai airport in the first decade of the new century.
Mar, 30, 2019

Island Protection Zone (IPZ), 2019


Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: IPZ notification

Mains level: Features of the IPZ


  • The MoEFCC has notified Island Protection Zone (IPZ) 2019 for Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

 IPZ Notification, 2019

  • The notification relaxes development norms in the islands compared to the IPZ notification of 2011, which stipulated a no-development zone (NDZ) of 200 metres from the HTL for all islands.
  • This brings the norms for Andaman and Nicobar at par with coastal regulation zone (CRZ) norms for other islands close to the mainland and backwater islands where an NDZ only 20 metres from HTL has been stipulated.
  • The cabinet had approved the CRZ notification in 2018 which relaxed a number of provisions in the CRZ 2011 to facilitate infrastructure development and construction on the coast.
  • It included easing floor area ratio (FAR) in coastal urban areas and slashing the NDZ in densely populated coastal rural areas to 50 metres from HTL as compared to 200 metres earlier.
  • The legal changes in the IPZ are aligned with the Niti Ayog’s proposal for holistic development in the Islands which is being taken forward under the guidance of the Island Development Agency.

Features of the IPZ, 2019

  • It allows for eco-tourism activities like mangrove walks, tree huts and nature trails in island coastal regulation zone IA (classified as the most eco-sensitive region of the islands which includes turtle nesting grounds, marshes, coral reefs etc).
  • The notification also allows for construction of roads, roads on stilts by reclaiming land in exceptional cases for defence installations, public utilities or strategic purposes in eco-sensitive zones.
  • It states that in case construction of such roads pass through mangroves, a minimum three times the mangrove area destroyed during the construction process shall be taken up for compensatory plantation of mangroves elsewhere.
  • These were not allowed under the IPZ 2011 notification which only permitted pipelines, transmission lines, trans-harbor links to be laid in the eco-sensitive zone.
  • The new notification also allows a number of new activities in the inter-tidal zone between low tide line and HTL.
  • This includes land reclamation and bunding for foreshore facilities like ports, harbours, jetties, wharves, quays, sea links etc, transfer of hazardous substances from ships to ports, manual mining of atomic minerals, and mining of sand with permission from local authorities in non-eco-sensitive sites.
Jan, 25, 2019

MoEFCC notifies new CRZ norms


Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: New CRZ norms

Mains level: India’s efforts for marine environment conservation and various initiatives related to it


  • The Union Environment Ministry has released the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ), 2019 opening up the coastline of the country for construction and tourism activities.


  • In June 2014, the MoEFCC constituted a Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr. Shailesh Nayak to examine the various issues and concerns recommending appropriate changes in the CRZ Notification, 2011.
  • The Shailesh Nayak Committee held wide ranging consultations with State Governments and other stakeholders and submitted its recommendations in 2015.

New Rules

  • The new CRZ notification, issued under Section 3 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 seeks to “to promote sustainable development based on scientific principles taking into account the dangers of natural hazards, sea level rise due to global warming.
  • It aims to conserve and protect the unique environment of coastal stretches and marine areas, besides livelihood security to the fisher communities and other local communities in the coastal area.

Salient Features

FSI Norms Eased

  • For CRZ-II (Urban) areas, Floor Space Index (FSI) or the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) had been frozen as per 1991 Development Control Regulation (DCR) levels.
  • In the CRZ, 2019 Notification, it has been decided to de-freeze the same and permit FSI for construction projects, as prevailing on the date of the new Notification.

Tourism infrastructure permitted in coastal areas

  • Temporary tourism facilities such as shacks, toilet blocks, change rooms, drinking water facilities etc. have now been permitted in Beaches.
  • Such temporary tourism facilities are also now permissible in the “No Development Zone” (NDZ) of the CRZ-III areas as per the Notification.
  • However, a minimum distance of 10 m from HTL should be maintained for setting up of such facilities.

CRZ Clearances streamlined

  • Only such projects/activities, which are located in the CRZ-I (Ecologically Sensitive Areas) and CRZ IV shall be dealt with for CRZ clearance by the MoEFCC.
  • The powers for clearances with respect to CRZ-II and III have been delegated at the State level with necessary guidance.

No Development Zone (NDZ) of 20 meters for all Islands

  • For islands close to the main land coast and for all Backwater Islands in the main land NDZ of 20 m has been stipulated.
  • It has been done in the wake of space limitations and unique geography of such regions, bringing uniformity in treatment of such regions.

Pollution Abatement

  • In order to address pollution in Coastal areas treatment facilities have been made permissible activities in CRZ-I B area subject to necessary safeguards.
  • The Notification contains provisions for defence and strategic projects.

Critically Vulnerable Coastal Areas (CVCA)

  • Sundarban region of West Bengal and other ecologically sensitive areas identified are as under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 such as Gulf of Khambat and Gulf of Kutchh in Gujarat, Malvan, Achra-Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, Karwar and Coondapur in Karnataka, Vembanad in Kerala, Gulf of Mannar in Tamil Nadu, Bhaitarkanika in Odisha, Coringa, East Godavari and Krishna in AP.
  • They are treated as Critical Vulnerable Coastal Areas (CVCA) and managed with the involvement of coastal communities including fisher folk who depend on coastal resources for their sustainable livelihood.

Way Forward

  • The changes brought about in the CRZ Notification will help creating additional opportunities for affordable housing and sustainable development activities.
  • It is stated that the new notification will boost tourism, creating employment opportunities.
Dec, 31, 2018

Govt's reason for CRZ amendments


Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: India’s efforts for marine environment conservation and various initiatives related to it


  • The Union Cabinet has cleared the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification, 2018.
  • The last time such a notification came was in 2011, though amended several times.
  • The draft notification was widely debated for its adverse impacts on local ecology.

What’s all included in the notification?

  1. The Cabinet decision has de-freezed parameters under the CRZ 2011 notification for CRZ-II (Urban) areas, Floor Space Index (FSI) or the Floor Area Ratio (FAR).
  2. These were based on the 1991 Development Control Regulation (DCR) levels.
  3. In densely populated rural areas near the coast with population density of 2,161 per square km (based on Census 2011), development works are now allowed beyond 50 metres from the high tide line (HTL).
  4. Under the 2011 CRZ notification this was 200 metres.
  5. However, areas with density below 2,161 per square km will have the ‘No Development Zone’ (NDZ) restriction of 200 metres from HTL.

Propositions for enhancing Tourism

  1. In another concession, temporary tourism infrastructure for “basic amenities” like shacks, toilet blocks, change rooms, drinking water facilities etc, will be allowed now in the NDZ of CRZ-III areas but at a distance of 10 metres from HTL.
  2. For islands near the coast and backwater islands, the new notification has fixed NDZ of 20 metres from the coastline.
  3. Government has also decentralized the CRZ clearance procedure, the state government now has the power to clear projects.
  4. Only in the case of ecologically sensitive areas (known as CRZ-I) and those covered in low tide line and 12 Nautical Miles seaward, the  MoEFCC will give clearance.

Benefits of proposed amendments

  1. The new notification has done away with or diluted many stringent restrictions in place at coastal areas.
  2. The notification will lead to enhanced activities in the coastal regions thereby promoting economic growth while also respecting the conservation principles of coastal regions.
  3. It will not only result in significant employment generation but also to a better life and add value to the economy of India.

Way Forward 

  1. Tourism has been one of the greatest creators of livelihood and jobs.
  2. The notification is so designed that it balances the needs in such a way that both are fulfilled.
  3. This will also give boost to people desirous of seeing and enjoying the beauty of the mighty seas.
Oct, 06, 2018

India, Vietnam hold joint drill in Bay of Bengal


Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Exercise Sahyog

Mains level: India-Vietnam Relations


Ex. Sahyog HOP TAC-2018

  1. The Indian Coast Guard conducted its maiden joint exercise with the Vietnam Coast Guard in the Bay of Bengal, off the coast of Chennai.
  2. The exercise was aimed at enabling the Coast Guard units of the two countries to acquaint themselves with each other’s capabilities, strengthening the working-level relationship to rescue lives at sea and refining joint operation procedures.
  3. Three Indian Coast Guard ships ICG Shaurya, Arnvesh and C-431 — and two helicopters, ICG Dornier and Chetak, took part in the search and rescue (SAR) exercise.
  4. Vietnam Coast Guard vessel, CSB 8001, arrived to take part in the joint exercise and to enhance interoperability.
  5. The joint exercise simulated a scenario involving rescue of crew from a hijacked oil tanker, interdiction of a pirated vessel, joint boarding operation and external fire-fighting to salvage burning ships.
Jun, 04, 2018

Odisha beach is Asia’s first to get ‘Blue Flag’ tag


Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Blue Flag certification, Society for Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM), Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE)

Mains level: India’s efforts for marine environment conservation and various initiatives related to it


Blue Flag certification

  1. The Chandrabhaga beach on the Konark coast of Odisha will be the first in Asia to get the Blue Flag certification
  2. It will be awarded the honour on World Environment Day on June 5
  3. The Environment Ministry embarked on the Blue Flag project in December 2017

More beaches on the way

  1. Twelve more beaches in the country are being developed by the Society for Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM) in accordance with the Blue Flag standards
  2. SICOM is an Environment Ministry’s body working for the management of coastal areas

Blue flag standards

  1. To achieve the Blue Flag standards, a beach must be plastic-free and equipped with a waste management system
  2. Clean water should be available for tourists, apart from international amenities
  3. The beach should have facilities for studying the environmental impact around the area
  4. The standards were established by the Copenhagen-based Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) in 1985
Apr, 19, 2018

[pib] New draft Coastal Regulation Zone Notification


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2018, National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM)

Mains level: CRZ and its implementation


  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has framed a new draft Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2018
  • This draft has been formed by considering the recommendations of Dr. Shailesh Nayak committee constituted by The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).

The salient features of the draft CRZ Notification, 2018 and changes with respect to CRZ Notification, 2011, are as under:-

  • The High Tide Line (HTL) has been demarcated by the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management (NCSCM) and shall be reckoned as a universal standard for the HTL for all regulatory purposes under the CRZ Notification, 2018.
  • Hazard line mapping shall be used only as a tool for Disaster Management and planning of adaptive and mitigation measures.
  • CRZ limits on land along the tidal influenced water bodies has been proposed to be reduced from 100 meters or the width of the creek, whichever is less, to 50 meters or the width of the creek, whichever is less.
  • A No Development Zone (NDZ) of 20 meters has been proposed to be stipulated for all Islands close to the mainland coast and for all Backwater Islands in the mainland.
Jun, 22, 2016

Local town planning be preferred over CRZ restrictions

  1. Context: The Shailesh Nayak review committee on Issues relating to the Coastal Regulation Zone relaxes curbs on coastal zone constructions
  2. Recommendations: Give greater powers and responsibilities to coastal states to regulate development, maintain and conserve ecologically fragile zones
  3. To ensure that environment be protected without neglecting ‘basic requirements of growing population’
  4. It recommends that local town planning regulations be preferred over CRZ restrictions
May, 18, 2016

Concerns by activists on coastal mismanagement

  1. The 2011 Coastal Regulation Zone notification: It gives powers to States to check commercial development along coasts
  2. Concerns: Making the report accessible is in the public interest because there were amendments to the CRZ law since January 2015
  3. These have possibly facilitated heavy constructions and coastal roads etc.
  4. Unless the report was made public it couldn’t be ruled out that the Nayak committee report had eased rules facilitating construction
May, 18, 2016

Publish report on coastal management, orders CIC

  1. Context: The CIC has ordered the Environment Ministry to make public, within a month, a report that looked into issues raised by States on the management of coasts
  2. Background: A committee headed by Shailesh Nayak was convened in 2014 to examine problems faced by States in complying with regulations
  3. RTI: Few activists had sought a copy of the report through the Right to Information Act
  4. The Ministry reportedly denied the report as it was still being reviewed and couldn’t be provided
Mar, 27, 2015

Mithivirdi nuclear plant gets coastal regulatory zone nod

  1. Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) had been facing severe opposition from local farmers and social activists for this project.
  2. Proximity to coastal waters was needed for constructing an intake channel of sea water for cooling purpose at the nuclear plant.
  3. NPCIL asked to examine possibilities of deploying ultrasonic devices to divert the aquatic life from entering into the sea water intake.
  4. National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) will help in that.
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