Ministry is headed by a Cabinet Rank Minister as additional portfolio and assisted by a Minister of State the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is the nodal agency in the administrative structure of the Central Government for the planning, promotion, co-ordination and overseeing the implementation of India’s environmental and forestry policies and programmes. The primary responsibility of the Ministry is oriented towards implementation of policies and programmes relating to conservation of the country’s natural resources including its lakes and rivers, its biodiversity, forests and wildlife, ensuring the welfare of animals, and the prevention and abatement of pollution.
The Ministry also serves as the nodal agency in the country for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP), and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and for the follow-up of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The Ministry is also entrusted with issues relating to multilateral bodies such as the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), Global Environment Facility (GEF) and of regional bodies like Economic and Social Council for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP) and South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) on matters pertaining to the environment.
The broad objectives of the Ministry are:
- Conservation and survey of flora, fauna, forests and wildlife
- Prevention and control of pollution
- Afforestation and regeneration of degraded areas
- Protection of the environment
- Ensuring the welfare of animals
These objectives are well supported by a set of legislative and regulatory measures, aimed at the preservation, conservation and protection of the environment. Besides the legislative measures, the National Conservation Strategy and Policy Statement on Environment and Development, 1992, ,National Forest Policy, 1988, Policy Statement on Abatement of Pollution, 1992 and the National Environment Policy, 2006 also guide the Ministry’s work.
The National Afforestation and Eco-Development Board (NAEB), set up in August 1992,is responsible for promoting afforestation, tree planting, ecological restoration and eco-development activities in the country, with special attention to the degraded forest areas and lands adjoining the forest areas, national parks, sanctuaries and other protected areas as well as the ecologically fragile areas like the Western Himalayas, Aravallis, Western Ghats, etc. The detailed role and functions of the NAEB are given below.
- Evolve mechanisms for ecological restoration of degraded forest areas and adjoining lands through systematic planning and implementation, in a cost effective manner;
- Restore through natural regeneration or appropriate intervention the forest cover in the country for ecological security and to meet the fuelwood, fodder and other needs of the rural communities;
- Restore fuelwood, fodder, timber and other forest produce on the degraded forest and adjoining lands in order to meet the demands for these items;
- Sponsor research and extension of research findings to disseminate new and proper technologies for the regeneration and development of degraded forest areas and adjoining lands;
- Create general awareness and help foster people’s movement for promoting afforestation and eco-development with the assistance of voluntary agencies, non-government organisations, Panchayati Raj institutions and others and promote participatory and sustainable management of degraded forest areas and adjoining lands;
- Coordinate and monitor the Action Plans for afforestation, tree planting, ecological restoration and eco-development;
- Undertake all other measures necessary for promoting afforestation, tree planting, ecological restoration and eco-development activities in the country.
Environment Protection, Public Liability Insurance, Forest Conservation, Indian Forest Services (IFS), National Green Tribunal (NGT), Environmental Science Associates (ESA), Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZ) Notifications and Compensation Afforestation Fund Act, 2016(CAMPA)
Environmental Divisions handling Forest & Wildlife domains handle the affairs of Clean Technology(CT), Climate Change(CC), Conservation and Survey(CS), Control of Pollution(CP),Environment Education(EE), Environmental Health(EH),Environmental Impact Assessment(EIA), Environmental Information(EI), Hazardous Substance Management(HSM), Montreal Protocol & Ozone Cell, Research in Environment (RE), Statistical Cell(SC), Wetlands.
DOCUMENTARY RESOURCES IN PUBLIC DOMAIN
Annual Report (2019-20), Publications (15), EBooks (20), Library containing Magazines, Journals and Newspapers and Statistics/Information related to Forest & Wildlife.
ISSUES AND CHALLENGES BEFORE THE MINISTRY
- Despite stringent laws on Environment, Forests and Climate Change there is a clear lacuna or deficiencies in the process of enforcement and implementation.
- Increase in Pollution and failure on the agencies to protect the flora and fauna resulting in Environmental degradation.
- Lack of proper infrastructure to handle Climate Change and sustainable water management; sustainable forest management; sustainable development of mountainous regions; environmentally sustainable and resilient urban development; air, land and water pollution; clean and renewable energy and climate change risk management.
- Poor Waste Management and depletion in the ground water tables besides lack of check on reduction on greenhouse gas emissions.
- Lack of legal accountability and co-ordination between Enforcement Agencies and the stake holders for various industries.
- Need for an independent cabinet rank minister with three Ministers of State to handle the three domains of Environment, Forests and Climate change to handle this critical portfolio having huge relevance and importance for safe life and livelihood.
- Engagement of Student Community in increasing the Awareness of Environment and Climate Change besides compulsory participation in Afforestation activities as a part of academic curriculum under Vocational stream.
- Explore alternative sources of wealth and energy resources to check pollution in environment and establish an Integrated Clean Energy besides increasing all renewable energy capacities.
- Restoring our natural environment and halting climate change demand from a systemic transformation to more sustainable, inclusive and green societies.
- Decentralize the jurisdiction of National Green Tribunals and set up State Green Tribunals in al State Capitals besides more Zonal Benches in major Metropolitan cities.