Beginning the process of second generation reform which may take care of green issues without compromising on economic growth, the environment minister Prakash Javadekar on Thursday launched a "system for online submission of applications for environment clearance".
This new user-friendly system is expected to bring transparency in the contentious issue of environmental clearance.
It will allow the applicants as well as the clearance authorities to keep a tab on the entire process while adhering to the timeline of various clearances\rejections.
The ministry will launch a similar online system for 'forest clearance' next month.
Emphasizing that the twin objective of economic growth and environmental protection can go hand in hand, Javadekar — who took charge of his ministry on Thursday - said there was no contradiction between the two and both the objectives would be pursued together.
He said economic growth and environmental protection was possible by adopting "sustainable development" mechanism.
Asked whether this growth agenda would compromise with the green issues, Javadekar said, "There will be no compromise on environmental protection and due diligence".
The new online system which monitors stage-wise approval and compliance mechanism will ensure security of information while simultaneously maintaining transparency in dealings between the ministry and the applicant.
"There will be a maximum time limit for the entire approval process, with stage-wise timelines. Efforts will be made to bring down the timelines for each stage", said the minister.
An applicant, under the online system, will be able to monitor stage-wise process of their application. Javadekar said, "After basic verification, a password will be generated in four to five days and the applicant can check the progress online."
He said the Centre would work with states to ensure that the process at their end is completed on time so that the environment ministry can grant an environmental clearance within a maximum of 60 days.
Javadekar took charge at the time when his task is cut out as the new government is expected to set up a 'national environment regulator' to streamline the clearances and regulatory procedures as desired by the Supreme Court.
Asked about the timeline to set up such central regulator, Javadekar said the Cabinet would take a decision on such issue.
Underlining the change of nomenclature of the ministry from 'environment and forest' to 'environment, forest and climate change', the new minister said, "The addition of the words 'Climate Change' in the name of the ministry is significant".
He also took note of the fact that India will have to play an important role in the run up to the final negotiation for coming out with a global climate deal in Paris next year.
He said the preparations were already underway for the decisive Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Unfccc), which is expected to take place in December 2015, in Paris, France.