Role and Organisation
The Ministry of Environment and Forests is the nodal agency in the administrative structure of the Central Government, for the planning, promotion and co- ordination of environmental and forestry programmes.
The main activities of the Ministry are conservation and survey of flora, fauna, forests and wildlife, prevention and control of pollution, afforestation and regeneration of degraded areas and protection of environment. These tasks are being fulfilled through environmental impact assessment, eco-regeneration, assistance to organisations implementing environmental and forestry programmes; promotion of environmental and forestry programmes; promotion of environmental and forestry research, extension, education and training, to augment the requisite manpower, dissemination of environmental information, international cooperation and creation of environmental awareness among all sectors of the country's population.
The organisational structure of the Ministry indicating various divisions, associated and autonomous offices/ agencies is given in Annexure-I.
Allocation of Business
An overview of the activities of the Ministry and its
associated offices/organisations during the year:
Survey of Natural Resources
About 30 exploration tours were undertaken by various circles and units of the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) in different priority areas of the country during which a number of specimens have been collected.
A total of 45 surveys covering, different ecosystems in various states of the country were conducted by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).
The National Zoological Collections were further enriched by the addition of 22,328 identified specimens pertaining to 302 species.
One genus under Insecta and five new species been designated as new to science. The new genus has been discovered in Kerala.
A new fish gallery has been added to the Indian Museum, Calcutta.
The State of Forest Report, 1997 - the sixth in series of biennial reports published by the Forest Survey of India (FSI) - was released during the year.
The country has lost about 5,500 sq. km. of forest cover since the 1995 assessment and the total forest cover of the country now has been estimated to be 63.34 million ha representing 19.27% of the geographic area of the country.
Conservation of Natural Resources including
Forestry and Wildlife
The 9th Biosphere Reserve has been set up at Dibru Saikhowa, Assam during the year.
Wetlands, Mangroves and Coral Reefs
The schemes on conservation and management of Wetlands, Mangroves and Coral Reefs were continued during the year. Support from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) is available for projects relating to the Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve and the Coral Reefs of Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
The draft outline of a legislation on bio-diversity was released during the year.
The UN Convention to Combat Desertification has come into force from 17th March 1997 for India.
India is to host the thematic programme area on agroforestry management and soil conservation in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas under the Convention.
A Conference of State Forest Secretaries. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Wardens was organised in New Delhi in September 1997.
During 1997 more than 900 proposals from various State and UT Governments were processed under the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980, out of which 147 were given stage II approval and 370 were given stage I approval.
All other schemes aimed at the conservation and management of the forests of the country were continued.
The network of protected areas now comprises 84 National Parks and 447 Wildlife Sanctuaries covering about 1.50 lakh sq. km. area of the country.
Two meetings of the Indian Board for Wildlife were held during the year.
Action has been initiated to institute a Rajiv Gandhi National Wildlife Conservation Award.
A poster of birds and a hand- drawing of a tiger cub were released by the Prime Minister during the Wildlife week.
Financial assistance was provided to 22 states for development of National Parks and Sanctuaries.
An amount of Rs. 1355 lakhs was provided during the year as Central assistance for development and maintenance of the Project Tiger areas.
Twenty three mobile zoos, 63 mini zoos and 4 small zoos were refused recognition by tlie Central Zoo Authority (CZA).
A draft National Policy on zoos has been finalised.
The Animal Welfare Board of India has appointed more than 9000 Honourary Animal Welfare officers to check cruelty inflicted on animals and to protect them.
Under the 'Animal Birth Control Programme' more than 18,000 sterilizations were carried out on stray dogs in six metro cities.
The Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals met five times during the year and has taken several important decisions.
Environmental Impact Assessment
A total of 382 projects were appraised for environmental and site clearance during the year, out of which, 186 were cleared 98 were either rejected or exempted and the rest are pending.
The EIA Notification of 1994 has been amended to provide for public hearing as well as for empowering State Governments for according environmental clearance in respect of specified types of Thermal Power Projects.
The Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification has also been amended.
The Central Ground Water Board has been designated as an Authority for regulation and control of ground water management and development.
Greater Kochi region of Kerala has also been included for Carrying Capacity based Regional Planning studies.
A life cycle assessment study in the steel sector has been initiated with joint funding from identified steel plants.
Prevention and Control of Pollution
Under the Scheme for "Adoption of Clean Technologies in Small Scale Industries", several training and awareness programmes and workshops were organised and a number of guidelines, manuals etc, were brought out.
Three hundred waste minimisation measures have been identified by the 15 Waste Minimisation Circles that have been established so far.
Out of the 1551 large and medium industries identified in the 17 categories of highly polluting industries, 1261 have installed the requisite pollution control facilities, 125 have been closed down and 165 are in the process of installing the pollution control facilities.
As a result of notices issued by the SPCBs and PCCs to 2137 units which do not have requisite effluent treatment systems, 106 have set up such system, 480 units have been closed, down, and 1457 units are to be closed and 94 units have been recommended extension of time.
Two private environmental laboratories were recognised during the year under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
Around 680 complaints relating to all types of pollution were received and attended to.
"A White Paper on Pollution in Delhi with an Action Plan" prepared during the year was approved in principle by the Union Cabinet in Nov. 1997.
An Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority for the National Capital Region has been constituted.
Phase II of the programme for introduction of unleaded petrol has been notified by the Ministry of Surface Transport on 19.2.98. Besides the capitals of all states and UTs, several major towns of the country will also have unleaded petrol from 1.6. 1998.
Stricter emission norms for new vehicles effective from 1.4.2000 have also been notified by the Ministry of Surface Transport on 28.8.1997.
The Government of NCT of Delhi has brought out an instruction on 11.8.97 for imposing restrictions on all commercial vehicles in Delhi, including phasing out of old commercial vehicles, in a time- bound programme beginning from April, 1998.
An initiative has been taken to develop Environment Management Plans for the 23 metropolitan cities of the country.
Central Pollution Control Board
Assessment of pollution loads in 26 identified stretches of medium and minor rivers of six states of the country has been undertaken by the CPCB for the National River Conservation Directorate.
About 29 fragile coastal areas of the country have been identified for compiling baseline data to manage them scientifically.
The ambient air quality of Delhi continued to be monitored at six locations. Routine sampling and analysis of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in the ambient air of Delhi indicates that vehicular traffic, thermal power plants and open burning of garbage are the major sources of these chemicals in the atmosphere of Delhi.
The pilot studies on preparation of Zoning Atlas for siting of industries taken up in 19 districts in 1995 have been extended to 36 districts during 97-98.
Under the Programme of Mapping Environmentally Sensitive Zones and Industrial Sites-State wise, 11 more states have been taken up during the year.
Questionnaire surveys were conducted for estimating the sanitation status and the status of municipal solid waste generation and management in the 299 class I cities of the country.
Inspection of 66 hospitals of Delhi were carried out to study hospital waste Management.
Hazardous Substances Management
Under the scheme 'Hazard analysis survey of industrial pockets' eight more studies have been initiated during the year.
A demand note for Rs. 40 lakh has been served on the erring industries in Bichhri, Rajasthan for remediation of the 320 hectare contamination due to indiscriminate disposal of hazardous wastes.
India participated in the 4th conference of parties to the Basel Convention held in Feb. 1998 at Kuching, Malaysia.
An antidote data bank is being developed by the National Poison Information Centre, set up by the Ministry at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.
The 'Rule for Manufacture, Use, Export and Storage of Hazardous Micro-organisms, Genetically Engineered Micro-organisms or Cells, 1989' are being amended.
Draft rules for better treatment and disposal of biomedical wastes, have been issued on 6th October, 1997 and comments from the public are being received.
Amendments to the Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989 are being proposed.
A Notification banning import of wastes containing Beryllium, Selenium, Chromium (Hexavalent), Thallium, pesticides, herbicides and insecticides and their intermediates/residues, either as constituents or contaminants has been issued on 15.4.1997.
The National Plastic Waste Management Task Force set up by the Ministry has submitted its report in August 1997. An Implementation Monitoring Committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of Chairman, CPCB.
The report on survey and assessment of Plastic Waste in India submitted by the National Productivity Council is being reviewed.
Regeneration and Development
National River Conservation Directorate
Out of the 261 schemes of pollution abatement sanctioned under Ganga Action Plan (GAP) Phase I, 253 schemes have been completed upto 31.3.98.
A total of 800 mld of sewage is being prevented from being discharged into the river under GAP - Phase I, as against the target of 873 mld.
The responsibility of operation and maintenance of assets created under GAP, Phase I, now rests solely with the State Governments of Bihar, U.P. and W.B.
A Standing Committee and a Project Advisory Committee have been constituted for reviewing the implementation of GAP, Phase I.
The National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) covers 141 towns located along 22 inter-state rivers in 14 States. The total cost of the schemes is Rs.2053.26 crores.
Under the Yamuna Action Plan, out of the 185 schemes proposed, 131 schemes have been sanctioned.
Under the Indo-Dutch Sanitation Project, a common conveyance and treatment system continued to be operated for about 175 tanneries at Jajmau in Kanpur. A Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) for a cluster of tanneries is proposed to be set up in Calcutta under GAP, Phase II.
National Afforestation and Eco-development Board
The guidelines of the three major plantation schemes of the National Afforestation and Eco-development Board (NAEB) viz. Integrated Afforestation and Eco- development Projects, Area Oriented Fuelwood and Fodder Project and Non Timber Forest Produce have been revised during the year.
The revised guidelines are reoriented towards
The four Eco-Task Forces of ex-servicemen funded by NAEB continued to work on afforestation, pasture development, soil and water conservation and other restorative works in their areas of deployment.
The seven Regional Centres of the NAEB located in Universities and other national level Institutions continued to assist the Board in implementing the various schemes throughout the country. These Centres also carried out problem-specific studies, evaluated the programmes in the field and organised various training programmes and workshops.
Under the three major research schemes viz., Man and Biosphere Programme, Environment Research Proaramme and the Action-oriented Research, Demonstration and Extension Programmes on Eastern and Western Ghats, a total no. of 24 new projects were sanctioned, 30 projects were completed and 183 projects were serviced during the year.
A project to review and prepare a comprehensive Environment Research Management Plan has been initiated under the World Bank assisted "Environmental Management Capacity Building Technical Assistance Project".
A delegation led by the Minister for Environment and Forests participated in the 3rd Conference of Parties (COP) to the Convention on Climate Change, held during Ist-10th December 1997 at Kyoto, Japan.
The G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development continued with its various projects and activities aimed at sustainable development of the Himalayan region.
Research under the National River Conservation Plan (NRCP)
The cost-effective sewage treatment technology developed by the Central Institute for Fresh Water Aquaculture, Bhubaneswar is proposed to be adopted in atleast one town each of the NRCP states.
The Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), Dehradun continued to co- ordinate, direct and oversee the research activities of the 11 research institutes/centres under its administrative control.
The thrust area of forestry research is on increasing productivity through genetic and silvicultural improvement, treatment of waste land, conservation of forest ecosystems, wood substitutes, tribal development and social forestry.
A National Forestry Research Plan is being developed.
The Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun continued to conduct research on the ecological, biological, socioeconomic and managerial aspects of wildlife conservation in various parts of the country.
The Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) continued with its research and extension activities relating to different aspects of ornithology and natural history during the year.
National Natural Resources Management System (NNRMS)
Two sub-committees viz. Technical and Financial sub-committee of NNRMS SC-B and Forestry sub- committee of NNRMS SC-B have been set up during the year to assist the Standing Committee on Bioresources and Environment (SC-B) in overseeing the implementation of the NNRMS scheme.
Education, Training and Information
Forestry Education, Training and Extension
The ICFRE, Dehradun continued to organise, direct and manage the activities related to forestry education, extension and training.
About 300 persons are pursuing research at the Forest Research Institute, Deemed University.
About 33 tested environment friendly technologies are available with the ICFRE for transfer.
The Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy, (IGNFA) continued to impart in-service professional training to IFS probationers. The Academy has so far trained 1757 IFS probationers and 228 foreign trainees.
The Directorate of Forest Education, Dehradun continued to control, co-ordinate and manage all the regular training courses of the State Forest Service and the Forest Range Officers of the Country.
The Indian Plywood Industries Research and Training Institute (IPIRTI), Bangalore continued with its training in saw milling and plywood.
The Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM), Bhopal continued with its activities in education, training, research and consultancy related to forest management.
Wildlife Education and training
The Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun continued to conduct the regular degree and diploma courses, long and short term training, courses, workshops, seminars etc., on various aspect of wildlife conservation and management.
Non-formal Environmental Education, Awareness and Training
The National Environmental Awareness Campaign - 1997 focussed on "Pollution Prevention and Control" and "Conservation and Plantation of Trees for Environmental Protection". Twenty-eight Regional Resource Agencies (RRAS) assisted the Ministry in conducting this campaign.
More than 4700 eco-clubs were funded through out the country under the scheme.
Paryavaran Vahinis have been constituted in 144 districts of the country so far.
Centres of Excellence
Besides the five Centres of Excellence set-up by the Ministry, support was also extended to two more centres during the year.
The Centre for Environment Education (CEE), Ahmedabad and the CPR Environment Education Centre (CPREEC) Chennai continued to organise activities aimed at creating environmental awareness among all sections of the society, especially students and teachers.
A regional office of CEE has been established at Pune and a Delhi Desk has also started functioning.
The CEE and CPREEC brought out a number of environmental educational resource materials for different target groups during the year.
The Centre for Ecological Sciences, Bangalore, continued to conduct research in front line areas of basic and applied ecology with special reference to the Western Ghats.
The Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems (CEMDE) Delhi pursued research on the ecological rehabilitation of degraded ecosystems.
The Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (TBGRI), Thiruvananthapuram has been designated as a Centre of Excellence for conservation and sustainable utilisation of tropical plant diversity.
National Museum of Natural History (NMNH)
The NMNH continued to promote non-formal environmental education and create conservation awareness among the people through various in-house and out-reach activities.
The Regional Museum of Natural History, Bhopal was inaugurated by the Minister of Environment and Forests on 29th September 1997.
Fellowships and Awards
The Pitamber Pant National Environment Fellowship Award - 1997 has been awarded to Dr. (Mrs.) Archana Sharma, University of Calcutta.
The B.P. Pal National Environment Fellowship Award for Bio-diversity for the year 1997 has been given to Shri S. John Joseph of the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai.
Two ENVIS Centres, one on "Wildlife" and the other on "Panchayati Raj and Environment" have been set up at the WII, Dehradun and the Indian Environment Society, New Delhi respectively. The ENVIS network thus consists of 24 network partners.
The ENVIS network responded to a total number of 10,302 queries during the year, of which 9497 were national and 805 were international.
A quarterly Newsletter titled 'ENVIRO NEWS' has been published during the year to disseminate information about the various policies, programmes, -rules and regulations announced by die Ministry from time to tiine. The ENVIS Centre at 'Development Alternatives' is publishing this Newsletter on behalf of the Ministry.
A Web Site and Home Page of the Ministry have been created and can be browsed at http://www.nic.in/envfor.
Under the UNDP and IDRC assisted, "Sustainable Development Networking. Programme' (SDNP), SDNP secretariat has started functioning in the Ministry during the year.
All the ENVIS Centres continued with their activities related to collection, collation, storage, retrieval and dissemination of information in their respective subject areas.
Legislation and Institution Support
The National Environment Appellate Authority Act, 1997 which was granted presidential assent on 26th March 1997 has come into force from 9.4.97.
As per the provisions of this Act, the National Environment Appellate Authority has been set up.
Setting up of tribunal benches under the National Environmental Tribunal Act at New Delhi, Chennai and Calcutta are under process.
Notifications relating to EIA and CRZ have been amended during the year.
A MoU has been signed between the Ministry and the National Law School of India University, Bangalore for implementing the Environmental Law component of the World bank assisted "India Environment Management Capacity Building Technical Assistance Project"
Out of a total of 6624 cases filed by the CPCB and SPCBs under the Water and Air Acts, 2947 cases have been decided and the rest are pending in various courts of the country.
Approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) was accorded to the World Bank assisted "India Environment Management Capacity Building Tecliffical Assistance Project" during August 1997.
A delegation led by the Minister for Environment and Forests participated in the UN General Assembly's Special Session held in June 1997 at New York
A South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) Environment Ministers Meeting was hosted by India during 2nd-3rd April 1997.
The first ever Global Environment Facility (GEF) Assembly meet, hosted by India was held at the Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi during 1-3rd April 1998.
Seven projects from India have been approved for GEF funding.
The Ministry has signed the Programme Support Document under the Country Co-operation Framework-I with the UNDP during the year.
A bi-monthly newsletter on ozone issues is being published by the Ozone Cell of the Ministry to disseniinate information on ODS phase out to industry and others.
The Solvent Options Committee and the Agents Task Force held meetings in India interacted with Indian industry.
The Reserve Bank of India has issued instructions to all commercial banks prohibiting finance or refinance of new investments with Ozone Depleting Substance (ODS) technologies.
Fifty two projects have been approved for India by the Multilateral Fund during 1997.
Phase II of the World Bank aided Industrial Population Control Project is being implemented.
Administration, Plan Co-ordination and Budget
Under IFS cadre management, cadre review revising the strength and composition of the Sikkim cadre was carried out during the year. The inter-se seniority of 1988, 1989 and 1990 batches have been finalised during the year.
A total of 373 Parliament Questions relating to various aspects of environment and forests were answered during the year.
Work measurement studies of the Pay and Accounts Offices of the Botanical and Zoological Surveys of India, Calcutta were completed during the year.
Thirteen offices under the Ministry were inspected during the year to ensure effective implementation of the Official Language Policy.
Civil Construction Unit (CCU)
The CCU of the Ministry has taken up 90 major works so far with a total estimated cost of Rs. 136.72 crores.
At present the CCU has 99 works totalling Rs. 789 crores at hand and 35 more works are under planning stage.
Plan Co-ordination and Budget
The Budget Allocation of the Ministry for 97-98 was Rs. 543.7 crores against Rs. 469.4 crores for 96-97.
The total outlay for the Ministry for 98-99 is Rs 654.09 crores.