Right from survey of flora, fauna, forests and wildlife to ensuring the welfare of animals, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate has played an important role in the implementation of India's environmental and forestry policies and programmes.
Key initiatives taken up by the ministry includes- increase in forest cover, better pollution monitoring and control, 2000 approvals unlocking Rs. 10 lakh crore of investment and a job potential of 10 lakh, reducing project approval period from 600 to 190 days through standardisation, decentralisation, transparent processes and policy decisions and protecting India's interest at COP 21 in Paris.
Initiatives for environment protection
- India declared its INDCs in the run to COP-21 at Paris in December 2015.
- The third countrywide assessment of the status of tigers, co-predators and their prey, released in January, 2015 using the refined methodology as recommended by the Tiger Task Force.
- The findings indicate a countrywide 30% increase in tiger numbers in 2014 with an estimated number of 2,226 (range 1945-2491), as compared to 2010 estimation  (range 1520-1909 tigers).
Creating green assets
India is one of the few countries of the world, where forest cover is on the rise. The total Forest and Tree cover of the country as per 2015 assessment in the state of Forest Report is 794,245 sq km (79.42 million ha) which is 24.16 per cent of the geographical area of the country. There is an increase of 3,775 sq km in the forest cover of the country as compared to the previous 2013 assessment.
Increase in Forest and tree cover is significant in view of the fact that forests continue to meet around 30% of total requirement of fuel wood i.e. the primary source of energy and 40% of fodder consuming livestock's are dependent on fodder completely or partially comes from forests. The remaining requirement of fuel wood is largely met from plantation (tree outside forest) and other sources.
Compensatory Afforestation for Forest Conservation
In 2016, Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act (CAMPA), 2016 was passed by Parliament to ensure expeditious and transparent utilization of compensatory levies realized in lieu of forest land diverted for non-forest purpose, which presently is of the order of about Rs. 49,000 crore. The National Mission for a Green India (GIM), one of the eight Missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change aims at protecting and enhancing India's forest cover. In FY 2015-16, an amount of Rs.7,009.09 lakh were sanctioned under GIM to seven States namely Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Karnataka, Manipur, Kerala, Punjab and Uttarakhand for carrying out advance/preparatory works.
National Air Quality Index
- Launched on October 17, 2014 to monitor the quality of air in major urban centres across the country on a real-time basis.
Waste management rules notified
- On March 24, 2018, the Government amended the Bio-medical Waste Management Rules, 2016 vide Notification G.S.R. 234(E) dated March 16, 2018. The Rules have been amended to improve compliance and strengthen the implementation of environmentally sound management of biomedical waste. Similarly, the Government has also amended the E-Waste Management Rules 2016 vide notification G.S.R. 261(E), dated March 22, 2018.
- On March 18, 2016, Government notified Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. Earlier, the draft rules, namely the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2015 were published by the Government of India on May 25, 2015.
- On March 23, 2016, the E-Waste Management Rules, 2016 were notified. For the first time, the Rules brought the producers under Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), along with targets. The draft E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2015 had been notified for public consultation vide GSR No. 472 (E) dated 10 June 2015. New Bio-medical Waste Management Rules were notified on March 27, 2016. The rules mandated bar code system for proper control.
- Construction & Demolition Waste Management Rules notified for the first time. Under the Rules, duties have been separately earmarked for waste generators, service providers and contractors, state government and local authorities, CPCB and SPCBs and duties of concerned Central ministries.
- Revised Hazardous Waste Management Rules were notified on April 3, 2016 to ensure resource recovery and disposal of hazardous waste in an environment-friendly way. For the first time, rules made to distinguish between hazardous waste and other wastes.
- Solid Waste Management Rules were notified on April 5, 2016 after 16 years.
- States have also agreed to implement the new Waste Management Rules notified by the Ministry in March-April 2016.
National clean air programme
- Air pollution has increasingly been becoming a serious concern, predominantly for health of the people. The impact of air pollution is not limited to health, but it gets extended to agriculture and general well-being of human, floral and faunal population.
- The government has formulated National Clean Air Program (NCAP) as a long-term, time bound national level strategy to tackle the increasing air pollution problem across the country in a comprehensive manner at total tentative cost of Rs. 637 Crore.
- Overall objective of the NCAP is comprehensive management plan for prevention, control and abatement of air pollution besides augmenting the air quality-monitoring network across the country.
- City specific air pollution abatement action plan for 100 polluting cities of the country.
- Guidelines for Indoor Air Pollution and setting up of Rural Monitoring stations not address till date as some of the key components under NCAP
- Focus on intensive awareness, training and capacity building drive, with specific impetus on augmentation of manpower and infrastructure facilities of CPCB and SPCB under the capacity building component of NCAP.
- Acknowledging the role of science, technology, engineering and innovation in addressing the environmental challenges with focus on India's strive towards sustainable development Technologies with potential for air pollution mitigation will be supported under the NCAP.
- Setting up of an effective multi-layered institutional framework for the successful implementation of targets towards air pollution abatement under the NCAP.
- Since air pollution mitigation necessitates collaborative efforts, the success of NCAP is expected to be determined by stakeholder participation and contribution. Accordingly, there is a need for consultation with various stakeholders viz. state government, relevant ministries, institutes, academic institutions, industries etc before launching the same.
- The approved NCAP has already been shared with state government and some additional stakeholder consultations are being planned during ensuing weeks before WED, 2018 on 5th June for evolving NCAP and related implementation strategy on the basis of experiences of state govt and other stakeholders prior to its launch on 5th June 2018, coinciding with the World Environment Day.
Green skill development programme
- Initiative under the ENVIS scheme for skilling the youth in the country.
- 5 Lakh 60 thousand people to be imparted training between 2018-19 and 2020-21.
1. The Green Skill Development Programme (GSDP) developed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) under the ENVIS Scheme is a new initiative to skill youth in environment, forest and wildlife sectors and enabling them to be gainfully employed or self-employed.
It was launched in June, 2017 on a pilot basis at 10 locations, spread over 9 bio-geographic regions of the country, with a Basic Course and Advanced Course of 3 months' duration each, to skill the youth as Biodiversity Conservationists and Para-taxonomists respectively.
Under the pilot of GSDP, 94 Trainees successfully completed the basic course qualifying as skilled Biodiversity Conservationists and 152 students completed the Advance Course on Para-taxonomy. BSI and ZSI were the nodal centres for the pilot program.
2. With the success of the pilot, the scope of the program is being extended to an all India level covering other green skills, which include areas such as Pollution Monitoring (Air/ Water/ Noise/ Soil), ETP Operation, Waste Management, Forest Management, Water Budgeting & Auditing, Conservation of River Dolphins, Wildlife Management, Marine Taxonomy & Coastal Biodiversity, Mangroves Conservation, Bamboo Management & Livelihood Generation, etc.
All the courses are being forwarded to National Skill Development Agency (NSDA) for aligning with the National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF) of Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship.
Consequently, a whole pool of skilled resources in the form of Nature/Eco-tourist Guides/ Biodiversity Conservationists/ Para taxonomists/ Pollution Monitors/ETP Operators/Waste Management Specialists/Marine Taxonomist/ Wildlife Management Specialists etc. would be available to be employed in associated sectors. In the first stage, a pool of Master Trainers is being created who would further train the youth across the country.