‘Compliance’ is one of the least dwelt upon topic in the environmental discourses of the country. Although in May this year, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has indicated ‘that its focus over the next three years will be on compliance of rules and laws’, challenges such as lack of human resources, limited reach on the ground and other constraints continue to remain unaddressed.
A new study by Centre for Policy Research (CPR) and Namati Environmental Justice Program looks at the efficacy of conditional compliance, institutional monitoring and enforcement of environmental regulation to address the impacts faced by communities living around industrial and infrastructure projects. The study titled ‘How Effective are Environmental Regulations to Address Impacts of Industrial and Infrastructure Projects in India?’ is a compilation of case studies on efforts by communities to obtain administrative remedies in the face of environmental impacts, mapping of relevant administrative and regulatory bodies responsible for addressing environmental and social non compliances and drafting findings to ‘socialize compliance.’
The study advocates for ‘community based research methods’ to reduce dependence on experts to ensure compliance which in its current understanding is considered only a regulatory task. It identifies the institutions responsible for monitoring and compliance under various environmental laws and their procedures and practices. Hitherto, affected communities in various places of the country have been engaging with these institutions to seek mitigation of impacts of various kinds such as damage to common property, loss of livelihoods and loss of access to public spaces.
By analysing the efforts made by affected parties to engage with environmental institutions to craft remedies for existing environmental impacts, this research aims to highlight regulatory ingredients that are necessary for sound environment regulation and better outcomes through compliance.