ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Opaqueness of Environmental Information in India

The poor record of public and private sector industries across sectors to submit the mandatory environmental information on an annual basis reveals the shortcomings of the existing environmental regulatory process. This article attempts to evaluate the current status of firm level environmental information available with the regulators and suggests some measures to streamline, standardise, and strengthen the current regulatory system to enable better compliance by firms.

 
 

The National Environmental Policy, 2006 highlights the importance of access to information in creating awareness amongst “environmentally conscious stakeholders” for evaluating “compliance by the concerned parties with environmental standards.” The stakeholders would thereby be enabled to stimulate necessary enforcement actions and motivate firms to comply with regulations. The information is also important for policymakers to monitor and enforce regulations across sectors.

It is important to note that the industrial pollution has been growing at a much faster rate than gross domestic product (GDP), which is mainly due to an increase in the share of polluting industries in the post liberalisation era (Sinha 2010). The industries contribute about 15% to the GDP; however, they contribute significantly to the pollution as well and account for 45% of the total commercial energy consumption in the country (de la Rue du Can et al 2009). The industrial and power generation sectors contribute in the range of 20%–40% to urban air pollution, and the industrial units which are located in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh (UP), Bihar, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh (MP) are the most polluting (ADB and CAI-Asia 2006). The iron and steel industry contributes 55% of the particulate matter load, while adding 16% to the total industrial output in the country (Singhal nd).

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