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New green ministry puts climate change on top of agenda

 India has never been on a denial mode over the devastating effects of climate change and always called for steps to deal with global warming. This stand will now get new impetus under the new government- evident from the new nomenclature that the green ministry has got. The ministry of 'environment and forests' is now ministry of 'environment, forests and climate change', signaling the importance of the issue at the time when India is expected to play a key role in reaching a global climate deal in Paris next year. BJP leader Prakash Javadekar will formally take charge of the ministry this week as a minister of state (independent charge).

 

Javadekar's past association with GLOBE India (Global Legislators' Organisation for Balanced Environment) is likely to be handy for him while dealing with the issue of climate change in the ministry. GLOBE India - country chapter of GLOBE International - is a cross-party group of legislators, working to play critical role in guiding public policy on environment and develop laws on climate change. Javadekar's task is cut out as the new government is expected to bring in second-generation reforms which may take care of environment without compromising on economic development and rights of local communities.

 

The ministry will also have to immediately come out with an institutional set-up - national environment regulator - to streamline regulatory procedures as desired by the Supreme Court. At present, green issues are being handled by a number of authorities at the Centre and state levels which are separately responsible for various types of clearances- be it environmental, forest, wildlife, coastal and air\water pollution.

 

 Times of India, Delhi, Tuesday 28th May 2014