Mongabay series: Hewing The Regulatory Tree

India has multiple laws, rules, policies, and guidelines to protect its environment, forests, wildlife and biodiversity. These regulations together provide the legislative framework to authorities at the federal, state, district or village level to govern them. Taken together, all these regulations resemble a large tree that encompasses all sectors and issues directly or indirectly related to the environmental sector. Strict implementation of these regulations, however, is increasingly being considered a roadblock to industrial and developmental projects securing green clearances. In such a scenario, successive governments irrespective of their ideology, have consistently made efforts to streamline and simplify the procedures to make the process quicker. However, legal experts and those closely tracking the field note that simplifying the procedures is nothing but watering down of the green laws. They point out that the dilutions of the country’s green laws are akin to hewing the regulatory tree of India’s green laws. Every dilution in the laws is similar to an axe cutting the tree in the name of getting rid of deadwood. Through this series, Mongabay-India is documenting how the regulatory changes are being brought in and what the changes actually mean. Our stories from around the country string together the decisions made in closed rooms and their impact on the ground. Through this project, we also chronicle instances where governments attempt to undo the efforts of courts that quashed environmental policy dilutions.

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