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INSTITUTIONAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN INDIA


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INTEGRATED DECISION-MAKING

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

In India, the National Environmental Council is the key sustainable development coordination mechanism. The Council, chaired by the Prime Minister, is the highest policy making body on environmental issues. The Council consists of senior representatives of Central Ministries, Chief Ministers of States, representatives of Non-Governmental groups, distinguished scientists, and academics.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

India's development objectives as reflected in the planning process have consistently emphasized the promotion of policies and programmes for economic growth and social welfare. The alleviation of poverty and the development of the country's economic and social infrastructure have been emphasized in the country's successive Five Year Plans. Investment resources were targeted to ensure the realization of these concerns. Environmental issues which have been an integral part of Indian thought and social processes are reflected in the Constitution of the Republic of India adopted in 1950.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Directive Principles of State Policy enunciate principles which, though not enforceable by any Court, are nevertheless fundamental in the governance of the country. It is the duty of the State to apply these principles in legislation. The commitment of the State to protect environment and safeguard forests and wildlife is reflected by specific provisions in the Directive Principles of State Policy. Further, the Constitution states that it shall be the fundamental duty of every citizen to protect and improve the natural environment, including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures. By a 1976 Constitutional amendment, the subject of forests and wildlife was brought under the Concurrent List in the Seventh Schedule, thereby enabling Parliament and the Central Government to legislate on these subjects. The roots of the growing trend towards popular participation in the conservation and natural resource development programmes lie in these Constitutional provisions.

The National Conservation Strategy and Policy Statement on Environment and Development, adopted in June, 1992, provide the basis for the integration and internalization of environmental considerations in the policies and programmes of different sectors. It also emphasizes sustainable lifestyles, and the proper management and conservation of resources. The policy statement announced by the Government in 1992 on Abatement of Pollution reiterates the Government's commitment to arrest deterioration of the environment. The statement reflects a shift in focus from problems to implementation of measures incorporating both short-term and long-term considerations. The statement recognizes that pollution particularly affects the poor. The complexities are considerable given the number of industries, organizations, and government bodies involved. To achieve the objectives, maximum use is made of a mix of instruments including legislation and regulation, fiscal incentives, voluntary agreements, educational programmes, and information campaigns.

Enabling people to identify their own strengths and weaknesses and equipping them with the necessary skills and capabilities is an important step in their empowerment. Voluntary action helps this process. Traditionally, voluntary organizations have played an important role in India. The Eighth Five Year Plan had identified people's initiative and participation as a key element in the process of development. It had also recognized that the role of the Government should be to facilitate and strengthen the process of involvement of major groups by creating the right types of institutional infrastructure.

The Ninth Five Year Plan (1997-2002) is being launched in the 50th year of India's Independence. The objectives of the Ninth Plan arising from the Common Minimum Programme of the Government are as follows: priority to agriculture and rural development with a view to generating adequate productive employment and eradication of poverty; accelerating the growth rate of the economy with stable prices; ensuring food and nutritional security for all, particularly the vulnerable sections of society; providing the basic minimum services of safe drinking water, primary health care facilities, universal primary education, shelter, and connectivity to all in a time-bound manner; containing the growth rate of population; ensuring environmental sustainability of the development process through social mobilization and participation of people at all levels; empowerment of women and socially disadvantaged groups such as Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and other backward classes and minorities as agents of socioeconomic change and development; promoting and developing participatory institutions like Panchayati Raj institutions, cooperatives, and self-help groups; and strengthening efforts to build self-reliance.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

There are over 10,000 NGOs in India ranging from National agencies to local groups, from research organizations to mass-based field organizations. Many of these are engaged in promoting eco-development, waste management, forest conservation, preservation of genetic diversity, and eco-friendly technologies in industry and agriculture. Voluntary agencies have developed a variety of innovative approaches that could help secure the involvement of local communities, particularly the poorer sections, in various developmental activities. Voluntary organizations have largely been responsible for ensuring the better delivery of rural services that include drinking water facilities, sanitation, road development programmes, etc. The costs of providing basic services have consequently been reduced due to the successful mobilization of local resources at low cost for implementation of development programmes. The Council for Advancement of People's Action and Rural Technology (CAPART) is the agency for financing and assisting voluntary action in the area of rural development.

The adoption of the 72nd and 73rd Constitutional Amendments in 1992 by Parliament is a landmark event in the lives of Indian women, as they are assured one-third of the total seats in all elected offices in local bodies both in rural and urban areas. As a result of this, women have been brought to the centre-stage in the nation's efforts to strengthen democratic institutions at the grassroots levels and to enter into public life through 2,30,000 local bodies all over the country.

Programmes and Projects   

The need to integrate the environment and development decision making process has been recognized as contributing to economically efficient, socially equitable, and responsible environmental management. More extensive use of analytical tools, such as environmental impact assessment (EIA) and environmental health impact assessment (EHIA) on strategic policies and development programmes which have an adverse effect on environment or on human health, environmental risk assessment (ERA) of industrial units, and environmental audit (EA) to increase efficiency in the use of energy and resources and reduce wastes can contribute to policy integration by making decision makers aware of the environmental consequences of their actions.

A very far-reaching notification by the Ministry of Environment and Forests gazetted in 1994 makes it obligatory for almost all development activities, small and large, to conduct an environmental impact assessment study which has to be evaluated and assessed by an impact assessment agency (Ministry of Environment and Forests) who may consult a Committee of Experts, if deemed necessary. The assessment shall be completed within a period of 90 days and the decision on the approval conveyed within 30 days after completion of public hearings when required. No developmental activity can be taken up unless the conditions stipulated under the respective environmental and forestry clearance have been complied with. Environmental protection cannot be isolated from the general issues of development and must be viewed as an integral part of development efforts. Accordingly, the concept of sustainable development must include the fostering of economic growth, the meeting of basic domestic needs (including health, nutrition, education, housing, etc.), and the eradication of poverty so as to provide to all a life of dignity in a clean, safe, and healthy environment. Stress needs to be placed equally on the "development" and "sustainable" dimensions of the concept of sustainable development. The integration of environmental concepts into policies and programmes concerning economic development should be carried out without introducing a new form of conditionality in aid or development financing. Having achieved substantial progress in terms of software and hardware requirements, the emphasis from now on should be on enforcement and performance evaluation of assets created. A monitoring mechanism will, therefore, need to be reoriented in the case of major projects and programmes to achieve this objective.

Status 

India is of the view that there is no conflict between environment and development. Various efforts have been made to integrate environmental concerns into the decision making process. Environmental standards and environmental management plans are important measures taken to protect the environment. The same applies to environment audits which are being made mandatory for major industries.


An important element of sustainability pertains to the protection of the environment and preservation of the natural resource base of the nation. Rapidly growing population; urbanization; changing agricultural, industrial, and water resource management; and increasing use of pesticides and fossil fuels have all resulted in perceptible deterioration in the quality and sustainability of the environment. It should be realized that environmental protection does not only involve a prevention of pollution and of natural resource degradation, but has to be integrated with the overall development process and the well-being of people.

 

National Decision-Making Structure

1.National Sustainable Development Coordination Body: YES
2.National Sustainable Development Policy: YES
3.National Agenda 21/other strategy for SD: IN PROCESS
4.Local/Regional Agenda(s) 21: NO
5.Environmental Impact Assessment Law: YES
6.Major Groups involved in Sustainable Development Decision-Making: YES

National Instruments and Programmes

1.Sustainable. Dev. or Environmental education incorporated into school curricula: YES
2.Sustainable Development Indicators Program: YES
3.Ecolabel Regulations: YES
4.Recycle/Reuse Programs: YES
5.Green Accounting Program: YES - Municipalities
6.Access to Internet: YES
7.Access to World Wide Web: YES
8.A national World Wide Web Site for Sustainable Dev. or State of the Environment: YES
Internet address http://www.nic.in/envfor

Policies, Programmes, and Legislation

1.Combatting poverty: YES
2.Changing consumption and production patterns: YES
3.Atmosphere: YES
4.Land Use Planning: YES
5.Forest and Deforestation: YES
6.Desertification and Drought: YES
7.Sustainable Mountain Development: YES
8.Sustainable Agriculture: YES
9.Biological Diversity: YES
10.Biotechnology: YES
11.Oceans and Coastal Areas: YES
12.Freshwater Management: YES
13.Toxic Chemicals: YES
14.Hazardous Wastes: YES
15.Solid Wastes: YES
16.Radioactive Wastes: YES
17.Energy: YES
18.Transport: YES
19.Sustainable Tourism: YES

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

In India, the need for community participation in development activities has been fully appreciated and recognized. It is realized that developmental activities undertaken with the active participation of major groups have a greater chance of success and can also be more cost effective. In the area of education, health, family planning, land improvement, efficient land use, minor irrigation, watershed management, recovery of wastelands, afforestation, animal husbandry, dairy and sericulture, considerable progress has been achieved by creating institutions for people and encouraging community participation.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests has instituted "Paryavaran Vahinis" from 1992-93 with the basic objective of creating environmental awareness through people's participation. In addition, 3,000 eco-clubs have been set up in schools with the Ministry's assistance.

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

* * * 

 

This information is based on India's Report to the 5th and 7th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: February 1999

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MAJOR GROUPS

WOMEN

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

India believes that gender issues cannot be solely left to market forces and remain the responsibility of both National governments and the international community. Gender equity is a necessary pre-condition for fulfillment of the goals agreed to at the Beijing Conference. India's Constitution and legal framework uphold the dignity and status of women and seek to create an environment where empowerment is facilitated. A National Commission for Women has been established and the National Human Rights Commission has the mandate to examine human rights issues involving women. A Commissioner for Women's Rights has also been appointed. Special cells for preventing crime against women are also available. The Equal Remuneration Act stipulates payment of equal remuneration to men and women workers for work of equal value. The Act also prohibits any gender discrimination in recruitment and service conditions. The 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Bills, adopted in 1992 by Parliament to strengthen the Panchayati Raj System (the system of self-governance at the local level both in rural and urban areas), provide that a third of all elected offices in local bodies (rural and urban) are reserved for women.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The concept of women's development in the initial Five Year Plans was mainly welfare oriented. In the Fifth Plan (1974-79), however, there was a shift in the approach towards women from 'welfare' to 'development'. The new approach aimed at an integration of welfare with developmental services. The Sixth Plan (1980-85), adopted a multi-disciplinary approach with a three-pronged thrust on health, education, and employment. In the Seventh Plan (1985-90), the developmental programmes for women continued with the major objectives of raising their economic and social status and to integrate them better with mainstream National development. The Eighth Plan (1992-97), promises to ensure that the benefits of development from different sectors specifically benefit women, and that these programmes be implemented to complement the overall programme. Women must be enabled to function as equal partners and participants in the development process. This approach marks a shift from 'development' to 'empowerment'.

The Ninth Plan (1997-2002), with the empowerment of women as one of its major objectives, will create an enabling environment with requisite policies and programmes, legislative support, exclusive institutional mechanisms at various levels, and adequate financial and human resources to achieve this objective. An integrated approach will be adopted towards empowering women. This underscores the harmonization of various efforts on different fronts, that is, social, economic, legal, and political. Further, a special strategy of earmarking funds as 'women's component' will also be adopted with a close vigil to ensure an adequate share of resources and benefits for women from all developmental sectors both in the Central and State Sectors. To this effect, the Ninth Plan recommends prompt adoption of the formulated National Policy for Empowering Women along with a well defined Gender Development Index to monitor the impact of its implementation in raising the status of women. During the Ninth Plan, a Media Policy will be framed to project a positive image of the girl child and women. A strict ban on the depiction of demeaning, degrading, negative, and conventional stereotypical images of women and violence against women will be enforced through legislation, regulatory mechanisms, and media policies.

Two new initiatives were launched for women during the Eighth Plan. The first, Mahila Samridhi Yojana (MSY) launched in 1993, attempts to promote the habit of savings. The second scheme, the National Credit Fund for women called Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK), was set up in March 1993 to meet the credit needs of poor women and particularly those in the unorganized sector, who would otherwise have difficult access to formal institutional credit instruments. Within a short span of three years, the RMK had sanctioned extended credit limits of Rs. 260 million to 129 NGOs for its further lending to individuals. This will benefit over 136,000 women. Out of this amount, Rs. 162.2 million has already been disbursed

Some of the other activities undertaken during the Eighth Plan include, adopting a National Plan of Action for children and the girl child; establishing the National Creche Fund for child care services; adopting a National Nutrition Policy (1993); and integrating the Child Development Service (ICDS). ICDS is a major programme for the provision of nutrition needs for mother and child. This scheme covers the welfare of children below the age of six and expectant and lactating mothers.

India is committed to increase investment on education to 6% of GDP, with the major focus on women and the girl child. The Government is committed to universal mother and child care programmes to reach out to every corner of the country. Efforts will be made to fulfil the goal 'Education for Women's Equality' as laid down in the revised 1992 National Policy on Education (NPE).

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Considering the strong impact of environmental factors on the sustenance and livelihood of women, full participation of women will be ensured in the conservation and protection of the environment. Further, women will be involved and their perspectives reflected in the policies and programmes of eco-system and natural resources management.

Programmes and Projects   

With a view to making women economically independent and self-reliant, a number of interventions have been launched. The Support to Training and Employment Programme (STEP) seeks to train women for employment in the traditional sectors of agriculture, animal husbandry, dairy, handlooms, handicrafts, etc. Launched in 1987, STEP has benefitted more than 250,000 women. A budget of Rs. 160 million has been made available for STEP during the year 1996-97.

The Mahila Samridhi Yojana (MSY), a central sector scheme, was launched on October 2, 1993. This scheme not only inculcates the habit of thrift amongst rural women but also gives them possession and control over their household resources. The scheme has received an overwhelming response from all over the country. Up to September 1996, a total of about 20 million MSY Accounts have been opened with total deposits amounting to over Rs. 2 billion

Economic empowerment of women is mainly based on their participation in decision making processes with regard to raising and distributing resources; that is incomes, investments, and expenditure at all levels. The entire effort of empowering women is to help them exercise their rights in decision making at all levels and in every sphere, within and outside the household, as equal partners in society. Efforts will be made to enhance women's capacity to earn, have access to, and control/ownership of all family/community assets. In support of women in the informal sector, Rashtriya Mahila Kosh will be further strengthened/expanded to extend both 'forward' and 'backward' linkages of credit and marketing facilities.

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

Application of science and technology is vital for the advancement of women. Technology will reduce household drudgery and provide better working conditions for women, particularly in rural areas. Emphasis will be given to the improvement of the environment and quality of life of women at an affordable cost.

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women was signed by India in 1993.

India endorsed the three priority themes of equality, development, and peace from the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995, and believes that economic independence and equality in tandem, would create the necessary environment for the realization of the full potential of women. India also endorsed the Commission on the Status of Women as the most appropriate mechanism to fulfil this task. A National mechanism to monitor the implementation of the Platform of Action of the Beijing Conference has been instituted. India believes that National commitments must be complemented by commitments at the international level.

* * * 

This information was provided by the Government of India to the 5th session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

Click here for information in the 1997 Economic Survey on the Development of Women and Children.
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CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Convention on the Rights of the Child ratified by India in 1992 is the guiding principle for formulating policies and programmes of child development. In addition, the existing National Policy For Children (1974) is being suitably reviewed.

India has always followed a pro-active policy for tackling the problems of child labour. The present regime of child labour laws has a pragmatic foundation consistent with the International Labour Conference Resolution of 1979 which called for a combination of prohibitory and mitigating measures. The policy of the Government is to ban employment of children below the age of 14 years in hazardous employments, and to regulate the working conditions of children in other employments. The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 seeks to achieve this objective.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Investment in child development is viewed not only as a desirable societal investment for the nation's future, but also as fulfillment of the rights of every child to 'survival, protection, and development' so as to achieve their full potential.
The thrust in youth affairs has been to involve youth in the entire range of the developmental process recognizing youth as a major resource in the task of nation building. Youth activities will continue to focus on environmental and health programmes such as greening of wastelands, solid waste management, anti-smoking campaigns, prevention of drug abuse, health education with emphasis on reproductive health and prevention of AIDS, population control, and various adventure activities.

The Government announced the National Child Labour Policy (NCLP) in August, 1987. The Action Plan under the Policy comprises: a legislative action plan; focusing of general development programmes to benefit child labour; and a project-based action plan in areas of high concentration of child labour. A major activity undertaken under the NCLP is the establishment of Special Schools to provide basic needs like non-formal education, pre-vocational training, and supplementary nutrition to the children withdrawn from employment.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

A significant programme for the development of children during the Eighth Five Year Plan (1992-97) has been the launching of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), one of the world's largest and unique programmes, which aims at providing an integrated package of health, nutrition, and educational services to children below six years, pregnant women, and nursing mothers. ICDS now covers 18.4 million children and 3.8 million mothers who are reached through 3,946 ICDS projects/342,000 Anganwadis. Out of this total, 755 projects are being implemented with the World Bank assistance in the pre-dominantly tribal and backward areas of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh. In 507 ICDS blocks, services such as health, nutrition, etc. have been extended to nearly 350,000 adolescent girls in the 11-18 year age group, particularly school drop-outs.

Some of the other activities undertaken include: a) adopting the National Plan of Action for children and the girl child; b) adopting the National Nutrition Policy (1993); c) establishing a National Creche Fund for child care services; d) providing creches for children of working/ailing mothers; e) the Balwadi Nutrition Programme; f) early childhood education through assistance to voluntary organizations; g) the Balsevika Training Programme; and h) assisting voluntary organizations in the field of women's welfare and child development. The scheme of day care centres is being implemented through the Central Social Welfare Board in order to provide day care services to children below 5 years and belonging to the weaker sections of society.

During the Ninth Five Year Plan (1997-2002), following the universal application of ICDS and the availability of basic minimum services for the overall development of the child, emphasis will be on consolidation and content enrichment of ICDS through adequate nutrition, supplemented with necessary health check-ups, immunization, and referral services. In this respect, priority will be accorded to the child below 2 years. To achieve this, ICDS will continue to be the mainstay of the Ninth Plan to promote all round development of the young child.

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

Major schemes undertaken during the Eighth Plan include the National Service Scheme (NSS) and Nehru Yuva Kendras (NYK). The NSS of Youth Affairs provides for the development of their personalities through community services. The programme has successfully incorporated activities which have a social orientation like literacy, environment enrichment, National integration, significance of community management of resources, etc. The NYK scheme aims at providing the rural and non-student youth with opportunities to take part in the process of National development in order to develop their own personality and skills. During 1992-95, the activities conducted include camps, vocational training, rural sports and games, rural cultural activities, youth club development programmes, functional literacy implementation, and a campaign on human survival value.

During the Ninth Plan, greater access will be given to rural and marginalized youth in the vocational training programmes of NYK by involving NGOs, self-help groups, and community polytechnics in the task. The thrust in sports will be on providing greater access to sport facilities through substantial investments in physical education, infrastructure development (including centres of sports physiology and sports medicine), and in creating widespread awareness for physical fitness through nutrition, health education, and yoga with special focus on school children. Area specific sports programmes, recognizing the traditional sports skills of the inhabitants especially tribal populations, will receive priority consideration. Rural sports programmes will be revamped in order to tap the vast talents available in the rural areas. Special attention will be accorded to the promotion of sports and games among the disabled. The need for a holistic approach that will integrate youth programmes within the context of education is well recognized and will guide all actions.

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

Voluntary agencies are being financially assisted up to 75% for taking on welfare projects for working children under a Grants-in-aid Scheme.

Cooperation  

No information is available

* * * 

This information was provided by the Government of India to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

 

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Constitution of India provides special privileges to Scheduled Tribe communities. The Constitution provides a reservation of 7.5% of vacancies for the Scheduled Tribes in the matters of employment and promotion. Tribal development in the Programme for Special Central Assistance (SCA) for Scheduled Tribes is an additive to State Plans for implementation various socioeconomic programmes for the welfare of Scheduled Tribes.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

An Action Plan incorporating total food and nutrition security, health coverage, education, and financial assistance in keeping with their socio-cultural conditions is being prepared by the Government. The Action Plan will have flexibility to cater to the specific needs of each Tribe and its environment.

During the Ninth Five Year Plan (1997-2002), a high priority will be accorded to empowering Scheduled Tribes, both economically and socially, to enable them to join the mainstream of National development. To this effect, efforts will be made to create an environment conducive to their being able to lead a life of freedom and dignity, exercising their rights and privileges like any other citizen in the country. The necessary legislative support for this purpose will be provided. The development of the Scheduled Tribes will be consistent with the concept of economic growth with social justice.

The Government will make efforts to minimize the gap that exists between these target groups and the rest of society by all round development, in both qualitative and quantitative terms, and by taking advantage of inputs from both governmental and non-governmental agencies. The Government will also make efforts to ensure that the tribal economy is protected and supported against threats from external markets. The ownership/patent rights of tribal people in respect to minor forest produce vis-a-vis the use of medicinal plants will be protected.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

The Centrally sponsored scheme of post-matric scholarship for Scheduled Tribe students has been modified from 1995, thereby revising the maintenance allowance rates, income ceiling for eligibility, and study charges. The restriction of providing benefits of the scheme to two children per family has been relaxed in the case of girl students pursuing correspondence courses and they are now eligible to get a book allowance in addition to earlier reimbursement of non-refundable fees.

Status   

The total population of the country is indigenous to India. However, about 7% of the people belong to tribal communities. The Tribal groups are backward both economically and socially. Existing development programmes have not been able to fully alleviate their condition.

The 1991 census shows that most of the Scheduled Tribe population living in rural areas have low levels of literacy and are employed mostly in the primary sector. A Special Component Plan (SCP) and Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP) have been designed to channel the flow of funds from various sectors of development under State/Central Plans to benefit the Scheduled Tribes and their socioeconomic development. These special plans are being monitored in the sectoral plans for education, health, family welfare, housing and urban development, and women and children to ensure better provision for disadvantaged tribal groups.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

A National Scheduled Tribes Finance and Development Corporation has been set up to accelerate economic growth and development for the members of the Scheduled Tribes. The Corporation provides funds at concessional rates for starting projects in, for example, agriculture and allied activities, horticulture, animal husbandry and dairy development, minor irrigation, small industries, trades and services, and transport.

Cooperation  

No information is available

* * * 

 

This information was provided by the Government of India to the 5th session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

 

NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

In India, the Eighth Five Year Plan has placed emphasis on people's participation and voluntary action in rural development. The role of voluntary agencies has been defined as providing a basis for innovation with new approaches and integrated development, ensuring feedback regarding impact of various programmes, and securing the involvement of local communities, particularly those below the poverty line.

All the programmes and activities in the social sector cannot be implemented by Government alone. The participation of the community and the efforts of voluntary organizations have always had a significant role in this sphere. Efforts have been made to strengthen the involvement of non-governmental and voluntary organizations which reach vast sections of the population, and promote community awareness and participation in various programmes. In many schemes, the various Ministries or Departments have been providing funds to non-governmental organizations for undertaking development activities related to drinking water, health, sanitation, education, and the environment, etc.

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

The Council for Advancement of People's Action and Rural Technology (CAPART) is the agency providing and assisting voluntary action in rural development. Its funds consist of grants from the Government of India. Programmes of the Ministry of Rural Areas and Employment, like the Employment Assurance Scheme (EAS), Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP), and Jawahar Rozgar Yojana (JRY), Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA), Training of Rural Youth for Self Employment (TRYSEM), Accelerated Rural Water Supply, Central Rural Sanitation Programme, are implemented by voluntary agencies through the assistance of CAPART. In addition, CAPART has taken initiatives in promoting a variety of activities for the transfer of technology, people's participation, development of markets for products of rural enterprises, and promotion of other developmental activities and delivery systems in the non-government sector.

To bring CAPART nearer to the people and to ensure closer interaction between it and voluntary organizations at the grassroots level, the functioning of CAPART has been decentralized to six regional centres. It is expected that this decentralization will not only result in improved efficiency and efficacy, but will also be successful in promoting, spreading, and strengthening the role of volunteer organizations in rural development.

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies  

No information is available

Financing  

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

 * * * 

This information was provided by the Government of India to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

 

LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

A decentralized approach to planning has been introduced in India through a system of Panchayati Raj and Nagar Palika (local self-governments of urban cities/ towns) institutions. With the enactment of the Constitution Amendment Act (1992), Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) have been revitalized and a process of democratic decentralization has commenced.

Subsequent to the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, State Governments have enacted enabling legislation to provide for elected bodies at the village, intermediate, and district levels, with adequate representation from the weaker sections and women. Almost all the States have constituted Panchayati Raj bodies. The State Governments are required to endow the Panchayats with the power and authority necessary to enable them to function as institutions of self-government, including the responsibility of preparing and implementing plans for economic development and social justice. In the Ninth Five Year Plan, it is expected that the 29 subjects identified in the Eleventh Schedule of the Constitution will be transferred to Panchayati Raj Institutions. Correspondingly, this will involve a transfer of resources. In addition, they will require personnel and administrative support. It is expected that staff engaged in particular works or departments will be transferred along with the work to the Panchayati Raj Institutions.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Under the provisions of the 74th Constitution Amendment Act, the Urban Local Bodies/ Municipalities prepare plans for the development of urban areas. The municipalities are the focal institutions for the provision of urban infrastructure and delivery of services and the States should endow them with commensurate functional responsibilities and financial powers.

Under Article 243 (G) of the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, the Panchayati Raj Institutions will prepare plans for economic development and social justice. Thus, the core function of the Panchayati Raj Institutions would be planning at the local level through the institution of the District Planning Committees. These Committees will provide the umbrella for the preparation of integrated district development plans. However, certain broad principles will have to be established for assigning a role to each of the three-tiers of government. The actual devolution could be based on the rule that what can be done at a lower level should be done at that level, and not a higher level. The Gramsabha would list out priorities and assist in the selection of beneficiaries for various programmes and schemes. In this way, the aspirations of the people would be articulated. Thereafter, the planning process would follow a bottom up approach with the preparation of village plans which would be incorporated into intermediate level plans, and finally merged into a district plan.

The recommendation of the National Development Council (NDC) that 41% of planning resources be set apart for decentralized planning is expected to be the objective during the Ninth Plan. This could include a proportion as untied funds as 'incentive grants' to match the contribution raised by the Panchayati Raj Institutions. Thereafter, sectoral allocations at the State level should be on the basis of demands made from below by the districts and in keeping with National priorities. In this way, it would be possible to bring about both a vertical and a horizontal integration of resources and services. The Panchayati Raj Institutions would provide an umbrella for the convergence of various sectoral, poverty eradication, and area development programmes at each tier. The vertical integration would be facilitated by an integration of area plans from the village to the State level. This would ensure a synergy between macro-level and micro-level objectives.

A comprehensive and time-bound training policy would be formulated in order to ensure that the Panchayati Raj functionaries are equipped with information regarding various programmes and schemes of the governments, available technologies, and other relevant information which has to be disseminated among the local people. While the Central Government could provide for the training of trainers, the State Governments would have to be responsible for training at the more decentralized levels in keeping with local training requirements.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

Awareness building among the people will be given top priority. The government machinery, voluntary organizations, and self-help groups will be involved in the process of advocacy and in organizing the people, especially the poor. Participation of people can be encouraged through beneficiary/functional committees which should be given the responsibility of overseeing the implementation of various programmes. Social audit and transparency in the functioning of the Panchayati Raj Institutions is crucial for the growth and development of these institutions. These will be the important goals of the decentralization strategy during the Ninth Plan.

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing 

While the urban local bodies have a share in the revenue of the States, they will have to be permitted to levy their own taxes at the local level. These could include professional tax, property tax, entertainment tax, and motor vehicle taxes, etc. In addition, they could levy user charges and licence fees wherever feasible. Some of the municipalities in cities could also raise resources from the market by bond issue.

Cooperation  

No information is available

* * * 

 

This information was provided by the Government of India to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

 

WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

No information is available 

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Labour policy in India derives its philosophy and content from the Directive Principles of State Policy enshrined in the Constitution of India. This has been evolving in response to specific needs of the situation to suit the requirements of planned development and social justice. It has been envisaged that economic growth should not only increase production but also absorb the backlog of unemployed and add a substantial proportion of additional work force.

The Government has implemented many welfare measures for the benefit of workers. In 1995, the Government of India implemented a new pension scheme for workers to replace the family pension scheme which was launched in 1971. The Payment of Gratuity Act was amended in May, 1994, scrapping the eligibility ceiling for its application and enhancing the ceiling on gratuity payment.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The labour policy during the Ninth Five Year Plan (1997-2002) will rationalize, simplify, and integrate Labour Laws to bring them in tune with the changing socioeconomic scene. At the same time, the existing legislative framework will be strengthened to protect the interests of labour in the unorganized sector. The following specific steps will be taken:

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available  

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available  

Status   

The majority of the workforce in India is unorganized in nature, with 80% living in rural areas and 64% engaged in agriculture. Only 15% of the workforce is on regular salaried employment; the remaining 85% is self-employed or employed on casual wages. Access of women to employment compared to men is lower because of their inferior access to education and skill development.

Challenges  

No information is available  

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available  

Information   

No information is available 

Research and Technologies   

No information is available 

Financing 

No information is available   

Cooperation  

No information is available    

 

* * * 

This information was provided by the Government of India to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

 

BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

Indian business and industry associations, such as the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FICCI) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), work in partnership with the Government, especially with the Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Environment and Forests, and the Ministry of Energy (Power and Non-Conventional Energy Sources) as well as Pollution Control Boards both at the Central and State levels.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

In recent years, business and industry have made significant efforts towards reducing the impact of industrial activities on the environment, including the investment of considerable resources in the development of environmental management systems and environmentally sound technologies. The concept of green business is results oriented and will have far reaching effect on the Indian environment. The International Standardization Organization has introduced systems of quality control (ISO 9000) and methods for verifying environmental soundness (ISO 14000) of companies. The business community has recognized that in order to stay in business, it will increasingly have to integrate environmental consideration into business strategy and long term planning.

Although some improvement in environmental performance can be expected due to the adoption of a systematic approach, it should be understood that the environmental management system is a tool which enables the organization to achieve and systematically control the level of environmental performance that it sets for itself. The establishment and operation of an environmental management system will not, in itself, necessarily result in an immediate reduction of an adverse environmental impact.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

In order to adopt best environmental management practices, Indian industry has initiated the development of their corporate environment policies or safety, health and environment policies. Many companies, especially export oriented units, now have written environment policies. The trend for such statements is increasing. The practices essentially flow out of the key elements of such policies, environmental objectives, and targets.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Indian business and industry is even promoting the cause of sustainable development beyond the boundaries of their enterprise by participating in initiatives, such as population management, social development and community affairs, rural community development, literacy programmes, and HIV/AIDS awareness programmes. Industry and Government have both started recognizing that implementation of normative measures through environmental laws and standards alone will not serve the cause of sustainable development. There has to be a prudent mix of fiscal and regulatory approaches if cleaner production technologies in Indian industry are to be induced.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

Indian industry is today on a fast track of growth, and with the Government's commitment for industrial liberalization the pace of growth is expected to accelerate. It is a big challenge for industry to respond to Government's aspirations, so that the economy improves and the advantages of industrialization are passed on to the people. Industry is also aware of its responsibilities towards the environment and is committed to sustainable development. Compliance levels have gone up which is clearly indicated by the fact that out of 1,551 units identified as highly polluting industries, 1,259 units have provided the requisite pollution control facility. The reasons for this high level of compliance includes pressure from mounting legislation, growing awareness and commitment of industry towards social responsibilities, increasing realization that pollution prevention means good business, and increasing public awareness. Further progress at this stage is not a function of desire or intent but one of technological and other feasibility barriers.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation

No information is available

 

* * * 

This information was provided by the Government of India to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

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SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL COMMUNITY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

As part of the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) was established in 1971 to formulate policy statements and guidelines on science and technology. Consistent with wider goals and objectives, various programmes and activities of the DST are aimed at encouraging the Scientific and Technological Community and promoting new areas of science and technology .

A Cabinet Committee on Science and Technology has been established at the apex level to take an overall view of scientific efforts and policy guidelines for the development of science and technology in the country. An Empowered Committee of Secretaries on Science and Technology has also been constituted to implement the recommendations of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Cabinet.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Science and Technology Advisory Committees have been set up in most of the development departments such as Steel, Coal, Mines, Petroleum, and Transport to formulate, implement, and monitor science and technology programmes relevant to the concerned sector. In order to promote science and technology activities at the grass root level, State Science and Technology Councils and Departments have been strengthened and their interaction with various scientific institutions and development departments assured for effective implementation of location specific projects and programmes.

Programmes and Projects   

Recognizing the need for accelerating the people's participation in decision making, the National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC) provides a forum for science and technology aimed at introducing a value system receptive to science and technology among the people at large. Programmes of the DST are geared towards generating employment and entrepreneurial skills for motivating university science graduates to participate actively in the economic growth of the country. Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Parks provide links amongst universities, research laboratories, and industry.

For the socioeconomic development of the rural and urban poor, women, the disadvantaged, Scheduled Castes and Tribal populations, a number of technologies have been developed on carp breeding, seed raising, rain water harvesting, soak pits, water filters, water testing kits, low cost toilets, etc. Efforts have been made through the Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Programme to create a number of job opportunities through training and awareness. Several programmes to popularize science like Bharat Jan Gyan Vigyan Jatha, National Children Science Congress, radio and television serials on science themes have also been initiated.

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

The Government has been a major player in capacity building through increasing research support and has achieved full cooperation of the science and technology community in the decision making process. The financial support for basic research has been more than doubled in the last five years. Capability enhancement through training programmes, contact programmes, and fellowships has been encouraged. The integration of science and technology with socioeconomic development has been initiated and different ministries have set up Science and Technology Advisory Committees (STACs) to identify, formulate, and support science and technology programmes relevant to the concerned sector with the participation of industry.

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

To accelerate the development and application of indigenous technology in production processes, a new fund for technology development and application has been established. The DST also fosters international cooperation in science and technology leading to exchange visits and establishment of special joint centres or projects. Areas which need strengthening are exchange of knowledge and concerns at all levels, and broadening the range of development and environmentally sustainable activities. This would lead to models of joint implementation through requisite cooperation and support.

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

* * * 

This information was provided by the Government of India to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

 

FARMERS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The major thrust of agricultural development programmes in India is to improve the efficiency of the use of scarce natural resources, namely land, water, and energy. This can be achieved only through improved productivity in a cost-effective manner, which alone would increase the welfare of the farmers and agricultural labour. Balanced and integrated use of fertilizers, agricultural credit, institutional development, accelerated investments in agriculture, enhancing the competitiveness of agro-exports, and creation of additional irrigation facilities have been encouraged through various schemes and activities of the Government.

The Eighth Five Year Plan has a major focus on employment generation with the goal of near full employment by the turn of the century. The main objective of the strategy is to generate sufficient job opportunities to absorb unemployed and under-employed persons in agriculture and also to provide jobs to new entrants of the labour force. The agriculture sector provides one of the best avenues for creating greater employment growth.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

A scheme entitled "Farmers-Scientists Interaction on Agro-Climatic Zone Basis" has been formulated on a pilot basis. The scheme provides direct feedback from farmers to scientists on problems and constraints in agriculture, while scientists can communicate relevant technological advances to the farming community. This regular system of interaction provides a forum for on the spot identification of field problems and suggestions for remedial measures. Seventeen States are covered by this programme and a proposal for covering other States and Union Territories is under consideration.

The National Cooperative Development Corporation has established its Cooperative Farmers' Service Centre Scheme to provide financial assistance to farmers' service cooperatives. Under this scheme, all types of societies engaged in retail distribution of fertilizer and other agricultural inputs, and non-credit activities are covered by assistance depending upon the requirement. The main objective of the scheme is the development of cooperative societies as effective Farmers' Service Centres for the supply of a wide range of agricultural inputs and also to meet the non-credit needs of farmers.

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

The multi-tier infrastructure has been created at National, Regional, State, Divisional and District levels to train farmers, farm youth, and farm women. The National Institute of Management has been established at Hyderabad to cater to the needs of extension management. Four Extension Education Institutes have been established on a regional basis to provide training in communication technology and extension methodology. Krishi Vigyan Kendras and Farmers' Training Centres also provide grassroots level training facilities to farmers and farm women. Under the scheme "exchange of farmers within the country", in operation since 1990, opportunities are provided to farmers from less developed areas to tour agriculturally developed areas in groups and observe the progress in agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, and allied subjects, so that they can adopt the technology on their own farms.

In order to promote participation, practicing farmers, village youth, and school dropouts are working as focal points for disseminating low cost technology and producing the plant material for conservation measures. Organizing self-help groups to institutionalize people's participation to improve household production systems (mushroom cultivation, sericulture, bee-keeping, etc.) is emphasized.

Training and demonstrations have been undertaken to disseminate integrated pest management (IPM) technology. Bio-pesticides, like neem-based formulations, are being encouraged through Farmers' Field Schools. A Central Sector Scheme for Women in Agriculture has been launched in seven States during the Eighth Five Year Plan to motivate and mobilize farm women into groups so that the agricultural support, such as technology and extension, can be channelled through them.

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation

 No information is available

 

* * * 

 

This information was provided by the Government of India to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

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SCIENCE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The promotion of science and technology for development has been one of the guiding principles of planned development in independent India. The Ministry of Science and Technology with its associate Departments of Biotechnology and Industrial Research; and the Departments of Electronics, Ocean Development, Non-Conventional Energy Sources, Space, and Atomic Energy all have different responsibilities in this field.


The Ministry of Environment and Forests is the nodal agency in the Government for environmental protection and for natural resource management in the widest sense. The linkages with scientific research and development are clear. The Ministry of Science and Technology promotes research in emerging areas, contributes to technology development, provides linkages for future commercialization, gives priority to areas for scientific research, and focuses on programmes based on developmental needs. The Ministry of Environment and Forests participates in international research programmes and coordinates National research in earth and atmospheric sciences, medium range weather forecasting, etc.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans   

During the Eighth Five Year Plan (1992-97), the major thrust areas have been basic research in front line fields, innovative research to achieve self-reliance, diffusion of appropriate technologies, and integration of science and technology in socioeconomic and rural sectors. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has made significant achievements in the areas of drugs, pesticides, chemicals, biotechnology, etc. The mechanism for the export of technologies and the systems of patenting have been strengthened. A future thrust would be the modernization of various CSIR laboratories, upscaling technologies, and extension of societal programmes.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

It is also important to note the activities of institutions such as the National Institute of Oceanography, the National Geophysical Research Institute, and the large number of laboratories under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), most notably the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI). Several universities have departments of environmental sciences. There are also major non-governmental organizations involved in science, such as the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI), New Delhi, which work in the field of science, environment, and development.

Programmes and Projects   

In the context of the New Economic Policy, the steps taken to re-orient science and technology activities include: the creation of a Technology Development Fund, closer interactions with user industries for technology transfer and the launching of application- oriented R&D programmes. Some additional steps are needed, such as vigorous market-oriented research, and creation of a corpus fund from 2-3% of the turnover of major industries for the promotion of industrial R&D. Such a fund would reduce dependence on the budget support from the Government. Awareness is also required, particularly on intellectual property rights and patents, among science and technology institutions and universities in preparation for the post-General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) scenario.

Major activities in the science and technology sector include:

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

In the area of oceans, emphasis has been placed on stabilizing the Antarctic and polymetallic nodules programmes, and the development of ocean data and information system. Besides the expeditions to Antarctica, several achievements have been made in the polymetallic nodules programmes, the coastal ocean monitoring and prediction system, the marine satellite information system, the preparation and dissemination of potential fishing zones, and the establishment of a new institute, the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT).

Research and Technologies   

Under Biotechnology, the thrust has been in R&D product development, technology transfer and demonstration, integrated manpower development, augmentation of infrastructure facilities and their optimal utilization, special programmes for specific groups and weaker sections, etc. Significant achievements have been made, besides launching of Technology Mission-mode projects, on bio-fertilizers, biological pest control, and aquaculture. There is a need to formulate a biotechnology profile for the country as well as to ensure transfer of technology.

A technology development fund has been created to accelerate the commercialization of indigenous technologies. In future, the emphasis will be to strengthen R&D efforts further, transfer of the knowledge to industry, strengthen international science and technology cooperation, implement the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting, selective modernization of the infrastructure facilities of aided scientific institutions, etc. The need in this area is the application of research results for technology development leading, through the involvement of industries and users, to improvements in the quality of life. There is a need for the science and technology entrepreneurship development programmes to be linked with the employment generation programmes.

The thrust of space science and technology has been the development and implementation of indigenous satellites and launch vehicles. Significant achievements include the launching of multi-purpose communication satellites; the development of capabilities for the Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV), the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV); remote sensing applications for forest mapping, crop inventory, ground water targeting, and flood mapping; and integrated management for sustainable development through micro-level planning, etc. In the future, second generation multi-purpose communication satellites will be launched. There is a need for action in indigenous technological development of strategic items, capability for launching India's INSAT class satellites, building the necessary inventories by involving industries, and stockpiling the inventories for future INSAT systems.

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

   

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of India to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.

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INFORMATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

Various Ministries of  Government of India  are responsible for decision-making in the subject-areas allocated to them.  In so far as environmental matters are concerned, the Ministry of Environment & Forests is the nodal agency for decision-making on environment-related matters at the national level as well as for dissemination of information to the users in its allotted field.

As stated above, Ministries collect the information in their specific area and submit it to the Government , with suitable recommendations for making a decision on behalf of the Government. The various departments publish their annual reports and periodically bring out brochures and host available information on the current policy and legislation on the internet. 

Information management is carried out by each local government through its Department of Planning/Statistics.  Each State is responsible for collection, collation, retrieval and dissemination of information on the subjects related to the particular State Government.  Such  information is  and collated from the State Government by the respective Central Ministry in the Central Government according to the subject.  The Ministry of Environment & Forests, through its agencies, coordinates information on forest cover, control of pollution in the State and environmental issues.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No Regulations/laws have been made so far by the Central Government.  However, the matter is being considered in the  Ministry of Information Technology.

The Ministry of Environment & Forests has set up a National Environmental Information System (ENVIS) as a decentralized network for collecting, collating, storing, retrieving and disseminating information in the field of environment and its associated areas.

Environmental Information systems:

Since environment for sustainable development is a broad-ranging, multi-disciplinary subject, a comprehensive information system on environment has necessitated effective participation of institutions/ organisations in the country that are actively engaged in work relating to different subject areas of environment. Environmental Information System (ENVIS) has  developed a Home-page of the Ministry. It can be browsed on the Internet at URL:http://www.nic.in/ envfor/envis.

Information requested by the Central Government is provided on environmental aspects and its related fields.  Similarly, each Central Ministry is having its own instrumental measure for collecting information and disseminating it as and when needed. 

A set of environmental indicators has been designed for collecting information in environment and its associated fields. 

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Ministry of Environment & Forests, apart from the ENVIS programme, mentioned in  above is also implementing a Sustainable Development Networking Programme (SDNP) as an externally aided project, to provide information on various thematic areas ranging from pollution, biodiversity, wildlife conservation to agriculture, biotechnology, poverty and  climate-change. The SDNP also disseminates knowledge on sustainable development and acts as a distributing clearing house of information and functions in close association with ENVIS

SDNP has developed a website to provide linkages with various national and international information systems and could be browsed in URL: http://sdnp.delhi.nic.in. 

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Various steps have been taken to develop information network capabilities of both the public and private sectors.  The information required in the existing network is fed by the scientists, local authorities, NGOs and the Village Panchayats  at the grassroot level.

Private sector contributes information both in the national network as well as local network.  The ENVIS and SDNP networks located in the Ministry of Environment and Forests have set up  nodes in various private sector organisations  for collecting information on several thematic areas related to environment.

Several groups are consulted in the development of an information system like before setting up of SDNP.A Task Force was constituted with individual experts and private sector organizations. The observations/suggestions given by such groups have been incorporated in designing the system.

Programmes and Projects   

Periodic review of  existing programmes is being taken up and necessary improvement will be made.

ENVIS is a decentralized information system network, having 25 nodes, known as ENVIS centres, located throughout India.  Each node has been assigned a specific subject-area on environment for developing a database and has been assigned the responsibility for collection of data on a regular basis in its specific subject-area, which is carried out through a survey, collection from secondary sources, through research results, and so on.

The information network in a country like India, exists at all levels, particularly at the local and grass root level.  In the rural areas of the country, Panchayats, Village Protection Committees  have been set up to collect information on various aspects at the grassroot level for onward transmission to the local and national level. With internet reaching all districts in India the information collection and dissemination process has improved.

The Government has taken the step to strengthen electronic networking capabilities through its communication network.  Ministry of communication, through its existing mechanisms, is providing support for developing internet facilities and communication linkages to all information systems in the country.  The National Informatics Centre has also set up District Information Centres in various State. The question of bandwidth and regular supply of power are being addressed.

Within the ambit of the Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), an autonomous body set up by the Government, support has been provided to establish databases on energy and environmental technologies at the Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI), New Delhi and the National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune respectively. The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur has a project on the preparation of an information package on cleaner technologies of industrial production. The experience gained in the establishment of information networks and databases, including manpower training and skills development to handle these systems, is an important strength.

Some of the studies completed with TIFAC support include areas like human settlements, industrial raw water treatment, industrial waste water treatment, water treatment technologies, technologies for disposal of thermal power station fly ash, energy conservation technologies (cement industry), energy saving technologies, biotechnology for waste water treatment, and technologies for the treatment of molasses from distillery effluents.

With a well developed space programme, India is fully capable of collating, collecting, analyzing, and applying remote sensing data obtained through its own and international satellites. Some of the uses of remote sensing technology are already far advanced in India and include: a) the efforts of the National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning to use remote sensing techniques for the development of geographic information systems (GIS) for soils, topography, and underground water resources; b) the programme of the Forest Survey of India for using remote sensing to determine and monitor forest cover and its status; and c) the programme of the National Wastelands Development Board to map actual and potential wastelands in 146 districts which have more than 15% of their areas under wastelands.

Apart from remote sensing State Governments and the Government of India collect other kinds of data. These include: a) ground surveys of land resources through assessment of the physico-chemical properties of soil along with topography which also leads to the production of useful and necessary village level maps; b) a mammoth project on water resources in the country undertaken by the Central Water Commission; c) the Agriculture Census and the Agriculture Input Survey which provide information on the classification of land, land use, and the levels of application of inputs such as fertilizers and organic manure; d) State data compiled by the Ministry of Rural Development on some of the basic rural indicators like the establishment of biogas plants which provide sources of alternative energy; e) traditional collection of data by the Registrar General of India through the decennial census; and f) collection of data on health, mortality and morbidity indices, as well as data on education, food security, employment, and earnings for the Physical Quality of Life Indices (PQLI).

In a large and populous country like India, collection of data based on complete sampling is not fully relevant in all cases. The expenditure of both resources and time in the collection of such data might decrease its utility for effective decision-making. Hence, a National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) has been established to provide trends and useful indicators for decision-making. Recently, the NSSO has commenced data collection on a gender-desegregated basis to provide information about women's status. This facilitates the development of mechanisms for improving their role as primary decision-makers and implementors.

Some of the data generated is included as part of a GIS developed by the National Informatics Centre under the General Information Service Terminal-National Informatics Centre (GISTNIC) programme. The database is, however, yet to be fully synthesized and is presently available only to Government users. India has a reasonably well developed informatics network with computers in both Government, and the private and public sectors. These networks are connected through High Speed Optical Cables within India and with international networks. Connections through satellites for very high speed data transmission have also become a reality and India is able to effectively use the data that may be available on international networks. India has online access to various international databases and networks through DIOLOG, STN, EASYNET, ESA-IRS, etc. CD-ROM databases are also available from vendors like DIOLOG, UMI, SILVERPLATTER and others.

Status   

ENVIS network consists of a Focal Point, located in the Ministry and 25 nodes, known as ENVIS Centres, located throughout the country in the potential organizations/institutions at national level.

The SDNP network is also a decentralized information network concept and besides the Focal Point in the Ministry, has set up nodes on thematic areas of sustainable development in various parts of the country.  Each node is in the process of developing a website on its ear-marked area with an interface to the local language. 

Information in the field of environment and sustainable development is accessible through internet.

A set of indicators has been designed for collection of information through ENVIS and SDNP.  For e.g., the contents of oxides of sulphur, nitrogen and suspended particulate matters in case of collection of air pollution data, the BOD level, COD level, OD level, coliform level and total suspended solids are indicators in case of water pollution, and so on.  These indicators help in the assessment of pollution level and  formulation of research programmes.

Challenges  

The various thematic areas which require attention are:

The user-groups like decision-makers, scientists, environmentalists are at the first level, researchers at the second level and the general public at the tertiary level.

Major challenges experienced in implementation are the requirement of financial support to the various nodes for capacity building and infrastructure development

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

Several measures have been taken to publicize the existence of ENVIS and SDNP, for its use through electronic media and print media.

The existing nodes of ENVIS and SDNP have been financed suitably to strengthen their capability in developing the web site as well as in the collection, collation and dissemination of information to the users.

Information   

The suitable information in so far as the Ministry of Environment and Forests is concerned, can be tapped in the Ministry's home-page and web page at URL: http://envfor.nic.in. 

The SDNP website can also be browsed at URL: http://sdnp.delhi.nic.in

Research and Technologies   

INDIAN REMOTE SENSING SATELLITE SYSTEM

The Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites are the main-stay of National Natural Resources Management System (NNRMS), for which Department of Space (DOS) is the nodal agency, providing operational remote sensing data services The IRS system has been further enhanced by IRS-1C, IRS-P3 and IRS-1D, the last two having been launched by India’s own launch vehicle, PSLV, IRS-1C, launched on 28 December 1995 and IRS-1D launched by PSLV on 29 September 1997, have enhanced capabilities in terms of spatial resolution, additional spectral bands, stereoscopic imaging, wide field coverage and a more frequent revisit capability than its predecessors.      

Remote sensing applications in the country, under the umbrella of NNRMS, now cover diverse fields such as crop acreage and yield estimation, drought warning and assessment, flood control and damage assessment, land use/land cover information, agro climatic planning, wasteland management, water resources management, under-ground water exploration, prediction of snow-melt run-off, management of watersheds and command areas, fisheries development, urban development, mineral prospecting, forest resources survey, etc. Active involvement of the user ministries/departments has ensured an effective harnessing of the potential of space-based remote sensing. An important application of IRS data is in the Integrated Mission for Sustainable Development (IMSD) initiated in 1992. IMSD, under which 175 districts have been identified, aims at generating locale-specific action plans for sustainable development.

SURVEY OF INDIA

Survey of India (SOI), a national survey and mapping organization under the Ministry of Science & Technology fulfils the ever-growing demand of vast variety of maps of the country. In addition to topographical mapping, SOI is also charged with the responsibilities of other related activities, such as R&D programmes in the field of geodesy, geophysical studies, seismis city, glaciology, indigenisation of instruments/equipments, etc. SOI has started creation of Digital Cartographic Data Base of topographical maps on 1:25 K, 1:50 K and 1:250 K scales. The digital data is being used by various agencies for planning and GIS applications. It also undertakes large scale surveys for various developmental projects including hydro-electric, irrigation, command area, canal area, cantt. area schemes. Coastal mapping has also been undertaken in a phased manner to study the effect of submergence due to rise in sea-level and other natural phenomenon. Survey of India also provides support to neighboring countries in the field of survey education, transfer of technology and various other surveying technologies under bilateral programmes. Under Indo-Bhutan Survey Collaboration project, experts in the field of geodesy, cartography, digital cartography, computer application, printing, etc., have been deputed to Bhutan for acceptability tests of various machines/equipment including training to the officers of Survey of Bhutan. A Geomatics Centre has been planned at Delhi to meet the requirement of geomatics, viz., regional and urban planning, resource management, infrastructure development, environmental monitoring, agriculture, irrigation, soil conservation, forestry, railways, airways, inland water transport, mineral resources, etc.        

In the recent years Survey of India has been involved in various inter-disciplinary scientific projects like Sea-Level, Modeling and Monitoring (SELMAM) project of Department of Ocean Development (DOD), modernization of cadastral surveys, glaciology programme of DST, etc. Survey of India has been participating in Indian Scientific expeditions to Antarctica and has strong international linkages especially with International Cartographic Association (ICA), International Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS), South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC), International Association of Geodesy (IAG),etc. A map awareness drive has been launched by Survey of India to bring attractive maps in convenient folded size and reasonably priced on various themes, viz,. Antique Map Services, Discover India Series, State Map Series, District Planning Map Series, Tourist Map Series, Trekking Map Series, etc. A Survey Training Institute established under UNDP assistance is a premier institution for training in various disciplines of surveying to the trainees sponsored by the department, other State/Central government organisations and neighboring countries.

NATIONAL ATLAS AND THEMATIC MAPPING ORGANISATION

While Survey of India meets the national needs in cartography, some specialized thematic maps required to meet the needs of the specific users are taken care of by the National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organization (NATMO), operating under the Department. It also concentrates its attention in a number of areas to integrate resource maps with other relevant socio-economic data and represent them in spatial forms, useful for developmental planning. NATMO is trying to develop the new technology of reverse printing for NATMO maps on experimental basis. It is also trying to introduce the technique of using metallic colors in map printing. These facilities are also being modernized.  The new technologies like Remote Sensing Application, GIS, Application of Local Area Network and Wide Area Network are being introduced in this regard.

SURVEY OF NATURAL RESOURCES

The Botanical Survey of India (BSI), established in 1980, is responsible for surveying and identifying the plant resources of the country. With its headquarters at Kolkatta and nine circles located in different regions of the country, the BSI undertakes exploration tours of the country regularly and the results of such tours are published in the form of national, state and district flora. Established in 1916, the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) is responsible for carrying out surveys of the faunal resources of the country. While the headquarters of the Zoological Survey of India is at Calcutta, it has 16 regional stations located in different parts of the country. ZSI also undertakes regular faunistic survey tours of the entire country.

The Forest Survey of India (FSI), established in 1981, is entrusted with the task of surveying the forest resources of the country. Besides the headquarters at Dehra Dun, FSI has four regional offices located at Bangalore, Calcutta, Nagpur and Shimla. It prepares thematic maps on 1:50,000 scale and forest vegetation maps on 1:2,50,000 scale of the country. The thematic maps are prepared for the entire country on a ten-year cycle. The vegetation represents 19.27 per cent of geographic area. Out of this, dense forest (crown density more than 40 per cent) accounts for 11 per cent, open forest (crown density 10-40 per cent) represents eight percent, while mangrove forest occupies 0.15 per cent.  

GIS model and other modern techniques are being used for data management and assessment along with ground truth verification.

The National Information System for Science and Technology (NISSAT) facilitates coordination of information services in the country. It has helped establish National information centres in various sectors like leather technology, food technology, machine tools and production, drugs and pharmaceuticals, textiles, chemical and allied industries, advanced ceramics, etc.

Financing   

Various Ministries utilize the amount for information management and dissemination out of the budget allocated to them.  In case of Ministry of Environment and Forests, roughly, 4% of its allocated budget is used by ENVIS. 

Efforts are being made to enhance the budget in case of ENVIS and to strengthen the system network depending upon the availability. Efforts are also being made to make SDNP network as a society for getting financial support from the private sector as well as from other corporate bodies to maintain its sustainability.

Cooperation

In case of SDNP, the entire requirement comes from the external sources such as the  UNDP and IDRC.  The ENVIS network is also linked with INFOTERRA, the Global Information Network of UNEP, in gathering and sharing information on sustainable development.  The SDNP is also linked with SDNP-New York in this regard.

ENVIS is publishing a quarterly newsletter ‘ENVIRO NEWS’, on a monthly basis. The ENVIS has been entrusted with the responsibility of implementing the UNDP and IDRC-assisted project, ‘Sustainable Development Network Programme (SDNP)’. A website for SDNP has been set up for accessing information by a wide cross section of users.  (http://sdnp.delhi.nic.in).

Similarly the Sustainable Development Networking Programme (SDNP) is a UNDP/IDRC initiative launched world-wide in 1990 to make relevant information on sustainable development readily available to decision-makers responsible for planning sustainable development strategies. SDNP-India is being implemented by the ENVIS a GOI programme, over a period of three years.

Guidelines and assistance in terms of technology and methodology is received from time to time from International Information Networks like INFOTERRA, IRPTC and  GEMS of UNEP.

National indicators in the field of environment have been developed on issues related to sustainable development in the existing information network.  Information is also retrieved from various other international networks through linkages for providing to policy planners and decision makers. 

However, cooperation in other countries at the international level is still required in accessing information on various issues related to sustainable development.

The major issues not covered earlier in this field are as follows:

Click here for the list of abbreviations

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This information was provided by the Government of India to the 5th and 9th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: April 2001.

Click here for the Environment and Forests Informatics Division.
For information on India's Sustainable Development Networking Programme, click here

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INTERNATIONAL LAW

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Consistent with National goals and objectives and using the development planning process as a framework, activities and programmes have been initiated by the Government in the context of Agenda 21. These include legislation to enforce environmental protection, especially in the areas of environmental impact assessment (EIA), pollution control, hazardous waste management, and biodiversity conservation.

The following representative cases decided by the Indian judiciary (Supreme Court of India and High Courts) in recent years illustrate the importance given to environmental protection by the Indian legal system:

1. In Mathew Lukose vs. Kerala State Pollution Control Board, the right to a healthy environment is referred to as one of the fundamental rights. This case also addresses the issues relating to competing claims, that is the growth of industries and the definition of the outer limit of pollution so that it does not infringe the citizens right to a healthy environment. The court noted that: "When the degree of pollution crosses the tolerance limits, it invades the rights... and it cannot pass the mustering right of the Constitution". While considering these competing claims the Court also considered the feasibility of an environment audit preceding the licensing of an industry. It also mooted the creation of a National Environment Agency with powers in areas of planning, enforcement, and sanctions. It further noted that: "An institutional perspective must prevail in these areas and related questions must be upgraded to concerns of National priority". Thus, as "The world belongs to us, but we owe a duty, to the posterity, to the unborn, to leave this world at least as beautiful as we found it". [1990 (2) Kerala Law Journal, page 717]

2. In M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India, the construction of the common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) in the 28 industrial areas in Delhi was addressed. The Court also considered issues relating to the expenditure involved in constructing these treatment plants. Considering these expenditures, the Court took the view that the industries for whose benefit the treatment plants were installed are bound to cooperate. [1996 (2) Scale (SP) Page 89]

3. In Subhash Kumar vs. State of Bihar and Others, the Supreme Court laid down the following Constitutional norms for controlling pollution: a) right to life is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution and it includes the right of enjoyment of pollution-free water and air for full enjoyment of life; b) if anything endangers or impairs that quality of life in derogation of laws, a citizen has the right to have recourse under Article 32 of the Constitution for removing the pollution of water or air; and c) a petition under Article 32 for the prevention of pollution is affirmable at the instance of affected persons or even by a group of social workers or journalists.[(1991) 1 SCC page 598]

4. In M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India, the relocation of industries located near the Taj Mahal, which is known as "Taj Trapezium", to preserve the world famous monument was discussed. The Court requested a report from the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) to help it decide whether it is necessary to relocate the various industries. Considering the report from the NEERI, the Court outlined an elaborate plan to relocate the industries. Subsequent to the implementation of this decision, the Court sought to consider the following issues: a) Whether all the industries operating in the Taj Trapezium are to be relocated irrespective of the nature of the industry that is hazardous/ noxious/polluting/non-polluting; b) If the answer to the above question is negative, then which type of industries are to be relocated; c) Whether the Government of India agrees with the suggestion of the relocation outside the Taj Trapezium; and d) Relocation scheme may be indicated. The industrial estates, within or outside the Taj Trapezium, where the industries can be shifted, may be indicated. [1996 (3) Scale (SP) page 58]

5. In Indian Council for Enviro-Legal Action, etc. vs. Union of India and Others, the Court sought to frame special procedure for setting up chemical industries. The court stated, "The Central Government shall consider whether it would not be appropriate in the light of the experience gained, that chemical industries are treated as a category apart. No distinction should be made in this behalf as between a large scale industry and a small scale industry or medium scale industry. All chemical industries, whether big or small, should be allowed to be established only after taking into considerations all the environmental aspects and their functioning should be monitored closely to ensure that they do not pollute the environment around them. It appears that most of these industries are water-intensive industries. If so, the advisability of allowing the establishment of these industries in arid areas may also require examination." [1996 (2) Scale 44, page 73]

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

International law derives from a number of sources, principally international conventions or treaties, international customary law, and the general principles of law recognized by States. In recent years, each of these sources has displayed features of interest to international environmental law. The inherent reservation notwithstanding, treaties and conventions have made a major contribution to developing international environmental law over the last few years.

Challenges  

In order to achieve sustainable development, it is imperative to address on a priority basis the principal social, economic, and environmental challenges contained in Agenda 21. Most international agreements are sector specific in nature, concluded at different times with uneven international knowledge and concern. Therefore, innovative approaches are required in the field of progressive development of international environmental law.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation

India has become a party to international conventions which contribute to environmental protection and sustainable development. India has ratified almost all multilateral environmental conventions including the recent Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC), the Convention on Biodiversity, the Convention on Straddling Fish and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks, and the Convention to Combat Desertification in Countries Experiencing Drought and/or Desertification Particularly in Africa. Concrete actions have been taken to meet international obligations under these conventions to reaffirm India's commitment to pursue activities leading to sustainable development.

 

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This information was provided by the Government of India to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 1997.



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