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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

Land, being a subject under the exclusive jurisdiction of States, there is no national legislation, which restricts transfer of productive arable land to other uses. However, State Governments have enacted legislation on the subject, which provides restriction on use of land for non-agricultural purposes.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Statutory environmental clearance under Environment (Protection) Act is required for the following types of agricultural development projects and human settlement projects:

While examining the proposals, the impact of the projects on different Ecosystems, including agricultural lands are examined. The feasibility of avoiding agricultural land for other developmental activities is also examined. However, there is no statutory restriction in transferring agricultural land for other uses.

In case the lands involved forestland, the project proponent has to obtain clearance under Forest (Conservation) Act for the use of forests for non-forest purposes. In case it involves National parks/Sanctuaries, if the activity is not beneficial to the wildlife, it cannot be taken up in those areas. In regard to human settlements, namely, buildings in the coastal regulation zone, there are restrictions on height, plinth area, drawl of groundwater disturbing the landform, disposal of waste, etc. Further, construction of buildings is prohibited in the sensitive areas within Coastal Regulation Zone.

To ensure availability of effective pesticides, a comprehensive Central Legislation ? Insecticides Act, 1968 - is being implemented. Central Insecticides Laboratory, Registration Committee, Central Insecticides Board and Regional Pesticides Testing Laboratories are the principal wings for implementation of the Act at the Central level. To save the Indian agriculture from exotic pests and diseases, legislative measures on Plant Quarantine are being enforced through 26 Plant Quarantine Stations located at International Airports, Seaports, Land Frontiers. These Stations also discharge the responsibility of phytosanitary certification to help export of agricultural commodities.

In order to promote the use of safer pesticides and also increasing the export potential of pesticides, the Central Insecticides and Registration Committee set up under the Insecticides Act, further simplified data requirements for both plant origin and provisionally registered neem-based pesticides and bio-pesticides.

The main objectives of the Government's price policy for agricultural produce aims at ensuring remunerative prices to the growers for their produce with a view to encouraging higher investment and production. Towards that end, minimum support prices for major agricultural products are announced each year, which are fixed after taking into account the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP). The CACP, while recommending prices takes into account all of the following factors:

Since liberalization several policy measures have been taken with regard to regulation & control, fiscal policy, export & import, taxation, exchange & interest rate control, export promotion and incentives to high priority industries. Food processing and agro industries have been accorded high priority with a number of important relief and incentives.

Wide-ranging fiscal policy changes have been introduced progressively. Excise & import duty rates have been reduced substantially. Many processed food items are totally exempt from excise duty. Custom duty rates have been substantially reduced on plant & equipments, as well as on raw materials and intermediates, especially for export production.

The Committee on Pricing Water (as part of the National water Policy, 1987) deals with rationalizing water rates and have suggested increase in irrigation water rates in a phased manner. The pricing of water for various uses will have to take into account the paying capacity of the users including farmers and large population below poverty line.

As for regulations & control, no industrial license is required for almost all of the food & agro processing industries except for some items like: beer, potable alcohol & wines, cane sugar, hydrogenated animal fats & oils etc. and items reserved for exclusive manufacture in the small scale sector. Items reserved for S.S.I. include pickles & chutneys, bread, confectionery (excluding chocolate, toffees and chewing-gum etc.), rapeseed, mustard, sesame & groundnut oils (except solvent extracted), ground and processed spices other than spice oil and olioresins, sweetened cashew nut products, tapioca sago and tapioca flour.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Agricultural Development Strategy was revised in 1999, as the national strategy on sustainable agriculture and rural development (SARD). The Strategy is essentially based on the policy on food security and alleviation of hunger. A regionally differentiated strategy, based on agro climatic regional planning which takes into account agronomic, climatic and environmental conditions, will be adopted to realize the potential of growth in every region of the country. The thrust will be on ecological, sustainable use of basic resources such as land, water, and vegetation, in such a way that it serves the objectives of accelerated growth, employment and alleviation of hunger.

In the accelerated growth scenario for the Ninth Five Year Plan (1997-2002), an agricultural growth rate of 4.5% per annum is expected. Allied sectors such as horticulture including fruit and vegetables, fisheries, livestock, and dairy will continue to register greater growth during the Ninth Plan period. In the Ninth Plan, targets will be achieved through a regionally differentiated strategy based on agronomic, climatic, and environment-friendly conditions. At the macro level, the agriculture development strategy will be differentiated by broad regional characteristics of an agro-economic character. The northwestern high productivity regions will promote diversification and high value crops, and strengthen linkages with agro-processing industries and exports. The Eastern region, with abundant water, will exploit this productivity potential through flood control, drainage management, improvement of irrigation facilities, and improved input delivery systems. The water scarce peninsular region, including Rajasthan, will focus on efficient water harvesting and conservation methods and technologies based on a watershed approach and appropriate farming systems. Ecologically fragile regions, including Himalayan and desert areas, will concentrate on eco-friendly agriculture.

Animal husbandry and dairying will receive grater attention for development during the Ninth Five Year Plan as this sector plays an important role in generating employment opportunities and supplementing includes of small marginal farmers and landless laborers, especially in rain fed and drought-prone areas. Effective control of animal diseases, declaration of disease-free zones, scientific management of genetic stock resources, breeding, quality feed and fodder, extension services, enhancement of production, productivity and profitability of livestock enterprise will be given greater attention. The growth value of the output from the livestock sector is estimated to be 26% of the total value from the agricultural sector.

To make self-employment programmes more effective in the Ninth Five Year Plan, there will be a shift in strategy from an individual beneficiary approach to a group and/or cluster approach under the Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP). This will facilitate higher investment levels to ensure project viability. In addition, this approach will include skills development of the poor through an inbuilt training component, upgrading of technology, establishment of forward and backward linkages, availability of appropriate infrastructure, and market tie-ups. A new initiative for social mobilization will be implemented during the Ninth Plan to create self-managed institutions for the poor. A mechanism for training social animators to assist the poor to articulate their needs and aspirations, and form their own organizations will be implemented.

Rural poverty largely exists among the landless and marginal farmers. Access to land, therefore, remains a key element of the anti-poverty strategy in rural areas. The programme of action for land reform in the Ninth Five Year Plan will include the following: detection as well as redistribution of ceiling surplus land; upgrading of land records on a regular basis; tenancy reforms to record the rights of tenants and share croppers; consolidation of holdings; prevention of the alienation of tribal lands; providing access to wastelands and common property resources to the poor on a group basis; leasing-in and leasing-out of land will be permitted within the ceiling limits; and preference to women in the distribution of ceiling surplus land and legal provisions for protecting their rights on land.

The National Development Committee (NDC) Report has highlighted the importance of social issues, which have not been addressed in quantitative terms earlier. Role of social issues and improvement of poverty in disadvantaged group of population is very important. Animal husbandry, which includes dairy, piggary, poultry, goatary and sheep farming, is the major occupation of this group of population. The above 5 farming systems should be developed on the principle of resource based planning, which includes land, water, agro-climate, labor inputs and financial capability of disadvantaged community. The livestock farming has to look into all the above facts and more importantly to economic, environmental, and social factors. Thus, the development of remunerative farming systems for improving their economic conditions and quality of life is most important in future.

Seven basic services have been identified for priority attention. Policies and programmes relating to these areas would be given a thrust in the Ninth five Year Plan. Complete coverage is expected in a time-bound manner. These services are safe drinking water, availability of primary health service facilities, universal primary education, provision of public housing assistance to all shelter less poor families, nutritional support to children, road links to all villages and habitations, and public distribution system targeted to the poor.

India's National Water Policy (NWP) was adopted in September 1987. The National Water Resources Council (NWRC) under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister lays down the NWP, reviews development plans and advises on implementation. The Policy envisages strategies covering ground water development, water allocation priorities, drinking water, irrigation, water quality, water zoning, water conservation, flood control and management. In the context of water use, the main issues are the pricing of water for various end uses including drinking, irrigation and industrial use. The NWP of the Government of India accords highest priority to drinking water supply. The State Governments in India make their water policies within the overall framework of the NWP.

Though there has never been a single comprehensive rural energy policy for the country, the government, through it various committees such as Fuel Policy Committee (1974), Working Group on Energy Policy (1979), Advisory Board on Energy (1985), Energy Demand Screening Group (1986), etc. has formulated programmes aimed at rural energy and implemented through various ministries. The basic issues borne in mind when formulating policies have been (a) Technology choices, (b) Dissemination approach, (c) Commercialization and (d) Capacity building.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

The Panchyati Raj Institutions (PRIs) will function as effective institutions of local self-governance and they will prepare plans for economic development and social justice and implement them. The PRIs will be the umbrellas for the integration of sectoral programmes with poverty alleviation and rural development programmes. The Council for Advancement of People's Action and Rural Technology (CAPART) will continue to provide projected financial assistance to voluntary organizations, which will have to play a more dynamic role in empowering the poor through advocacy, awareness generation and formation of Self-Help Groups (SHGs) during the Ninth Plan.

In order to promote people's participation and create awareness, the practicing farmers, village youth and school dropouts are working as focal points for dissemination of information e.g. on low cost technology and producing plant material for conservation measures. Stress is being laid on organising SHGs to institutionalize people's participation to improve household production systems (cattle rearing, mushroom cultivation, sericulture, bee-keeping etc.)

Programmes and Projects   

Major activities to implement the SARD policy are as follows:

  1. Development of crops based on regionally differentiated strategy
  2. Development of Horticultural crops
  3. Adequate and timely delivery of core inputs
  4. Integrated Pest Management
  5. Greater use of bio-fertilizers and bio-technology
  6. National Agricultural Technology Project
  7. Rained farming and Watershed Management
  8. Soil and Water Conservation
  9. Animal Husbandry and dairying
  10. Development of fisheries
  11. Agricultural research and education
  12. Development of Human resources

The major thrust of the agricultural development programmes in India is on improving the efficiency in 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 could increase the welfare of the farmers and agricultural labor. Balanced and integrated use of fertilizers, agricultural credit, institutional support, accelerated investments in agriculture, enhancing the competitiveness of agro-exports, creation of additional irrigation facilities etc. have been given encouragement through various schemes and activities of the Government of India.

A wide range of approaches have been employed to address problems of land degradation, some of which include:

Promotion and implementation of land use policy related to land base programme.

Coordination and regulation of programmes relating to land resources, conservation, management and development at State level.

Various Soil and Water Conservation Programmes have been launched in response to the need for conservation and rehabilitation of degraded land including:

Pests are an inevitable part of agriculture. So it is equally inevitable that humans have been attempting to find ways of reducing the pests¡¯ share of their crops. The threat posed by these pests has been perceived to be so great over the last 60-70 years that a process called the integrated pest management (IPM) has been developed in the name of crop protection. All three components including the pesticide promoters, the pesticide antagonists and the fence-sitting demanders of knowledge support IPM.

To alleviate the ill effects of pesticides, India has officially adopted IPM as its policy and is a prominent feature in recent Five Year Plans. In fact, among other nations in Asia, India was first to adopt the policy. One of the manifestations of this policy is the Central IPM Centre (CIPMC), of which there exists at least one in each state. Their functions include crop surveys, training the trainers of ¡®IPM farmers¡¯, and rearing natural control agents. Central efforts on plant protection are being targeted to popularise environment friendly IPM approach. Greater relevance is given to bio-control of pests under the IPM and human resources development.

On a broader scale, IPM is defined and explained in terms that encompass the farm families & their environment, and regional food security. The essential element for IPM includes one or more management activities that are carried out by farmers that result in the density of potential pest populations being maintained below levels at which they become pests, without endangering the productivity and profitability of the farming system as a whole, the health of the farm family and its livestock, and the quality of the adjacent and downstream environments.

Major steps towards safe and appropriate use of pesticides include:

Since 1992, 4391 farmers have been trained in IPM (information from States of West Bengal, Orissa, Kerala and Karnataka awaited). Crop types covered with IPM programmes are: package for 5 Kharif crops and 14 Rabi crops. Although many farmers practice IPM in India, the focus is mainly on rice. There is considerable scope to extend the movement to other crops grown in paddy fields and in non-irrigated and upland areas; in particular vegetables, groundnut, pulses, sugarcane, castor sunflower and other oilseeds, sorghum and cotton.

The benefits of IPM programmes include:

In India the average annual precipitation is nearly 4000 cubic km (km3) and the average flow in the river systems is estimated to be 1869 km3. Because of concentration of rains only in the 3 Monsoon months, the utilizable quantum of water is about 690 km3. Quantum of ground water extracted annually is-about 432 km3. Thus, on an average, 1122 km3 water is available for exploitation and is considered adequate to meet all the needs. However, the situation is complicated because this water is not uniformly available either spatially or temporally. Six of the 20 major river basins in India suffer from water scarcity. Water has already become one of the most limiting resources in the country. Solving scarcity of water both in quantity and quality, national programmes (Preventive & Mitigative Action Plans) have been launched to tackle the situation which include:

  1. Guidelines for Ground Water extraction and use.
  2. Contribution of ground water for irrigation as well as industrial use and drinking has been on the increase during the last two decades. Indiscriminate extraction of ground water already poses the threat of aquifers going dry in some parts of the country. The Central and State Ground Water Boards have, therefore, prepared Ground Water Availability Maps and prescribed extraction rates in a bid to ensure that extraction is balanced with recharge. The country has been ZONED depending upon whether water is available in plenty, or it has already become scarce in the region. Accurate determination of ground water reserves can be done through actual Bore Hole Data in a given region. Extraction of ground water is prohibited in some regions where water depletion has already become critical.

  3. Management of Lakes

Natural and man-made lakes happen to be a major source of water supply in many regions in India. Excessive siltation, variation in run-off and changing land use in the watersheds has contributed to depletion of these water bodies. The water quality in lakes is also affected by run-off loaded with fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides coupled with discharges from industries as well as human settlements. Major interventions for improving the lake systems in the country include Watershed Management, Dredging operations, emphasis on treatment of effluents before discharge into the lakes and disposal of solid wastes away from the shores of the lakes.

Water use efficiency is presently estimated to be only 38 to 40% for canal irrigation and about 60% for ground water irrigation schemes. India¡¯s per capita water availability per year (1991 census) was estimated at 2209 cubic metres against the global average of 9231 cubic metres. In the total water use in 1990, the share of agriculture was 83%, followed by domestic use (4.5%), industrial use (2.7%) and energy (3.5%). The remaining 6 per cent were for other uses including environmental requirements.

The projected total water demand by the year 2025 is around 1050 cubic kilometres against the country's utilisable water resources of 1132 cubic kilometres. The share of agriculture in total water demand by the year 2025 is expected to be about 74 to 75 per cent. Irrigation, being the major water user, its share in the total demand is bound to decrease from the present 83% to 74% due to more pressing and competing demands from other sectors by 2025 A.D. It is estimated that a 10% increase in the present level of water use efficiency in irrigation projects, an additional 14 m. ha area can be brought under irrigation from the existing irrigation capacities which would involve a very moderate investment as compared to the investment that would be required for creating equivalent potential through new schemes. Thus, the need to improve the present level of water use efficiency in general and for irrigation in particular assumes considerable significance in perspective water resource planning.

In order to promote the process of improvement in water management through upgrading of the main systems of selected irrigation schemes the National Water Management Project (NWMP), an externally aided project (EAP) was implemented during the period 1987-95. Now, the Ministry of Water Resources has initiated follow-up action on NWMP-II with an estimated cost of Rs.2880 crore for 7 years. In more recent times, the Water Resource Consolidation Project (WRCP) has been taken up in the States of Haryana, Orissa and Tamil Nadu, which envisages the completion of some major and medium irrigation projects and strengthening of institutions through Participatory Irrigation Management/Irrigation Management Transfer (PIM/IMT).

It is a fact that water logging has been observed in some of the irrigated commands and the same is adversely affecting the productivity in these areas. Integrated and coordinated development of surface and ground water is widely recognized as a most suitable strategy for irrigation development in alluvial plains. Gradual rise in water table and related problems of water logging and soil salinity/alkalinity have surfaced mainly because of the lack of drainage provision, improper waste management, inadequate maintenance etc.

Conjunctive use of surface and ground water will not only increase the irrigation potential, but also mitigate the problem of water logging. The technologies of irrigation from both surface and ground water may be integrated in a complementary manner, in order to achieve sustainable optimum agricultural production and equity. Such integration may be brought about in one or more of the following ways:

Considering the problem, reclamation of waterlogged areas has been included as a new component of CAD Programme since 01.04.1996. Ministry of Water Resources has organised two Workshops on the subject and held many training programmes to create awareness among functionaries and farmers. The Ministry has also constituted and Coordination Committee under the Chairmanship of Additional Secretary to look into the problem. A manual has also been developed to give technical input to States to identify the problem areas and take up preventive and remedial measures suitably. A total target of 60,000 ha. has been kept for reclamation of waterlogged areas during the Ninth Plan. The efforts of the Ministry got response from the States and they have identified the schemes, which have further been posed to the Ministry for concurrence. The Ministry has given administrative approval to129 schemes so far during 1998-99 and 1999-2000 covering an area of 39325.46 ha. The work has been taken up by the States and is likely to gain momentum to achieve the target of 60,000 ha during Ninth Plan.


Land, which is the most precious heritage and physical base of bio-mass production of life supporting systems is finite, and thus a non-renewable endowment. India's share of land is fixed at about 329 m. ha., which is heterogeneous in different parts and regions of the country with a definite set up, capabilities and suitability for different land resources. Conservation of land resources can promote sound land use to match with the land capabilities or suitability and to initiate correct land resources, development/ suitability in the country.

The agriculture sector has a vital place in the economic development of India as it contributes 29.4% of GDP and employs about 64% of the workforce. Significant strides towards ensuring food security have been made in agriculture production. Food grain production registered an annual growth rate of 3% from 1984-85 to 1994-95. The significant improvement in agriculture productivity has helped reduce rural poverty. Though capital formation in agriculture grew at the rate of 6.05% during 1989-90 to 1994-95, its share in the total gross capital formation declined to 10.85% from 18.86% in 1980-81 (using 1980-81 prices).

Food grain production increased from 168.4 million tonnes in 1991 to an expected level of 196.0 million tonnes in 1997, the terminal year of the Eighth Five Year Plan. Lack of any significant breakthrough in seed technology is perhaps one of the main reasons for the slow growth in good grain output during the nineties. The production of commercial crops like sugarcane 9,283 million tonnes), oilseeds (22.4 million tonnes), cotton (13.1 million bales) was at a record level in 1995-96. The organised upland tea and coffee plantations, the extensive and often dense coastal strips of coconut trees, and the subterranean tuber and root cops characterize the variegated nature of the horticultural potential in the country. The production of flowers has emerged as a promising area of high growth in recent years, particularly for its export potential. However, due to lack of technology and poor infrastructure support for handling, packing, processing and preservation, substantial post harvest losses of fruits and vegetables still characterize the horticulture sector.

The country's irrigation potential was 89.56 million ha by the end of 1996-97; comprising 32.96 million ha under major and medium projects, and 56.60 million ha under minor irrigation schemes. The domestic production of fertilizers falls short of requirements. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in India includes pest-monitoring promotion of biological control of pests, and organising demonstrations and training.

Animal Husbandry is an important source of self-employment and subsidiary occupation in rural and semi-urban areas, especially for people living in drought prone, hilly, tribal and other poorly developed areas, where crop production along may not fully sustain them. Exported agricultural products include food grains, tobacco, cashews, groundnuts, beverages, sugar, molasses, horticulture and floriculture products, processed fruits and juices, and meat preparations. India's share in the world trade in agricultural commodities is about 1%. Agricultural exports have received special attention from the Government because of the potential for raising farm incomes, tackling unemployment, and earning foreign exchanges. A number of policy changes have been introduced to give an impetus to agricultural exports.

Agriculture is now reckoned to be the largest consumer of water, accounting for some 80% of total water use. To maximize food supply for humanity, land irrigation has been practiced for centuries. Irrigation plays a large role in increasing arable production and cattle-breeding efficiency, with irrigated farming expected to continue to develop intensively in the future. Thus, irrigation has now become the principal water user. The irrigation potential was 22.6 million ha in 1951 with food production of 50 million tons. The food production has quadrupled now to about 200 million tons due to four-fold increase in irrigation potential at over 10 million ha. As recently reassessed by the Ministry of Water Resources the country¡¯s ultimate irrigation potential is tentatively estimated at 139.89 m. hectares, comprising 58.46 m. hectares of major & medium irrigation and 81.43 m. hectares of minor irrigation as against pre-revised ultimate irrigation potential of 113.50 m. ha. The full development of ultimate irrigation potential by construction of major, medium and minor irrigation projects by 2025 would be necessary to meet the food requirement of the projected population.

India is the second most populous nation in the world. 70% of the population of India, which is close to 700 million, still live in the rural areas. Meeting their energy requirements in a sustainable manner continues to be a major challenge for the country. Almost 75% of the total rural energy consumption is in the domestic sector. For meeting their cooking energy requirements, villagers depend predominantly on biomass fuels such as wood, animal dung and agricultural residues, often burnt in inefficient traditional cooking stoves. The main fuels used for lighting in the rural households are kerosene and electricity. Irrigation is mainly through electrical and diesel pump sets, while the rural industries and the transport sectors rely primarily on animal power and to some extent on commercial sources of energy like diesel and electricity.

Of the total energy consumption in the country, almost 60% is met by conventional energy sources and the rest is met by non-conventional and renewable energy sources. This energy use pattern has serious implications both on the environment as a whole as well as on the users. Fuel wood requirements have contributed to the degradation of forests. Degradation of forests has associated implications regarding CO2 sequestration. Further, this has led to villagers, especially women and children traveling longer distances and spending more time in collecting fuel wood, switching to inferior, fuels, and even altering food habits to reduce fuel consumption affecting the nutrition levels. Given the exploitation processes of natural resources, this situation is likely to worsen in the years to come. Rural energy systems are further strained by the inability of people to shift to commercial fuels like electricity, LPG and kerosene because of low purchasing powers and limited availability. The large subsidies on electricity for agriculture and kerosene have also been a cause of concern for energy planners.

To redress these problems, several efforts have been made both by governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations in the form of national programmes for rural electrification, and promoting renewable energy technologies like biogas, improved cooking stoves and solar cookers. However, in spite of the existence of these programmes for nearly two decades, their impact on the rural energy scenario has been limited. Over the last few years, in line with economic liberalization, there have been efforts towards bringing about commercialization implemented in the past two decades in order to formulate a meaningful rural energy policy at the national level.

The present supply-demand scenario indicates that biomass would continue to be the mainstay of the rural energy sector in the foreseeable future. The penetration of various commercial fuels will remain quite low, and at the present rate, it would take a long time for the RETs (Renewable Energy Technology) to make any significant impact on the sector. Therefore, any policy formulated to deal with rural energy will have to look for highly innovative options and make judicious investment choices.

The demand of pesticides for the year 1998-99 has been estimated to be around 57, 240 million tonnes. The overall availability of pesticides in India is satisfactory. The consumption of chemical fertilizers during the year 1997-98 was 161.88 lakh tons of nutrients. The consumption of nitrogen, phosphate and potash in fertilizers increased by 5.8%, 31.5% and 33.3% respectively, from 1997 to 98. During the same year the consumption of both Di-Ammonium Phosphate and Muriate of Potash were 53.76 and 17.29 lakh tonnes respectively. All chemical fertilizers except urea continue to be decontrolled.


It is estimated that about an average 16.75 to/ha/year of soil are lost through erosion every year in India i.e. more than 5,000 million tons of topsoil is eroded annually. A close look at the present health of the soil and water resources reveals their wanton misuse and degraded environment. Almost 173.64 m. ha. covering slightly half of the country, are threatened by various types of degradation such as salinity, alkalinity, water logged areas, ravinous and gullied lands, areas under ravages of shifting cultivation, desertification, etc. About 800 hectares of arable land are being lost annually due to ingress of ravines. There are specific problems of land degradation due to open cast mining operations using good productive land for brick kilns coastal erosion and seawater ingress, excessive erosion and land slides in the crumbling hill areas. Our forests and grasslands have been over exploited. Frequent occurrences of floods and droughts in different parts of the country are evidence of improper land use in the catchments and inadequate conservation of rainwater. The problem of land degradation has brought us face to face with the ever increasing depletion of the productivity and the basic land stock through nutrient deficiencies on the one hand and the ever growing demand for food, fodder, fiber, fuel, land based industrial raw materials and may non-farm land uses on the other hand.

Over the last two decades, there has been a considerable decline in the incidence of rural poverty. However, a large number of persons continue to live below the poverty line. Hence, there is a need for continued direct State intervention for the eradication of poverty. While the programmes for self-employment and supplementary wage employment would continue in the Ninth Five Year Plan, these would be redesigned to make them more effective as poverty alleviation instruments. They will also be integrated with various sectoral and area development programmes within the umbrella of the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).

There is urgent need to reduce the dependence on fertilizer imports by improving output and productivity in fertilizer production units. Improvements in energy efficiency in the fertilizer sector to reduce the cost of fertilizer production are significant. The promotion of a higher seed replacement rate will be emphasized. In the post General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) period, new plant variety protection rights make it necessary to augment facilities for the registration of varieties.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

Increased mechanization in agriculture has created demand for more trained manpower for the operation, maintenance, and management of agricultural machinery. The Government has set up Farm Machinery Training and Attesting Institutes to provide better quality equipment to farmers. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) plays a crucial role in promoting science and technology and its application in agriculture. A National Gene Bank, which is the biggest in Asia, has been opened in New Delhi.

The Training for Rural Youth for Self-Employment (TRYSEM) will be revamped in its design, curriculum and method of training in order to improve the employment opportunities of the poor. It will focus on activities in which the rural youth are already engaged and where there exists a potential for skill upgrading or else on activities, which would enhance production under group-cluster approach. The artisans in rural areas, despite their rich heritage and skills, belong to the poverty group. The existing programme aimed at upgrading their skills and improving their production capabilities, by supplying them with modern tool kits, would be strengthened and expanded in the Ninth Plan. This would facilitate enhancing the productivity and income levels of the rural artisans.

The Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA), which is based on a group approach, has been successful in empowering women and in improving their economic status in selected States. A mechanism for replicating the successful DWCRA groups will be sought. Thrift will be the starting point for the formation of SHGs. A greater integration of DWCRA with IRDP and ATRYSEM will be attempted to provide women's groups with greater access to financial resources and training.

Human resource development in plant protection and various disciplines of pesticides is being achieved by organising regular and short term training programmes at National Plant Protection Training Institute, Hyderabad.


National information on sustainable agriculture is made available to decision-makers, advisory organizations and farmers via the Internet: The government of India has initiated the following activities with regard to analysis and collection of information on various production systems and technologies.

The I. T. Division, Ministry of Agriculture, GOI provides world-class services in terms of information and communication relating to agriculture nationally and internationally. Networking of information right from the level of farmers and the village/ block to district headquarters on the one hand and the Central Government Departments and the Attached & Subordinate Offices as well as other autonomous organisations, non-Government organisations etc. on the other is being established for maximising efficiency and productivity. This is being done by facilitating availability of information with speed, quality and economy in every area connected with agricultural productivity e.g. fertiliser, insecticides pest attack, drought and other natural disasters, marketing, storage, pricing etc. The effort will be to bring about qualitative change in management of agriculture through information management with the help of the latest information technology.  A programme to support early warning systems for monitoring food supply and other associated factors in both urban and rural areas, a programme has been launched to Strengthen the Information Technology apparatus in the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation. The objectives of the programme is to provide I.T. tools to officers in agriculture departments in their day-to-day working and to have a National Agriculture Informatic Centre as reservoir of all data relating to agriculture and to set up an Early Warning Information System for crop monitoring and forecasting on day-to-day basis. The scheme provides for:

Research and Technologies 

Research efforts will be accelerated through biotechnology, micro-biology, genetic improvement of crops including hybrid technology, genetic up gradation of animal harvest technology, etc. In agricultural education, the thrust will be on human resource development through upgraded teaching facilities. The existing infrastructure for technology transfer will be made more effective and responsive to meet farmers needs.

Farm Mechanisation programmes of the Government have been directed towards selective mechanisation with the aim of optimum utilisation of the available sources of farm power. The programmes emphasises popularisation of improved and modern agricultural implements and machines through various Schemes. Farmers have been provided financial assistance for owning tractors and other improved agricultural implements and machines. The infrastructure for human resource development, and for testing and evaluation of agricultural implements/machines has been established. The emphasis has also been laid on the safety of farmers in operation of agricultural machines. The programmes have resulted in the increased adoption of improved farm machines and equipment by the farmers.

The Ninth Plan programmes give a special thrust to a sustainable and all-round agricultural development in the country through a pragmatic farm mechanisation strategy for the different agro-climatic zones of the country. The main features of different schemes of agricultural implements and Machinery Division are given below:

To supplement the efforts of State Governments for increasing the production and productivity, six Centrally-Sponsored and one Center-sector schemes are being implemented by the Crops Division of the Ministry of Agriculture in different States. Under these schemes, emphasis is being laid on the transfer of improved crop production technologies through organization of field demonstrations on farmer holdings and farmer trainings. Additionally, to motivate the farmers to adopt the improved crop production technologies incentives are being provided through the respective schemes on the use of inputs like certified seeds/quality seeds, improved farm implements, sprinkler/drip irrigation system etc. Such programmes include:

Over the last 12000 years of evolution of agriculture practices, the Science & Technology inputs have only succeeded in evolving just about 10% of the genetic stock found in the wild into palatable and higher yielding cereals, fruits and vegetables. Food security demands that the remaining 90% of the stock should be preserved firstly, for developing additional higher yielding varieties to feed the increasing population, and secondly, to protect and provide immunity to the existing higher yielding varieties when they are under attack from insects, pests and epidemics.

Realising the importance of Genetic Stock for food security, the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources of ICAR has long been identifying areas rich in bio-diversity and Gene Pool for cereals, fruits and vegetables. We need to protect our rich heritage of herbs, shrubs & medicinal plants. Bio-Banks created have seed as well as tissue samples of the requisite crops. In light of the International Convention on Bio-diversity to which India is a signatory, "Recombinant DNA safety Guidelines" for personnel and environmental safety in the use of genetically manipulated organisms in research, manufacture and applications have been evolved. Declaration of eco-sensitive zones, introduction of the National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan (BSAP) and other initiatives are further steps towards conservation & sustainable use of biological resources.


The funding of major programmes are done mainly through the national budget. A public sector outlay of Rs. 42642 crore (at 1996-96 prices) has been earmarked for development of agriculture and allied activities in the Ninth Plan.

The emphasis on agricultural credit has continued to be on progressive institutionalization for providing timely and adequate credit support to farmers with particular focus on small and marginal farmers and weaker sections of society for increasing agricultural production and productivity. The Government of India has taken many policy initiatives for strengthening the rural credit delivery system to support the growing credit needs of the agricultural and rural sectors. The Policy essentially laid emphasis on augmenting credit flow at the ground level through credit planning, adoption of region-specific strategies and rationalization of lending policies and procedures to enable the farmers to adopt modern technology and improved agricultural practices.


India is a signatory to several International Conventions like CITES, International Whaling Convention (IWC); Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the World Heritage Convention (WHC).

Establishment of a Protected Areas Network, under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, comprising of Biosphere Reserves, National Parks and Sanctuaries, both terrestrial and aquatic, has been a positive step towards conservation of animal genetic resources. This Network today comprises of 10 Biosphere Reserves, 89 National Parks, 504 Sanctuaries, along with dedicated conservation programmes such as Project Tiger, Crocodile Rehabilitation and project Elephant. India has recently taken the lead in the formation of the Global Tiger Forum. The Central Zoo Authority caters to the ex-situ conservation of wildlife through 275 zoos, deer parks, safari parks and aquaria, etc.

Effective measures for control of illegal trade in wildlife and its products at national and international level, both through the States/UTs as well as Regional Offices of Wildlife Preservation under Ministry of Environment and Forests have been taken. Wildlife Week was celebrated from 2nd to 8th October 1998 all over India. Various functions for generating awareness about wildlife conservation were held by the State/UT Governments. During the week, essay competitions, debates, clay modeling, free trips to national parks and sanctuaries, drawing competitions etc. were organised. The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) organised three courses and 46 officers and students were trained during the year. Efforts to build-up professional skills in Protected Area Management through training of professional managers for protected areas through training of professional cadre in all aspects of wildlife are continuing the WII.


* * * 

This information was provided by the government of India to the 5th and 8th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: February 2000.

For the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, click here.
For information on agriculture in the 1997 Economic Survey, click here.
For country reports on Plant Genetic Resources, click here.
To access the FAOSTAT Data Base for information by country, item, element and year, click here:
Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.
Click here to link to Country and Sub-regional Information on Plant Genetic Resources of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.
Click here to go to Web Site of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which includes information on the Codex Alimentarius and the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme.
Click here to access the Web Site of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).
Click here to access the sixteen international agricultural research centers that are members of the CGIAR.

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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

Environmental  problems and issues received special attention of the Government of India during the beginning of the Fourth Five Year Plan. As a follow-up step, a National Committee of Environmental Planning and Co-ordination (NCEPC) was set up in 1972 under the Department of Science and Technology. A separate Empowered Committee was set up in 1980 for reviewing the existing legislative measures and administrative machinery for ensuring environmental protection and for recommending ways to strengthen them.

On the recommendations of this Empowered Committee, a separate Department of Environment was set up in 1980 which was subsequently upgraded to a full-fledged Ministry of Environment and Forests in 1985 to serve as the focal point in the administrative structure of the Government of India for the planning, promotion and co-ordination of environmental and forestry programmes. Other Government partners in carrying out environmental protection activities include:

The Government of India has entrusted the work relating to Ozone layer Protection and phase out of the  Ozone depleting substances programme under the Montreal Protocol to the Ministry of Environment and Forests. 

There are several inter ministerial committees and working groups to coordinate issues relating to policy and legislation . In  case of implementation of the Montreal Protocol the Empowered Steering Committee consists of members from the Ministry of Science and Technology and other line Ministries.  The Ministry of Environment and Forests has set up an Ozone Cell as a national unit to implement the Protocol and the Ozone Depleting Substances phase out programme in India. 

The decisions related to Ozone Depleting Substances phase-out and protection of Ozone Layer are being taken at the Central Government level. The Government of India frequently consults NGO's research organizations and regional expertise as and when needed.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations   

India's approach towards implementation of the UNFCC and associated environmental parameters is covered within policy declarations:

·        the  National Conservation Strategy and policy statement on Environment and development (1992) and the policy statement on abatement of pollution (1992) for regulating various environmental parameters;

·        In addition various other enactments such as Air pollution (prevention and control ) Act 1981 amended in 1987 and Motor Vehicles Act 1939, amended in 1988;

·        the  Forest Conservation Act amended in 1988 contribute significantly towards minimizing the causes of climate change.

·        The Environmental Protection Act 1986 is an umbrella legislation and it also empowers the government to formulate statutory rules for fulfilling various requirements.

·        Further EIA has been made statutory for various developmental activities and the Coastal Resource Zones notification (1991) provides guidelines for protection and management of coastal zones.

India has taken a series of fiscal and regulatory measures to facilitate Ozone Deleting Substances (ODS) phase out in the country.  Trade in ODS with non-Parties to the Montreal Protocol has been banned.  Harmonized classifications of commodity codes consistent with the international system have been introduced.  Controlled substances under the Protocol have been brought under the ambit of licenses for the purpose of export and import.  The Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 under the Environment Protection Act 1986 have been notified to Control and phase out production and consumption of Ozone Depleting Substances in order to comply with the Montreal Protocol. 

The Government decided in 1995 to fully exempt payment of Customs and Excise Duties on capital goods required to implement ODS phase out projects funded by the multi lateral funding(MLF).  This benefit was later extended for all MLF eligible projects whether or not MLF assistance was requested/available at the time of implementation of ODS phase out project.  The Reserve Bank of India advised all commercial banks in September 1997 not to finance/refinance new investments with ODS technologies.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The following is an overview of the  strategy for prevention and control of pollution:-

The policy statement on Abatement of Pollution, adopted in 1992, provides instruments in the form of legislation and regulation, fiscal incentives, voluntary agreements, educational programmes and information campaigns to prevent and control pollution of water, air and land. Since the adoption of the policy statement, the focus of activities has been on issues such as promotion of clean and low waste technologies, waste water minimization, reuse/recycling, improvement of water quality, environment audit, natural resource accounting, development of mass-based standards as well as  institutional and human resource development. The  issue of pollution prevention and control entails a combination of command and control methods; voluntary regulatory and  fiscal measures; promotion of awareness and involvement of public.

To facilitate industries in preparing environmental statements, sector-specific environmental audit manuals have been prepared. A software package, Paryavaran, along with a user manual has been prepared for analysis of information submitted in these environmental statements and distributed to all the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCB). Training programmes are also being organized for officials of Central Pollution Control Boards (CPCB) and SPCB to enable them to use the software.

An “Eco-mark” label has been introduced to label consumer products that are environment-friendly. Nineteen products have been identified for labeling and 18 notifications have been issued so far on different products criteria. The Bureau of India Standards (BIS)/Directorate of Marketing and Inspection (DMI) is the implementing agency for this scheme. So far one license has been granted by the BIS to a product under the soaps category. Under the scheme for adoption of clean technology in small-scale industries and for extending necessary technical support, training and awareness programmes for personnel in Small Industry Development Organization and for entrepreneurs are being organized. ‘From Waste to Profits’, a manual giving guidelines for waste minimization, has been prepared. Sector-specific manuals on waste minimization in the areas of pulp and paper, pesticides formulations and textiles, dyeing and printing and electroplating, have also been prepared.

Waste Minimization Circles (WMCs) are being established to promote group efforts in increasing productivity and improving the environmental conditions in small and medium-scale industries through adoption of waste minimization techniques. Fifteen Waste Minimisation Circles have been established so far in different industrial clusters across the country.         

An Indian Centre for the Promotion of Cleaner Technologies (ICPC) with a network of institutions including industries, academic institutions and other user agencies is being set up for which the World Bank has provided $2 million as grant-in-aid. The Centre will provide evaluated and ranked technology options to entrepreneurs.

Indian Forestry  policy 

India is one of the few countries which have a forest policy since 1894. It was revised in 1952 and again in 1988. The main plank of the Forestry Policy  of 1988 is protection, conservation and development of forest. Its aims are:

(i) maintenance of environmental stability through preservation and restoration of ecological balance;

(ii) conservation of natural heritage;

(iii) check soil erosion and denudation in catchments area of rivers, lakes and reservoirs;

(iv) check extension of sand dunes in desert areas of Rajasthan   and along coastal tracts; 

(v) substantial increase in forest tree cover through afforestation and social forestry programmes;

(vi) steps to meet requirements of fuel wood, fodder, minor forest produce and soil timber of rural and tribal populations; (vii) increase in productivity of forest to meet the national needs;

(viii) encouragement of efficient utilization of forest produce and optimum substitution of wood and

(ix) steps to create massive people’s movement with involvement of women to achieve the objectives and minimize pressure on existing forests.

The entire gamut of forest activities are being given a new orientation in the light of the National Forest Policy of 1988. In order to operationalise the National Forest Policy 1988, a National Forestry Action Programme (NFAP) is being prepared. As a part of this exercise State Forestry Action Programmes are also being prepared for each State.

Under the provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, prior approval of the Central government is required for diversion of forest lands for non-forest purposes. Since the enactment of the Act, the rate of diversion of forest land has come down to around 25,000 hectares per annum from 0.143 million hectares per annum, before1980. During 1998, 851 proposals from various State and UT governments were processed under this Act.        

A scheme titled ‘Association of Scheduled Tribes and Rural Poor in Regeneration of Degraded Forests on Usufruct Sharing Basis’ is under implementation in nine States of the country. Besides improving the forest cover, the scheme also aims at providing wage employment and usufructs to the tribal people. Joint Forest Management (JFM) is being practiced in 21 States of the country. About 7 million hectares of degraded forests in the country are being managed and protected through approximately 35,000 village Forest Protection Committees .

Central Pollution Control Board

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) is the national apex body for assessment, monitoring and control of water and air pollution. The executive responsibilities for enforcement of the Acts for Prevention and Control of Pollution of Water (1974) and Air (1981) and also of the Water (Cess) Act, 1977 are carried out through the Board. The CPCB advises the Central Government in all matters concerning the prevention and control of air, water and noise pollution and provides technical services to the Ministry of Environment and forests for implementing the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. Under this Act, effluent and emission standards in respect of 61 categories of industries have been notified.

Seventeen categories of heavily polluting industries have been identified. They are: cement, thermal power plant, distilleries, sugar, fertilizer, integrated iron and steel, oil refineries, pulp and paper, petrochemicals, pesticides, tanneries, basic drugs and pharmaceuticals, dye and dye intermediates, caustic soda, zinc smelter, copper smelter and aluminum smelter. Out of a total of 1,551 units identified under these 17 categories, 1,266 units have installed adequate facilities for pollution control and 130 units have been closed down.            

The Central Pollution Control Board, in consultation with State Pollution Control Boards, has identified critically polluted areas in the country which need special attention for control of pollution. These are: Vapi (Gujarat), Singrauli (Uttar Pradesh), Korba, Ratlam, Nagda (Madhya Pradesh), Digboi (Assam), Talcher (Orissa), Bhadravati (Karnataka), Howrah (West Bengal), Dhanbad (Bihar), Pali and Jodhpur (Rajasthan), Manali and North Arcot (Tamil Nadu), Visakhapatnam and Patancheru, (AndhraPradesh), Chembur (Maharashtra), Najafgarh (Delhi), Govindgarh (Punjab), Udyog Mandal (Kerala) and Parwanoo and Kala Amb (Himachal Pradesh).               

The CPCB in collaboration with the SPCBs monitors the quality of fresh water resources of the country through a network of 480 monitoring stations located all over the country. Based on such monitoring, 13 heavily polluted and 26 medium-polluted river stretches have been identified. Under the National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring programme, 290 stations covering over 90 towns/cities monitor the ambient air quality of the country.

The Central and State Pollution Control Boards regularly conduct surveys in different cities of the country pertaining to vehicular and noise pollution, sanitation status, status of solid waste, etc. A survey on the status of solid waste conducted in 299 Class I cities of the country indicates that 62 per cent of the total solid waste generated in the country comes from the 23 metro cities of the country. The average per capita generation of solid waste for Class I cities is about 376 gms per person per day.                

A total of 1,532 grossly polluting industries in 24 States/Union Territories have been identified under the National River Action Plan. Comprehensive River Basin Documents for the rivers Ulhas, Brahmaputra, Pennar, Indus Part II, Rishkulya and Chaliyar are being prepared by the Board. The Central Pollution Control Board has a NGO Cell for interacting with NGOs. Simple water-testing kits are distributed free of cost to selected NGOs and financial assistance provided to them for conducting mass awareness programmes relating to prevention and control of pollution.

The White Paper on status of pollution in Delhi with an Action Plan for its control prepared earlier is being implemented. The Action Plan contains specific measures for control of pollution relating to vehicular pollution, water pollution, industrial air pollution, solid waste, hospital wastes, industrial hazardous wastes, noise pollution and people’s participation in making Delhi a cleaner city. Directions have been issued by the National Capital Territory of Delhi for imposing restrictions on all commercial vehicles in Delhi in a time-bound programme beginning from April 1998. Based on the recommendations of a National Level Committee on Noise Pollution, directions have been issued to the State governments to check noise pollution from bursting of crackers. There is also a plan to introduce higher parking fees, to augment parking spaces in the city of Delhi and to introduce no traffic zones.

A detailed India Country Programme for phase out of Ozone Depicting Substances (ODS) was prepared in 1993 to ensure the phase out of ODS according to the national industrial development strategy, without undue burden to the consumers and the industry and for accessing the Protocol's financial mechanism in accordance with the requirements stipulated in the Montreal Protocol.  At present, an exercise is underway in consultation with CII to update the country programme.

The main objectives of the Country Programme has been to minimize economic dislocation as a result of conversion to non-ODS technology, maximize indigenous production, give preference to one-time replacement, emphasize decentralized management and minimize obsolescence.

Environmental Impact Assessment  

Impact assessment is a pointer to the environmental compatibility of the projects in terms of their location, suitability of technology, efficiency in resource utilization, recycling and so on. Impact assessment was introduced in India in 1978 and now covers projects such as:

(a)   (i) river valley; (ii) thermal power; (iii) mining; (iv) industries; (v) atomic power; (vi) rail, road, highways, bridges; (vii) ports and harbors; (viii) airports; (ix) new towns and (x) communication projects;

(b)   those which require the approval of the Public Investment Board/Planning Commission/Central Electricity Authority;

(c)   those referred to the Ministry of Environment and Forests by other ministries;

(d)   those which are sensitive and located in environmentally degraded areas; and

(e)   public sector undertakings of the Centre where the project cost is more than Rs 500 million.

A notification issued in January 1994 makes Environmental Impact Assessment statutory for 29 categories of developmental projects under various sectors such as industrial, mining, irrigation, power, transport, tourism, communication, etc. The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification was amended in 1997 to provide for public hearing as well as for empowering State governments for according environmental clearance in respect of certain Thermal Power Projects. As per the provisions of the EIA Notification 1994, mining projects are subject to environmental clearance.

However, it has been now decided to exempt prospecting through aerial survey and/ or test drilling in smaller areas from mandatory clearances. Applications complete in every material aspect are normally examined and decision conveyed to the applicants within 30 days in cases of site clearance and 120 days in cases of environmental clearance of projects. Once an application has been submitted by the project authority, the preliminary scrutiny of the project is done by the respective technical divisions and the overall appraisal of the projects is undertaken by specially constituted environmental appraisal committees of experts. In addition, special groups/committees and task forces are constituted as and when needed for expert inputs on major projects. After detailed scrutiny and assessment, the appraisal committee makes its recommendations for approval or rejection of the project. To ensure transparency, the position of forest and environmental clearance has been  brought out on website: httpc/ since February 1999.

Depending on the nature of the project, certain safeguards are recommended. For monitoring and timely implementation of safeguards suggested, six regional offices of the Ministry have been set up at Shillong, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Bangalore, Lucknow and Bhopal.

Ozone Cell

India acceded to the Montreal Protocol, along with its London Amendment in 1992. To meet the country’s commitment on ODS phase-out under the protocol and to disseminate information on ozone and ODS, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has established an Ozone Cell. A newsletter on ozone issues is being published by the Cell every two months and a number of workshops and seminars are also conducted to create awareness about ozone among industries. UNEP-IE Ozone Action Programme, Paris held its first south-Asia ODS officers Network Meeting in Delhi.

The Government provides custom/excise duty exemption for ODS phase-out projects and detailed guidelines/procedures have been finalized to grant duty exemption for new investments with non-ODS technologies. A policy to issue licenses for import of ODS has been implemented and the Reserve Bank of India, on the recommendation of the Ministry, has issued instructions to all commercial banks prohibiting finance or refinance of new investments with ODS technologies. One hundred seventy seven projects worth about US $ 49 million have been approved for India by the Multilateral Fund under the convention.

Trade in ODS with non-Parties has been banned. Imports and exports of ODS have been licensed. Exports of Chloro Fluro Carbons (CFCs) to developed countries has been stopped. Rules on Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) phase-out were published on 9 May 1998 in the Gazette of India. The Policy to issue licenses for imports of ODS has been implemented.

The country thus has a  strategy to phase out ODS by 2010 with minimum economic dislocation, and give preference to one-time replacement. 

Short term Various ongoing programmes of energy efficiency and renewables other strategy highlights include:-

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

All the major groups are actively involved in the policy making process and decision making members from Business and industry, Scientific and Technical community, NGO's and women groups are  members of the Empowered Steering Committees and various other advisory Committees.  All groups have been affected. The insurance sector does not have a compensation package as yet for climate change.

Programmes and Projects   

·        Fiscal measures have been taken by extending full exemption of duties (Customs and Excise) on goods required substitution of ODS and for establishment of new capacity with non-ODS technology.

·        The Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 have been notified.

·        225 ODS phase out projects have been approved by the Multilateral Fund to phase out 8600 ODP tones in India.

·        Funding has also been approved for gradual phase out of production of CFCs. 

The National Conservation Strategy and Policy Statement on Environment and Development, adopted by the Government of India in June 1992, lays down strategies and actions for integration of environmental considerations in the development activities of various sectors of the country, thus paving the way for achieving sustainable development. The action points pertaining to individual ministries/departments ensure that they take action for reorienting their policies and programmes in conformity with the strategy. The activities for increase of forest covers and preservation of various kinds of eco systems eco systems are described below

Biosphere Reserves

Biosphere reserves are multi-purpose protected areas to preserve the genetic diversity in representative eco-systems. The major objectives of biosphere reserves are: (i) to conserve diversity and integrity of plants, animals and micro-organisms; (ii) to promote research on ecological conservation and other environmental aspects and (iii) to provide facilities for education, awareness and training. So far eleven biosphere reserves have been set up.

They are (i) Nilgiri; (ii) Nanda Devi; (iii) Nokrek; (iv) Great Nicobar; (v) Gulf of Mannar; (vi) Manas; (vii) Sunderbans; (viii) Similipal; (ix) Dibru Saikhowa; (x) Dehong Deband and (xi) Pachmarhi.   Comprehensive guidelines for them emphasize formulation of eco-development and demonstration projects, development of data-base, conservation plans of key species, establishment of research stations and implementation of social welfare activities. Non-governmental organizations are being involved in the biosphere reserve programme for creation of public awareness .

Wetlands, Mangroves and Coral Reefs

India has a wealth of wetland eco-systems distributed in different geographical regions from the cold arid zone of Ladakh in the North to the wet humid climate of Imphal in the East, the warm arid zone of Rajasthan in the West to the tropical monsoon Central India and the wet and humid zone of Southern Peninsula. Most of the wetlands in India are directly or indirectly linked with major river systems such as Ganga, Brahmaputra, Narmada, Tapti, Godavari, Krishna, and Cauveri. A National Level Committee constituted to advise the Government on appropriate policies and measures to be taken for conservation and management of the wetlands, has so far identified 20 wetlands for conservation and management on priority basis. Steering Committees have been set up by the concerned State governments in which representatives of State government departments, universities and research institutions are included. Nodal research/academic institutions have been identified for each of the selected wetlands. Management Action Plans have been drawn up for most of the identified wetlands.

A directory on wetlands in India has been published which gives information on location, area and ecological categorization of wetlands in different parts of the country. India  is a signatory to the Convention on Wetlands of international importance, especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention) and six Indian Wetlands, viz., Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur and Sambar (Rajasthan), Chilka(Orissa), Loktak (Manipur), Wullar (Jammu & Kashmir), and Harike (Punjab) have been designated under this Convention. Mangroves are salt-tolerant forest ecosystems found mainly in the tropical and sub-tropical inter-tidal regions of the world. They are reservoirs of a large number of plant and animal species associated together over a long evolutionary period and exhibiting remarkable capacity for salt tolerance. They stabilize the shoreline and act as a bulwark against encroachments by the sea.

India harbors some of the best mangroves in the world and these occur all along the Indian coastline in sheltered estuary, tidal creeks, backwaters, salt marshes and mud flats covering a total area of 4,827 sq km. Under the scheme on Conservation and Management of Mangroves, 15 mangrove areas have been identified for intensive conservation and management purposes: Northern Andaman and Nicobar, Sunderbans (West Bengal), Bhitarkanika (Orissa), Coringa, Godavari Delta and Krishna Estuary (Andhra Pradesh), Mahanadi Delta (Orissa), Pitchavaram and Point Calimer (Tamil Nadu), Goa, Gulf of Kutch (Gujarat), Coondapur (Karnataka), Achra/ Ratnagiri (Maharashtra) and Vembanad (Kerala).

Management action plans for all the 15 mangrove areas have been sanctioned. Coral reefs are shallow-water tropical marine ecosystems, characterized by high biomass production and rich floral and faunal diversity. Four coral areas, Gulf of Mannar, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep Islands and Gulf of Kuchch have been identified for conservation and management. State-level steering committees have been constituted for the formulation and implementation of management action plans. Such action plans have been sanctioned for Andaman and Nicobar and Gulf of Mannar coral reefs so far.

The objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) are: the conservation of Biological Diversity; the sustainable use of its component and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources. Following the ratification of the Convention on Biological Diversity by India in 1994, several steps have been initiated both to meet the commitments under the Convention and to realize the opportunities offered by the CBD. A draft National Action Plan on Biodiversity has been finalized which seeks to consolidate the on-going efforts of conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and to establish a policy and programme regime for the purpose. A legislation on bio-diversity is also under finalization. India regularly participates in important international conventions on Biological Diversity.

The problem of C02 emissions is a major concern to the Indian energy sector where coal accounts for over 60% of total energy resources used. In order to minimize C02 emissions, efforts are underway to improve efficiency levels in the generation and use of energy. In addition, renewable energy technologies and afforestation measures to increase the "carbon sink" function are being promoted. Coal India Limited (CIL), a holding company of seven coal producing companies, coordinates the implementation of sustainable development programmes in the Indian Coal Sector. There is a special focus on ensuring conservation of coal sources during exploitation and use, and conserving energy in the production and transportation of coal.

As sugar is a major industry in India, the potential for power generation through bagasse based co-generation is estimated at 3,500 MW. The programme will set up capacity for the generation of 300 MW based on bagasse within the next three years. Demonstration projects on biomass based power generation units are being carried out at the block level. The projects use locally available biomass including agro-waste for power generation. Several programmes for the recovery of energy from urban, municipal, and industrial wastes, and alternate energy for transportation, and tapping of ocean energy have also been initiated.


Preliminary assessment of the Indian coast and its vulnerability to sea level rise reveal that in terms of the total number of people at risk is 7.1 million persons on a nationwide basis. The simulation studies for wheat showed that an increase in temperature to 4c caused a severe decrease in yield. Impact in general is being evaluated and assessed regularly. 

Current Indian gross Carbon dioxide emissions on a per capita basis is merely 1/6th of the world average.

Fresh land availability is sparse as already 4% of the geographic area is under nature reserves / forest land. The Dep’t of Space in India has mapped the entire country on a 1:1million scale to identify various land use categories. This study has shown that wasteland area is around 53.3 mn hectares . The remote sensing forestry data can be used for GHG sink development and  impact assessment of land use change .

The consumption of CFC has been reduced to 60% of the base-level consumption.  Use of halon has been reduced to 20% of the consumption of the base-year.

Preliminary studies on the impact of a rise in sea level of 1 mm on the Indian coastline indicate that 0.41% of India's coastal area will be inundated. Some studies suggest that as the greenhouse effect gains strength, the cyclones will become more frequent and more destructive making island archipelagos such as Lakshadweep highly vulnerable. The danger of frequent storms which generally originate in the Bay of Bengal is, however, higher in the Andamans and Nicobar than Lakshadsweep. Also, as sea level rises, the fresh water aquifers of the islands will be subjected to saline intrusion.

The total installed power capacity in India is 80,000 MW with a per capita consumption of about 300 KWHours/year. Thermal and conventional hydro power contribute about 96% of the total installed capacity. India has a total renewable energy potential of about 126,000 MW (wind 20,000 MW, micro-hydro 10,000 MW, biomass/bioenergy 17,000 MW, ocean thermal power 50,000 MW, tidal power 9,000 MW, and sea wave power 20,000 MW). In addition, India receives a total solar insulation of the equivalent of 5 times 101 KWHours/year. Besides the potential energy that can be derived from these sources, there is a drive to achieve the target of installing 12 million family type biogas plants and 120 million improved cookstoves that will support the cause of energy conservation. Several major renewable energy programmes are being undertaken in these areas across the nation. Over 2.2 million biogas plants and 22 million improved wood stoves have been installed in rural and remote areas resulting in the saving of the equivalent of 21 million tonnes of fuel wood per annum. Moreover, the biogas plants are producing about 30 million tonnes of enriched organic manure per annum.

Power plants of 15-100 MW capacity based on biomass are being established and bio-fuels used to generate electricity and for thermal application. So far over 1,500 biomass gasifiers with aggregate capacity equivalent to 16 KW have been set up. Considering the resources available in the country in the form of agricultural residue, agro-industrial residue, and wasteland for energy plantations, the total exploitable energy potential in the country has been estimated at about 17,000 MW.

In order to meet the basic lighting requirements in rural and semi-urban areas, about 32,000 solar street lights, 30,000 domestic lights, and 37,000 solar lanterns have been made available. Solar photovoltaic systems are also being used for a variety of other applications in rural areas. A total of about 1.25 solar photovoltaic systems with a total capacity of 14 MW have been installed under the programme. The projects are expected to add 202 MW to installed capacity.


The metros and other big cities of the  country are the worst affected chiefly because of  lopsided urban planning and incorrect location of industrial units.  However, a strategy for corrective action has been initiated.

The more vulnerable weaker sections of society find it more difficult to cope.

Lack of new and additional financial resources as per the provisions of UNFCC

Lack of transfer of ESTs to India by the developed world countries on grant / preferential/ confessional terms

India’s efforts at protecting the ozone layer are guided by the need to integrate environmental protection with development while formulating policy and implementing programmes.  The objectives of the ozone depleting substances (ODS) phase-out need to be achieved with minimum economic dislocation and minimum obsolescence costs.  Indigenous production of products and substitutes require encouragement, and technological choices need to be carefully made.  The special requirements of small and medium enterprises will be addressed.  This many be achieved by a mix of instruments that include information dissemination, fiscal measures, regulations, etc.  The implementation of ODS phase-out programmes will however be contingent upon the availability of assistance, including technology, from the Multilateral Fund.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

Education, Awareness and Information

Priority is accorded by the Ministry of Environment and Forests to promote environmental education, create environmental awareness among various age-groups and to disseminate information through Environmental Information System (ENVIS) network to all concerned. A major initiative to include environment education as a separate and compulsory subject in the educational curricula has been taken by the Ministry at all levels of formal education, i.e., secondary, senior secondary and tertiary levels. A discussion paper prepared on strengthening environment education was presented by the Minister for Environment and Forests at the State Education Ministers’ Conference held from 22 to 24 October 1998. The paper was adopted by the Conference. The Chief Ministers were urged to introduce environment education in the school curricula from the 1999-2000 academic session. Maharashtra is the first State to introduce the subject in the school curriculum.

Paryavaran Vahinis (environment launch-vehicle) are proposed to be constituted in 194 selected districts all over the country which have a high incidence of pollution and density of tribal and forest population. The Vahinis also play a watch-dog role by reporting instances of environmental pollution, deforestation and  poaching. They function under the charge of District Collectors, with the active cooperation of the State/Union Territory governments. This scheme is entirely financed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests. Seven Centres of Excellence have been set up by the Ministry to strengthen awareness, research and training in priority areas of Environmental Science and Management. These are: Centre for Ecological Sciences, Bangalore; Centre for Mining Environment, Dhanbad; Centre for Environmental Education, Ahmedabad; CPR Environmental Education Centre, Chennai; Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Coimbatore; the Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems, Delhi, and the Tropical Botanical Garden and Research Institute, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

The National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) set up in New Delhi in 1978,is concerned with the promotion of non-formal education in the area of environment and conservation. Besides permanent exhibit galleries on various aspects of environment, the museum also conducts temporary exhibitions and a large number of educational programmes and activities for school children, college youth and the general public. Three Regional Museums of Natural History have been established at Mysore, Bhopal and Bhubaneswar.

The Indian Council for Forestry Research and Education is the focal point for forestry education and extension development in the country. The Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy, Dehra Dun, imparts in-service professional training to Indian Forest Service (IFS) professionals. State forest service colleges provide training to the officers of the State Forest Service (SFS). The Indian Plywood Industries Research and Training Institute, Bangalore, organizes short-term courses in the area of wood science. The Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal, also provides training in forest management and allied subjects to persons from the Indian Forest Service, forest development corporations, and forest-related industries to develop forestry programmes. The Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, provides in-service training to forest officers, wildlife ecologists and other professionals for conservation and management of the wildlife resources of the country.

Ozone Layer Protection

Information dissemination package for school teachers and NGOs prepared by Centre for Environment Education was launched on 16th September, 1998 and distributed in four workshops organized in Calcutta, Delhi, Pune and Chennai in November-December, 1998.  This kit has been developed in consultation with the UNEP-DTIE office in Paris.

Painting Competitions are being organized by the Ozone Cell.  An Indian entry won the prize in the international competition organized by UNEP in 1999.  A National Painting Competition has been organized on the occasion of Sixty International Ozone Day, 16th September, 2000.

A car sticker is being brought out for distribution every year on the International Ozone Day.

Ozone-friendly equipment and products are being exhibited during 16-18th September every year.  A similar exhibition is being held on the occasion of the International Ozone Day, 2000.

An information kit on Ozone Science and Ozone layer has been prepared by Centre for Environment Education, Ahmedabad. Chapters on pollution and environmental issues are part of the curriculum.

Several training programmes are being organized on a regular basis. India is a member of WMO and is participating in various international research programmes on systematic observation atmosphere and ocean through IMD/ DST New Delhi.


The India Meteorological Department (IMD) was established in 1875. It is the National Meteorological Service and the principal government agency in all matters relating to meteorology, seismology and allied subjects. The Department has units all over the country engaged in collecting meteorological and seismological data besides providing various meteorological services. Its main objective is to provide meteorological information for weather sensitive activities like aviation, shipping, agriculture, irrigation, off-shore oil exploration and industries. The Department also issues warnings against severe weather phenomena like cyclones, dust-storms, heavy rains, cold and heat waves that cause destruction of life and property. Besides, it also provides climatological information, records earthquakes and promotes research in meteorology. The Department maintains an extensive network of modern observatories and communication links all over the country. Observations received through high power radars and weather satellites are extensively used these days for analysis and prediction of weather.

INSAT Meteorological Data Processing System is being upgraded to handle reception, processing of data from INSAT 2E Satellite. This satellite is similar to INSAT 2B but has got additional capability of providing imagery in water-vapor band and higher resolution imagery in visible, near IR and short wave IR bands, using charge coupled devices. Current satellites provide imagery in Visible and IR bands. A satellite based wide area network (WAN) using Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs) is being established for speedy dissemination of forecast products to various user agencies, particularly to AAS units. The plan is being implemented by installing VSATs in 127 locations out of which 47 have been installed. Scientific campaigns such as GAME-India (Global Energy Water Cycle Asian Monsoon Experiment), I-STEP (Indian Solar Terrestrial Energy Programme), OCEANSAT (IRS P4), Indo-US Agreement on Satellite Data Utilization, and INDOEX are being carried out.

The Ozone measurement is being carried out at 5 stations by Indian Meteorological Department.  These stations are at Srinagar, New Delhi, Varanasi, Pune and Kodaikenal.  The total Ozone data and Umkehr data (vertical profile of Ozone) are being regularly sent in WMO format to the World Ozone Data Centre, Canada and are being regularly published by the Centre.  India developed ozonesonde in 1963.  Since 1970, vertical Ozone distributions are being measured at 5 stations at New Delhi, Pune, Thiruvananthapuram, Dakshni Gangtri and Maitri. 

Scientific data and information on the protection of atmosphere and ozone Layer are made available to potential users at national level via internet and other modes of information dissemination.

Information on Ozone Science and non-ODS technology has been provided by UNEP DTIE Ozone Action Programme through its clearing housing mechanism and they send information directly to users. There are several programmes for awareness and information dissemination and websites exist for access to information.

Research and Technologies   

There are no carbon dioxide monitoring stations. These are expensive and are required for early detection concerning changes in the atmosphere. Also in their presence it is easy to discern other competing / modulating effects in the atmosphere.

The Government of India is making several efforts for developing new environmental friendly technologies for example, Dobson and Brewer Spectrophotometers are used to monitor total ozone measurement.

The Government of India is disappointed by  the non implementation of commitments made by the developed countries on providing  new and additional financial resources as well as technology for promoting ecologically sustainable development.  In order to implement measures to protect the atmosphere, India need the following new technologies:

Producers of CFCs, and the Government of India jointly supported research programmes to develop technology to produce HFC 134a at the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad.  The pilot plant has been set up.  Commercial production of HFC-134a is envisaged.

Both Government and voluntary organizations are involved in climate change research in India with the former supporting a wide variety of projects in the area of global change research. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) monitors climate to detect change, predict climate change, determine the effects of climate change, and contribute to global observational efforts. Since 1983, IMD has maintained a meteorological observatory at the Indian permanent station in Antarctica. The Department has actively participated in various international and National observational efforts. A National Climate Centre (NCC) has been established at IMD's research wing in Pune to undertakes climate research, applications, data collection and management, and impact awareness studies. Data collected from the extensive network of observations are archived at the Department's National Data Centre in Pune. The Centre holds over 60 million records in its archives. About 2.5 million records are currently being added to the archives.

The Government of India through the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has undertaken several projects to promote technologies that will reduce pollution of the atmosphere. Technologies that use compressed natural gas (CNG) as fuel in internal combustion engines have been developed for generating electricity in remote hilly areas. To help promote waste reduction, the production of fuel pellets from waste has been successfully demonstrated to industrial users in Mumbai. DST supports R&D efforts to promote environmental conservation conducted by several autonomous institutions and service organizations. Considerable research work has been completed on climate modeling, air pollution, and atmospheric ozone at the Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, which has climate change as one of its major thrust areas.


Activities concerning protection of Atmosphere cut across several government departments and the main source is public funding. Despite lack of external funding India has made big strides in protecting the atmosphere.

Climate change/ protection of atmosphere considerations have been in built into  the five year plan process in the country and an adequate thrust  has been accorded to it by GOI

Ozone regulations and Market forces are driving the industries to invest money in non-ODS technologies.


International Co-operation

The Ministry of Environment and Forests functions as a nodal agency for United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), South Asia Co-operation Environment Programme (SACEP), and International Centre for Integrated Mountain and Development (ICIMOD), International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and various international agencies, regional bodies and multilateral institutions. India is signatory to the following important international treaties/ agreements in the field of environment:

(i)     International Convention for the regulation of Whaling;

(ii)    International Plant Protection Convention;

(iii)  The Antarctic Treaty;

(iv)  Convention on Wetlands of international importance;

(v)   Convention on International trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna;

(vi)  Protocol of 1978 relating to the international convention for the prevention of pollution from ships;

(vii)Vienna Convention for the protection of the Ozone Layer;

(viii)   Convention on Migratory Species;

(ix)  Basel Convention on Trans-boundary movement of hazardous substances;

(x)   Framework Convention on Climate Change;

(xi)  Convention on conservation of bio-diversity;

(xii) Montreal Protocol on the substances that deplete the ozone layer; and

(xiii)    International Convention for Combating Desertification.


The Ministry and its agencies cooperate with  various countries such as Sweden, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Australia, U.K., U.S.A., Canada, Japan, FRG, etc., on bilateral basis and with several UN and other multilateral agencies such as UNDP, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, OECF (Japan) and ODA (U.K.) for various environmental and forestry


India is a party to GEF and has following UNDP/GEF projects

i)GHG stabilization in India

ii) Enabling activities for preparation of an initial national communication

The Article 3 of the Vienna Convention for protection of the Ozone Layer provide for conducting research and scientific assessment..

India is a party to UNFCCC . It was among the first fifty countries to bring it into force w.e.f March 21,1994

India ratified the Montreal Protocol along with its London Amendment in 1992. India is yet to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.  The Montreal Protocol under its article 10 has the provision to provide financial assistance to the developing countries.  A multilateral Fund has been set up in 1992.  Developed countries replenish the Fund by their annual contribution. This may  continue till 2010.

The Government of India is disappointed at the non implementation of two important / seminal commitments by the developed countries at UNCED 1992  relating to New and additional financial resources Transfer of EST's . It is a matter  of regret there is no progress on transfer of EST's to developing countries .

·        Technology for development of ODS substitute chemical is need to be transferred in fair and favorable terms.

·        The policies adopted by the Executive Committee of the Montreal Protocol do not address the special needs of small and medium enterprises.  It is, therefore, special funding wind with differentiated cost effectiveness for all sectors in SMEs is need to be established.

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 Ministry of Environment and Forests.
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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Conservation and sustainable use of biological resources based on local knowledge systems and practices is ingrained in Indian ethos and way of life. Formal policies and programmes for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity resources date back several decades. The concept of environmental protection is enshrined in the Indian Constitution in Article 48(a) and 51(g). Major central acts relevant to biodiversity are: the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972; the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980; and the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. The various central acts are supported by a number of state laws and statutes concerning forests and other natural resources.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Following the ratification of the Biodiversity Convention by India, several steps have been initiated to meet the commitments under the Convention and to bring the legislative, administrative, and policy regime regarding biological diversity in tune with the Articles of the Convention. A National Action Plan on Biological Diversity is being finalized which will consolidate the ongoing conservation and sustainable use efforts including capacity building and biosafety measures. In addition, the following activities are being undertaken: biosafety protocol; biodiversity information network; capacity building in taxonomy; consultation with the State Governments; traditional knowledge and benefit sharing; and legislation.

Policies and strategies directly relevant to biodiversity include: the National Forest Policy as amended in 1988; the National Conservation Strategy, and Policy Statement for Environment and Sustainable Development; the National Agricultural Policy; the National Land Use Policy; the National Fisheries Policy (under preparation); the National Biodiversity Policy (under preparation); the National Wildlife Action Plan; and the Environmental Action Plan.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

A programme called eco-development for in situ conservation of biological diversity involving local communities has been initiated in recent years through World Bank assistance. The concept of eco-development integrates the ecological and economic parameters for the sustained conservation of ecosystems by involving local communities with the maintenance of earmarked regions surrounding protected areas. To conserve representative ecosystems, a Biosphere Reserve Programme is being implemented. Eight biodiversity rich areas of the country have been designated as Biosphere Reserves applying the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's Man and the Biosphere (UNESCO MAB) criteria. India is one of the 12 mega biodiversity centres in the world, representing two of the major realms and three of the basic biomes of the world. The country is divided into 10 biogeographic regions: Trans-Himalayan, Himalayan, Indian Desert, Semi-Arid, Western Ghats, Deccan Peninsula, Gangetic Plains, North-East India, Islands, and Coasts.

Programmes have also been launched for scientific management and wise use of fragile ecosystems. Specific programmes for management and conservation of wetlands, mangroves, and coral reef systems are being implemented. National and state level committees oversee and guide these programmes to ensure strong policy and strategic support.


Approximately 5.3% of the total geographical area of country has been earmarked for extensive in situ conservation of habitats and eco-systems through a protection area network of 80 National Parks and 44 Wildlife Sanctuaries. This network has played a significant role in restoring viable populations of large mammals such as the tiger, lion, rhinoceros, crocodiles, elephants, etc.

Attention has been paid to ex situ conservation measures as they complement and are important to situ conservation. According to a recent survey, the Central and State Governments together run and manage 33 Botanical Gardens. In addition, universities have their own Botanical Gardens. There are 275 centres of ex situ wildlife preservation in the form of zoos, deer parks, safari parks, aquaria, etc. The Government of India has set up a Central Zoo Authority to oversee, monitor, and coordinate the management and the development of zoos in the country.


No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available


No information is available

Research and Technologies   

Surveys of the floral and faunal resources in the country are carried out by the Botanical Survey of India established in 1890 and the Zoological Survey of India established in 1916. The National Institute of Oceanography and several other specialized institutions and universities further strengthen the taxonomic data base. The diversity of the country's biological resources is yet to be fully surveyed. Approximately 65% of the total geographical area has been surveyed to date. Based on this, over 47,000 species of plants and 81,000 species of animals have been recorded. The vascular flora which form the conspicuous vegetation cover comprises about 15,000 species. Several thousands of them are endemic to India and they have so far not been reported from anywhere else in the world. This list is being constantly upgraded, especially in respect of lower plants and invertebrate animals. The biological diversity of the country is so rich that it may play a very important and crucial role in the future survival of mankind if it is conserved and used with the utmost care. Today, two hot spots in biological diversity have been identified in the country, namely, the Eastern Himalayan region and the Western Ghats. A comprehensive status report covering the various facets of biodiversity conservation in India is under preparation.

The collection and preservation of genetic resources is accomplished through the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources for Wildlife for crop plants; the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources for domesticated animals; and the National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources for economically valuable fish species. These Bureaus are assigned the task of collecting germplasm and supplying these on request to Indian and foreign agencies for research purposes.


No information is available


The Convention on Biological Diversity was signed and ratified by India in February, 1994. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora was signed in 1976.

India believes that National action regarding conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources demands appropriate actions on the part of international community. Some key issues in this regard are as follows:

  1. Development of a suitable enabling environment by the other parties, particularly the developed countries, to ensure benefits to countries of origin. These benefits should not only include measures like royalty payment or monetary compensation, but also location of research and technologies in the countries of origin in accordance with the provisions of the Convention.
  2. Development of a credible internationally regime for recognizing the intellectual and physical property rights of local communities. Development of such a regime may take time, pending which all patent applications should be required to disclose: a) the source and origin of the genetic material used; b) knowledge and practices about the use of the genetic resources by the local communities and identification of such communities; and c) a declaration that laws, practices, and guidelines for the use of such material and knowledge systems in the country of origin have been followed.
  3. Capacities of biodiversity rich countries should be built to enable them to bio-prospect and develop products from genetic resources.
  4. Introduction of transgenics, alien species should be only permitted with appropriate safeguards.


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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.

Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.
Click here to go to the Web Site of UNEP's International Register on Biosafety.
Click here for the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Biosafety WebPages
Click here for the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
For access to the Web Site of the Convention on Biological Diversity, click here:
For access to the Web Site of the CITES Convention, click here:
For the Web Site of the CMS Convention, click here:
For the Web Site of the Convention on the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage, click here:
For the country-by-country, Man in the Biosphere On-Line Query System, click here:

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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

In the National Conservation Strategy particular attention has been paid to arid and semi-arid areas. The strategy, inter alia, includes classification, zoning, and apportionment of land for designated uses; enactment of laws for appropriate land uses to protect the soil from erosion; pollution and degradation measures for runoff and wind erosion; development of suitable agro-silvipastoral techniques; measures for water conservation, recycling and optimal conjunctive use of surface and ground water; and encouragement for and improvement in traditional methods of rain water harvesting.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

The Desert Development Programme (DDP) was initiated in 1977-78. It covers both the hot desert regions of Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Haryana and the cold desert areas in Jammu, Kashmir, and Himachal Pradesh. It is functional in 131 blocks of 21 districts in 5 States covering an area of about 0.362 million km2 and a population of 15 million. The objectives of the programme include controlling the process of desertification, mitigating the effects of drought, restoring the ecological balance, and raising the productivity of land, water, livestock, and human resources. At least 75% of the allocation is earmarked for activities which would contribute towards combating the process of desertification. The programme is implemented with 100% central assistance. The Programme Evaluation Organization of the Planning Commission has the task of evaluating this programme in order to assess its impact on the control of desertification, and on improvements in productivity and income for the people living in these areas. From 1990 to 1993, Rs. 1,485 million has been spent under the scheme, developing an area of 90,412 ha.

The Drought Prone Area Programme (DPAP) was launched in 1973 in arid and semi-arid areas with poor natural resource endowments. The objective is to promote more productive dryland agriculture by better soil and moisture conservation, more scientific use of water resources, afforestation, and livestock development through development of fodder and pasture resource, and in the long run to restore the ecological balance. The DPAP covers 615 blocks of 91 districts in 13 States. This is a Centrally sponsored scheme where the allocations are shared between the Centre and States on a 50:50 basis. Preparation of development plans on a watershed basis, participation of people in planning and implementation of the programme, and developing effective liaison between research agencies and implementing agencies are some of the priority areas of the programme which is being implemented under the Eighth Five Year Plan with renewed thrust. From 1990 to 1993, Rs. 3,066.9 million has been spent by the scheme, developing an area of 571,633 ha.

In order to integrate and intensify the activities aimed at combating desertification, a comprehensive plan for control of desertification under the National Forestry Action Programme has been proposed. The plan would evaluate the present status of deserts in the country, assess the implementation of ongoing programmes for development of deserts and desert prone areas, formulate broad policy guidelines and action plans for implementation aimed at control of desertification, develop strategies involving people in desert control through various means, and include appropriate measures related to research and training in desert control.

The basic objective of the integrated Wastelands Development Project is to facilitate pilot projects using an integrated approach to wasteland development by initiating area-specific projects taking into account land capabilities, site condition and local needs, and ultimately aiming to promote optimal land use for both ecological and socioeconomic needs. The different types of problem lands for which projects are prepared include saline/alkaline lands, arid/sandy areas, ravine areas, and Aravallis. The activities covert soil and water conservation, afforestation, silvi-pasture development, grazing management, etc.

The main objective of the Afforestation Project for the Aravalli (Rajasthan) is to check desertification and restore ecological status by re-afforestation and also to increase the production of fuel wood, fodder, timber, and non-wood forest products to meet local needs. The project started in April 1992 and the project period is 5 years.

Rehabilitation of common lands in Aravallis (Haryana) is being implemented in the four southern districts of Haryana, that is Bhiwani, Mahendragarh, Gurgaon, and Faridabad since 1990. The project outlay is Rs. 480 million and covers environmental protection, restoration of green cover in the semi-arid Aravalli Hills, and improvement in the living conditions of the local people through meeting their biomass needs.


About 10% of the 329 million ha of land area in India is arid. This zone is located in the western region. Rajasthan accounts for 61% of the arid area, and a further 20% is located in the adjoining State of Gujarat. Cold deserts located in the High Himalayas of the North West account for the rest. Semi-arid areas account for 30.56% of the area and are located in 127 districts of 10 States. There is a well defined desert region consisting of the great desert and little desert. The great desert extends from Rann of Kutch beyond Luni river northwards. The little desert is located between Jodhpur and Jaisalmer and the two are divided by a zone of sterile rocky land cut up by limestone ridges.

There is evidence that the arid area once had dense forest cover. Large scale migrations through the North Western Himalayan passes resulted in clearance of natural vegetation for settled agriculture. As arid areas are located on migration routes, the delicate balance of water and nutrient recycling was lost with the indiscriminate spread of agriculture which started around three thousand years ago. The river "Saraswati" of Indian mythology vanished altogether while other rivers merged into the sand dunes.

The semi-arid regions abutting the arid zone on the North and North East have a better water regime as a number of perennial rivers fed by Himalayan snow traverse this area. A well knit irrigation system makes the area the most productive part of the country. In the East and South, however, agriculture is mainly rain-fed particularly in the plateau region. Periodic cycles of drought due to monsoon failure is a common feature.


No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available


No information is available

Research and Technologies   

Research activities pertaining to various aspects of arid zones are being conducted at the Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI). The majority of these activities are oriented towards agriculture and soil conservation. CAZRI, located in Jodhpur, was established in 1988 under the auspices of Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) with the prime objective to complete research into sand-dune stabilization, afforestation of the arid saline land of Rann of Kutch, Aravalli Hills, and the Indira Gandhi Nahar Project (IGNP) command area, appropriate land use systems, silviculture of important shrubs and trees with emphasis on selection and tree improvement, vegetative propagation, etc. Important studies that have been conducted include the identification of species most suitable for restricting the movement of sand-dunes and checking the advance of the desert, the influence of moisture conservation practices in the establishment of plantations in arid and semi-arid areas, investigation of the influence of farm yard manure and nitrogen and potassium fertilizers on the establishment and growth of Prosopis cineraria and Tecomella undulata, irrigation management in forestry plantations in the IGNP command area of the Indian Desert, and the Combined Production System (Agri-silvi-pastoral) in arid regions. India has built up some degree of expertise in matters relevant to desertification. These include long range weather forecasting, remote sensing, research in arid zone agriculture, forestry and pastures, and dry land farming.


No information is available


The International Convention to Combat Desertification in Countries Experiencing Drought and/or Desertification Particularly in Africa was signed by India on December 26, 1996.

India has been participating regularly in the Inter-governmental Negotiating Committee to Combat Desertification (INCD) process. In collaboration with the Interim Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, the Government of India hosted a Regional Conference on the Implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought in Asia from August 21-23, 1996 at New Delhi. At the meeting, the countries resolved to initiate consultations among themselves to identify specific programmes for regional cooperation.

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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.

For access to the Web Site of the Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought, click here:

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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The names of the Government Ministries/offices having overall responsibility for making policy decisions concerning energy issues in general and energy-related aspects of atmosphere and transportation include the Ministries of:

While each Ministry or Department frames the policy for the sector it administers, the Ministry of Power is responsible for overall coordination for energy-related matters.  At the official level, the highest coordinating body is the Committee of Secretaries where each Ministry is represented by its Secretary.  There are various other Committees which also help in inter-Ministerial coordination like Working Groups which are constituted for the Five Year Plans and the Coal Linkage Committee which coordinates the addition to thermal installed capacity for power generation with that of coal demand/supply.

The Ministry of Environment separately assesses the environmental impact of new power stations through various inter-ministerial Committees.  Inputs are also provided by the Planning Commission, which is the highest federal body for planning purposes including for allocation of resources. The Energy Policy Unit in the Planning Commission which studies and analyses the inter-sectoral issues on energy. Effort is made at all levels  to integrate the views of Business and Industry, the Science and Technology community, local authorities and NGO'S.  

The Constitution of India clearly demarcates the areas which would be under the authority of the Federal Government and that of State Governments.  The Federal and State Governments are jointly responsible for some activities though in case of any inconsistency, the Federal Law prevails. Electricity is a Concurrent subject at entry 38 in list III of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India. The Ministry of Power is primarily responsible for the development of electrical energy in the country. The Ministry is concerned with perspective planning, policy formulation, processing of projects for investment decision, monitoring of the implementation of power projects, training and man-power development and the administration and enactment of legislation in regard to thermal and hydro power generation, transmission and distribution. On energy related issues, states have their state electricity boards (SEB's) and departments.

The Government of India made amendments to the Indian Constitution; the Seventy Third and Seventy Fourth amendment in the early 1980s identified specific areas of work which could be taken up by local governments. All the states have a nodal  agency for implementation of renewable energy programmes. The specific priorities within the state for various programmes are also decided.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Regarding Power Supply, the following Acts are in operation:

(i)            The Indian Electricity Act, 1950

(ii)            Electricity Supply Act, 1948

(iii)            Electricity Regulatory Commission Act, 1998

The following Acts are applicable for environment protection relating to the atmosphere:

(i)            The Environment Protection Act, 1980.

(ii)            The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.

M/o Road Transport & Highways deals with Indian Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 and Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989. The Motor Vehicle Act (Amendment), 2000 legislated the use of environment-friendly fuel like Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) as auto-fuels.  In addition, Bharat Stage-I norms, which are akin to Euro-I norms, have been introduced all over the country w.e.f. 1.4.2000.  Further, Bharat Stage-II norms, which envisage a Sulphur content of 0.05% as against higher quantities under Bharat Stage-I, have been introduced in NCR of  Delhi, and these are being introduced in the other three metropolitan cities namely Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai in a phased manner

In addition to legislation, there are various incentives and award schemes to promote sustainable development:

·        National Energy Conservation award for various types of industries;

·        Reward schemes for meritorious performance which include efficient operation of Thermal Power Station (TPS);

·        Incentive award for improved Station Heat Rate of TPS;

·        Schemes for installation of energy saving lamps, computerized load management, installation of Time-of-Day energy meters, rectification of agricultural pump sets, etc.;

·        Incentives offered for installation of electrical gadgets deriving energy from renewables; and

·        Schemes for System Improvement and Transmission and distribution loss reduction.

 The major policy initiatives taken to encourage private/foreign direct investment to tap energy from renewable energy sources, include provision of fiscal and  financial incentives under a wide range of programmes being implemented by the Ministry of Non Conventional Energy Sources, and simplification of procedures for private investment, including foreign direct investment in renewable energy projects.

There is  also a package of incentives for renewable energy projects .These include:

·        Concessional/nil customs duty on import of projects , equipment and components related to renewable energy;

·        100% depreciation allowed in the first year of investment for the installation of renewable energy projects (except for small hydro projects);

·        liberalized foreign investment approval regime to facilitate foreign investment and transfer of technology through joint ventures. Proposal for up to 100% foreign equity participation in a joint venture qualify for automatic approval; and

·        Policy announcements by state governments/ SEB's for evacuation of power generated from renewable energy projects with facilities for wheeling, banking, third party sale and purchase of power by SEB's at remunerative prices.

The fiscal incentives provided for this purpose include 100 per cent depreciation in the first year of the installation of the project, exemption from excise duty and sales tax and concessional customs duty on the import of material, component and equipment used in renewable energy projects. In addition, the Government provides financial incentives, such as interest subsidy and capital subsidy from the Ministry and soft loans from Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) . Fourteen states have so far announced such policies in respect of various renewable energy sources.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The production of primary commercial energy has been as follows:
































Crude oil









Natural gas









Hydro power









Nuclear power









Wind power









*till Dec. 2000

While coal continues to be primary source of energy since it is in abundant supply in India, there is an attempt to improve the energy derived from renewables including hydro.  India has a large hydro-power potential and only a small part of it has been exploited.  Similarly, a lot of work is going on in other renewable areas like bio-mass, and solar energy but they are yet to be deployed on a large scale. A three-fold strategy has been adopted by the Ministry of Non Conventional Energy Sources for promotion of renewable sources of energy:

1.      Providing budgetary support for demonstration projects and rural energy systems.

2.        Extending institutional finance from Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) and other financial institutions for commercially viable projects, with private sector participation; and external assistance from international and bilateral agencies.

3.          Providing private investment through fiscal incentives , tax holidays , depreciation allowance , facilities for wheeling and banking of power for the grid and remunerative returns for power fed into the grid.

Insofar as the protection of environment is concerned, the Ministry of Environment & Forests plays a pivotal role and administers the Environment Protection Act, 1980 and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.  All power projects which are set up in the country require the approval of the Ministry of Environment & Forests.

The present installed capacity for power in the country is about 1,00,000 MW.  Almost 71% of this is from thermal sources while about 24% is from hydro.  Nuclear accounts for about 2.9% and the rest is derived from wind.  It has been estimated that in order to meet the demand for power by 2012, an additional 1,00,000 MW of installed capacity would be required.  This implies that the power sector has to grow by approximately 10,000 MW every year for the next 10 years.  This involves a huge quantum of investments which is estimated to be US$ 200 billion.  This includes investments to be made for matching transmission and distribution. The short term goals aim to fulfill the minimum energy needs of the entire population and reach the remote and isolated corners of the country at the earliest.

Insofar as crude production is concerned, the total production of crude oil in the country during 1998-99 was 32.72 million MT.  The production target for the year 1999-2000 was 33.04 MMT.  India imports a large amount of crude oil which was about 31.5 MMT during the period April-November, 1999.

Energy conservation and efficiency is an important thrust area of the government and the Energy Conservation Bill was introduced in Parliament.  The Bill, at present, is under discussion and once it is passed by Parliament, the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) would come into being. This would be responsible for energy audits, labeling, setting of standards, and undertaking an awareness campaign.  Separately, the Government has initiated measures to conserve petroleum products.  These include an accent on fuel efficiency; training programmes in the transport sector; modernization of boilers; replacement of furnaces and equipment, and standardization of  irrigation pumpsets. These activities are the concern of the Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) and of oil companies.

Research & Development in cleaner fossil fuels is an ongoing activity and a number of options regarding clean coal technologies are being explored.  They include the Fluidized Bed Combustion, Circulating Fluidized Bed Combustion, Pressurized Fluidized Bed Combustion Combined Cycle, and Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle.

In the renewable sector also, a number of new technologies are being explored in the following areas:

i)    Solar energy

ii)   Energy from Urban and Industrial Waste

iii)   Biogas Technology

iv)  Biogas combustion based power generation

v)   Biomass Gasification technology

vi)  Small Hydro Power

vii)  Wind power technology

ix)    Fuel cell technology

x)     Hydrogen energy

xi)    Alternative fuel for surface transportation

xii)  Ocean energy

xiii)  Geo-thermal energy etc.

Technology development plans are being prepared in major areas such as bio-gas, solar energy, wind power, small hydro-power and bio-mass power. R & D activities are being strengthened to cover areas such as  improvement of bio-gas production at low and high temperatures and use of alternative feed-stocks; growing of polysilicon, and production of silicon wafers, thin film solar cells; use of solar energy in buildings including integrated solar roofs; medium to high temperature solar thermal technologies for cooling and power generation; economical ethanol extraction from bio-mass; variable speed wind turbines; ultra low head micro-hydel turbines; advanced biomass gasification; alternative transportation technologies; advanced high temperature fuel cells; electric vehicles; hydrogen energy; and such inter-disciplinary areas as new materials, energy storage and hybrid/ integrated energy systems.

R&D is of crucial importance for technology development and application of renewable energy sources. Some of the key achievements of R&D have been the development of a large number of high-efficiency smokeless wood stove designs; new and low-cost designs of family-size biogas plants using ferrocement material and for leafy bio-mass feedstock; development and application of single crystal solar photo-voltaic technology, including polysilicon, ingots, wafers, cells and modules; low-grade solar thermal technologies including selective coating for solar thermal collectors and alternative designs of solar cookers; small-scale biomass gasifiers run on wood and agro-residues as fuel; optimized cogeneration based on high-pressure boilers; development of high-rate biomethanation processes; adaptation and indigenisation of wind turbines, including indigenous development of rotor blades and intelligent power controller; development of polymer electrolyte membrane and phosphoric acid fuel cell technology; and metal hydrides for storage of hydrogen.

The problem of C02 emissions is a major concern to the Indian energy sector where coal accounts for over 60% of total energy resources used. In order to minimize C02 emissions, efforts are underway to improve efficiency levels in the generation and use of energy. In addition, renewable energy technologies and afforestation measures to increase the "carbon sink" function are being promoted. Coal India Limited (CIL), a holding company of seven coal producing companies, coordinates the implementation of sustainable development programmes in the Indian Coal Sector. There is a special focus on ensuring conservation of coal sources during exploitation and use, and conserving energy in the production and transportation of coal.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

The civil servants and technocrats at the Government level assist the elected political executive in the decision making process in respect to energy. Based on the inputs received from the agencies concerned [as indicated in question 1 and 3 above]and after deliberations of the issues in the meeting(s) called for the specific purpose, decisions as deemed appropriate are taken by the competent authorities.  Various interest groups like business and industry, farmers, local authorities, Trade unions and NGOs are increasingly playing an active role especially in the area of renewable energy.  Legislators and legislative bodies often provide important inputs both through formal and informal channels.

While formulating policies for renewable energy, views of all the concerned entities  including Business and Industry, the Scientific and Technological Community, Local Authorities and NGOs are taken into consideration.  Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) provide an important interface between the people and the Government in the planning and implementation of renewable energy programmes, particularly in the rural areas.  At the same time, the role of the local communities themselves as users of the locally available energy sources and generators of energy is crucial in planning and management of rural energy systems.  Considering that a people-centred approach is vital to achieve greater universalization of energy supplies in the rural areas, the participation of NGOs has been encouraged.  Further, in rural areas of India, women have traditionally shouldered the responsibility of managing the domestic energy requirements for their families.  Therefore, their participation in implantation of renewable energy programmes is a part of the government's policy and their active participation is encouraged.

Private Sector Participation

The Government of India had announced a policy in 1991 which allowed private sector participation in power generation and distribution schemes. Since 1991, generation has been thrown up to private including foreign investment.  Twenty five power projects (wholly) and one power project (partially) with an installed capacity of 5489.75 MW has already been commissioned in the private sector and another about 5200 MW are under construction.  The private sector is likely to contribute about 40% of the generating capacity of 1,00,000MW required to be added during 2002-12.  The Government of India has also enacted the Electricity Laws Amendment Act, 1998 to promote private sector investments in transmission.  The Government has also issued guidelines for private sector participation in January, 2000.

Presently, 98 private power projects with 56,000 MW of installed generation capacity are being monitored by the Central government. In addition, there are several projects which are being set up by the private sector with the approval of the State governments and do not require the techno-economic clearance of CEA(Central Electricity Authority). So far, 51 private sector power projects with 24,700 MW capacity have been given techno-economic clearance by CEA.           

To facilitate setting up of large sized thermal power plants in the country and in order to derive the economies of scale, revised mega power policy has been introduced. Notice inviting tenders for request for qualification documents for 1000-1500 MW Cuddalore TPP (Thermal Power Project) in Tamil Nadu and 2000 MW Pipavav TPP in Gujarat have already been issued. It is visualized that the country would be adding 15,000-20,000 MW of capacity through this policy at the most competitive tariffs payable by State Electricity Boards and consequently by consumers. The Government has established a Power Trading Corporation, primarily for the purpose of buying power from mega power projects under long-term PPAs (Power Purchase Agreements) and selling the power to the beneficiary States also under long-term PPAs.

With a view to achieving immediate capacity addition by setting up of short gestation power projects, the Government has announced a liquid fuel policy. Under this policy, a capacity addition of 12,000 MW was envisaged on liquid fuel based power projects (like LSHS, FO, Naptha, etc.). However, subsequently it was decided that the existing ceiling of 12,000 MW allocated to various States would apply only to naptha. This would be in addition to the FO/LSHS linkages already given. States would, however, be free to contract for new power projects based on FO beyond the existing linkages. Already, LSHS is on OGL(Open General License) and this freedom would be extended for non-traditional fuels like condensate and orimulsion subject to actual user condition. HSD would be permitted for power generation only as a special case in inaccessible and isolated areas where small diesel based capacities are sought to be set up and where use of other fuels is not feasible.

Private sector is actively involved in the implementation of renewable energy programmes in the country.  Some of the major programmes such as wind energy, solar thermal application, baggese-based cogeneration and small hydro power are mainly private sector driven.  For promoting private investment fiscal incentives, tax holidays and depreciation allowance are also being provided.  Some of the State Governments are also providing additional incentives such as sales tax exemption.

The influence of NGOs and consumer groups is primarily in the area of rural electrification.  Non-accessibility to commercial energy sources has led to deforestation and  to soil erosion.  Some NGOs / consumer groups have been playing an active role towards afforestation.  Promotion of bio-gas plants, both community and personal, are being promoted by NGOs and also the Government 

Government of India  has been supporting scientific, financial and technical institutions/NGOs by way of financial support for organisations of national and international seminars/conferences and  short duration awareness campaigns for information dissemination about renewable energy, which in turn influence the energy consumption pattern.

Programmes and Projects   

Rural Electrification

Rural Electrification involves supply of energy for two types of programmes:

(a)    Production-oriented activities like minor irrigation and rural industries, and

(b)   Electrification of villages. Rural Electrification Programmes are formulated and executed by the SEBs/State government departments.

During the year 1999, 2,019 (provisional) inhabited villages were electrified and 3,14,936 irrigation pump-sets, tube-wells energized. Cumulatively 5,03,969 villages have been electrified and 1,21,64,342 pump-sets energized as on 31 March 1999. As regards the electrification of tribal villages, out of 1,15,088 tribal villages in the country, 80,665 villages constituting 70 per cent have been electrified as on 31 March 1999. Similarly, 2,89,887 Harijan [socio-economically underprivileged] settlements have been electrified as on 31 March 1999.

Rural Electrification Corporation Limited 

Government of India set up the Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC) in 1969 with the primary objective of providing financial assistance for rural electrification in the country.  About 86% of the total villages have been electrified so far. Rural electrification programmes financed by the Corporation cover electrification of villages including tribal villages and Harijan Settlements, energisation of pump-sets, provision of power for small, agro-based and rural industries, lighting to rural households and street lighting. The Corporation has been providing assistance to the state electricity boards for system improvement projects in the area of transmission and distribution as well as small generation power projects like wind energy and hydel projects. The Government of India also launched a special programme called Kutir Jyoti Programme where the Government bears the initial cost of internal wiring and service connection for households below the poverty line.

The Kutir Jyoti programme which provides for release of single point connections to the households of the rural poor below the poverty-line, including Dalit [Backward] and Adivasi [Tribal] families, continued to be given special thrust during 1998-99. By the end of March 1999 under the Kutir Jyoti programme, over 3.35 million connections have been released and a grant of $ 40million disbursed.

Integrated Rural Energy Programme

The Integrated Rural Energy Programme (IREP) was launched as a regular plan scheme during the Seventh Five Year Plan. The objectives of IREP are provision of energy for meeting the basic needs of cooking, heating and lighting, specially for the weaker sections, by utilizing locally available resources to the extent possible and provision of energy as the critical input in the economic development of rural areas. This would result in the creation of employment, increase in productivity and income besides accelerating the process of decentralized development. The programme has now been extended to 860 blocks. Nineteen State level technical back-up units and 171 district level technical back-up units have been sanctioned under the programme. Besides, 22 block-level national pilot projects have been sanctioned in existing IREP blocks for replication in other states. Under the IREP Programme, Regional Training-cum-R&D Institutes at village Bakoli (Delhi), Lucknow (UP), Bangalore (Karnataka), Kheda District (Gujarat) and Shillong (Meghalaya) have been sanctioned and the two centres, at Delhi and Lucknow, are already operational.

Special Area Demonstration Programme

The Special Area Demonstration Programme (SADP) was started in 1992-93 for demonstrating the renewable/non-conventional energy systems in remote, far-flung areas, hilly terrain, islands, and  other difficult areas which are not electrified, for meeting their energy needs. The Energy Park Scheme at educational institutions has been introduced under SADP, with a view to create awareness amongst the students, teachers and public. 153 energy parks have been sanctioned so far.

Government is making special efforts for development, demonstration ,extension and commercialization of renewable energy technologies. The programmes covers bio-gas plants, improved wood stove,  solar photo-voltaic and thermal energy, solar energy , energy from urban and industrial waste, bio-gas combustion based power generation, bio-mass gasification technology, small hydro power, wind power technology, fuel cell technology, hydrogen energy, alternative fuel for surface transportation, ocean energy, and Geo-thermal energy.

An overview of India's Renewable Energy Sources

The importance of increasing the use of renewable energy sources was recognized in India in the early 1970s. During the past quarter century, a significant effort has gone into the development, trial and induction of a variety of renewable energy technologies for use in different sectors. The country has today among the world’s largest programmes for renewable energy. The activities cover all major renewable energy sources of interest to us, such as biogas, biomass, solar energy, wind energy, small hydro-power and other emerging technologies. Several renewable energy systems and products are now commercially available, and are also economically viable in comparison to fossil fuels. The Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources (MNES) created in 1992 is the nodal agency of the Government of India for all matters relating to non-conventional/renewable energy. It undertakes policy making, planning, promotion and coordination functions relating to all aspects of renewable energy, including fiscal and financial incentives, creation of industrial capacity, promotion of demonstration and commercial programmes, R&D and technology development, intellectual property protection, human resources development and international relations.

India is implementing the programme on renewable energy, covering the entire gamut of technologies including improved chulhas [stoves]; bio-gas plants; short rotation fuel-wood tree species; bio-mass gasifiers, solar, thermal and solar photovoltaic systems; wind farms, wind mills, bio-mass based co-generation, small and micro hydel systems, energy recovery from urban, municipal and industrial wastes, hydrogen energy, ocean energy, fuel-cell, electra-vans and gasohol. In each of these areas, there are programmes of resource assessment, R&D technology development and demonstration. Based thereon, several renewable energy systems and products are now not only commercially available, but are also economically viable in comparison to fossil fuels. A large domestic manufacturing base has been established for renewable energy systems and products. India is the third largest producer in the world of solar cells and photo-voltaic modules. India now has a very good R&D base for the development of technologies for harnessing renewable/non-conventional energy sources. A substantial manufacturing infrastructure and consultancy services have also emerged in the country for the design, manufacture and supply of non-conventional energy equipment. These include small-scale and medium/large-scale industries, both in the public sector as well as the private sector.

India is now also in a position to offer its goods, technical expertise and services in this sector, particularly to developing countries. Technical guidance and help has been provided to many developing countries for the construction of bio-gas plants. Products, which are being exported include solar photo-voltaic systems, wind turbine equipment, selectively coated sheets for thermal applications and solar cookers. Indian made wind turbine and wind turbine components have been exported to Europe, Australia and Sri Lanka. Indian designs of gasifiers have attracted countries like Switzerland, Indonesia and the USA. A Swiss company has installed Indian designs of gasifier based decentralized power generation units in Switzerland.

Indian scientists and engineers have provided consultancy services on different aspects of non-conventional/renewable energy through various UN Agencies like UNDP, UNESCO, UNIDO and other similar organisations.

Rural Energy

A major achievement has been in the area of cooking energy in rural areas with the establishment of 2.85 million family-size bio-gas plants and 30 million improved wood stoves, in both, India being second only to China. Only about a quarter of the total potential has been exploited so far. The bio-gas plants and improved wood stoves presently in use are resulting in a saving of over 13 million tones of fuel-wood every year. In addition, enriched organic manure is produced from the bio-gas plants to supplement and complement expensive and environmentally degrading chemical fertilizers, equivalent to about .85 million tones of urea per year.

National Project on Biogas Development

The National Project on Bio-gas Development was initiated in 1981-82 for the promotion of family type bio-gas plants which aims at providing clean and cheap sources of energy in rural areas, producing enriched organic manure for supplementing the use of chemical fertilizers, improving sanitation and hygiene and adding to the welfare of women. Three types of designs of bio-gas plants, namely, the floating drum-type  design, fixed dome-type and bag-type portable digester made of rubberized nylon fabric are being propagated under this programme. The most remarkable achievement of this programme has been the acceptance by the rural people of human night-soil as feed material in addition to other bio-degradable materials like animal dung, kitchen wastes, water hyacinth, etc. The Biogas programme is implemented by the State governments and Union Territory administrations, the State corporate and registered bodies, the KVIC, Mumbai and National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), Gujarat.

Non-governmental organisations are also being given targets for implementation of the bio-gas programme. In order to propagate large-scale use of biogas technologies in rural India, the Ministry is providing financial subsidies and other financial support to the consumers, entrepreneurs, corporate bodies and NGOs for the installation of biogas plants on a turn-key basis. There is also a  free maintenance and servicing warranty for the first three years. Additional subsidies are given to sanitary toilet-linked bio-gas plants along with incentives for saving diesel. The State governments and other implementing agencies are provided service charges linked with targets for organizational set-up at different levels. Technical Back-up Units (TBUs) set up at nine locations are providing technical and training support in a decentralized manner. Apart from this, 15 bio-gas extension centres have been sanctioned. Commercial and co-operative banks are providing loans for the setting up bio-gas plants under the agricultural priority area schemes.

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development continues to provide automatic re-financing facility to the banks for the loan amounts disbursed for bio-gas plants. Apart from the family-size bio-gas plants; community, institutional and night-soil based bio-gas plants are also being installed for different applications. This scheme is also being implemented by the State government departments, State nodal agencies and the NGOs. The Indian Renewable Energy Development agency has been providing interest subsidies for such projects. Up to the end of 1998-99, a total of 2.85 million biogas plants have been  installed which are estimated to generate fuel gas equivalent to the saving of about 3 million tones of fuel-wood per year, valued conservatively at approximately $1bn per annum. Besides these plants are generating enriched organic manure containing nitrogen equivalent to about .85 million tones of urea per annum for supplementing chemical fertilizers and improving soil fertility. The Ministry is constantly conducting R&D with a view to improve the technology and reduce the cost of bio-gas plants. Efforts are also made to develop technology for use in cold climatic regions of the country.

National Programme on Improved Chulhas (stoves)

The National Programme on Improved Chulhas (NPIC) was launched during 1984-85 with the objectives of fuel conservation, removal/reduction of smoke from kitchens, check on deforestation and environmental degradation, reduction in drudgery of women and consequent health hazard, and employment generation in rural areas. As a result of continuing R&D efforts, different types of improved/smokeless chulhas have been developed. These are available as fixed and portable types. While the traditional chulhas have an efficiency of 8-10 per cent, these improved chulhas have a minimum thermal efficiency of 20-25 per cent. In order to ensure the quality and durability, the Bureau of Indian Standards has already introduced an ISI marking scheme on portable chulhas. The Technical Back-up Units (TBUs) located at eight different locations act as Test Centres for the BIS. The programme is implemented through a multi-agency approach involving state nodal departments, state nodal agencies and corporate bodies, Khadi and Village Industries Commission, National Dairy Development Board and NGOs.  The Government provides financial and technical assistance in the implementation of the programme both to users and the implementing agencies.

A total of 30 million improved chulhas have been installed till the end of 1998-99. These are expected to be saving over 100 lakh tones of fuel wood per annum besides, reduction in the drudgery to the women, improvement in kitchen environment resulting in reduction of health hazards, check on deforestation, etc.

Biomass Programme

Fuel wood continues to be the main energy source followed by agricultural residues in rural parts of the country. Presently the common practice of direct burning of biomass in an inefficient manner is causing economic loss to the nation and also adversely affecting human health. Efforts are, therefore, being made to make use of biomass in an efficient and more scientific manner.

The two main components of the biomass programme are production and utilization of biomass. Under the production programme, efforts are being made to develop new species, which could grow faster and mature in a shorter period so that fuel wood could be made available at the earliest possible time. To achieve the goals, biomass research centres located in six different agro-climatic regions of the country are developing new plant species depending upon the climatic conditions prevailing in their respective regions. These centres have been imparting training for different target groups, including farmers and representatives of forest departments, NGOs and banks. Many plantation organisations and individuals have also benefited from these centres.

Under the biomass utilization programme, the two main components are biomass briquetting and biomass gasification. Under the briquetting programme, agricultural and forest residues are being utilized for making briquettes. It is estimated that about 145 million tones of surplus agricultural residues are available annually in the country which could be converted into briquettes to generate about 14,000 MW of power equivalent. Under the gasification programme, 12 designs of biomass gasifiers have been developed for generating thermal energy for industrial applications, for water pumping and also for power generation. These gasifiers make use of wood chips, coconut shells and similar other biomass. The gasifiers of power generation capacity ranging from a 3 KW to 500 KW capacity have been developed. A 500 KW capacity biomass gasifier system for power generation has recently been installed in Gausaba, Sundarbans Island, West Bengal. Similarly, one biomass gasifier for captive power generation, at M/s Guru Tea Factory, Koonoor, Tamil Nadu, for drying tea leaves, and one 20 KW gasifier system for electrification of a village in Tumkur district, Karnataka, have been installed.

In order to promote biomass gasification as well as biomass briquetting programme, the Government of India is providing financial assistance in the form of subsidy and subsidy loans at  a low interest from the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited (IREDA).

Animal Energy

Animal Energy has been playing an important role in the economy of rural and semi-urban areas by providing huge draught animal power for short distance haulages and farm operations. However, the implements being used for this purpose have very low efficiency. Therefore, it is necessary to improve the designs of these implements to suit the rugged terrain, unpaved roads, narrow pathways and also for agricultural operations. Several designs of carts and agricultural implements have been developed which are now being implemented in different regions of the country. In order to educate the farmers in utilizing these new devices, demonstration programmes are being held in different states. The State government departments and nodal agencies, state agro-industrial corporations and Krishi Vigyan Kendras (Agricultural science centres) are implementing these programmes.

Solar Energy

India receives 5000 trillion Kwh of solar radiation per year. Most parts of the country have 300 clear sunny days in a year. It is possible to generate 20 MW solar power per square kilometer land area. Presently solar energy is being utilized through two different routes, namely, solar thermal route and the solar photovoltaic route. The technology for the manufacture of the cells and panels has been developed and commercialized almost entirely on the basis of domestic R&D. India is one of the six countries which have developed the technology for manufacture of polysilicon material. About 9.5 MW of module production was achieved, which is 8 per cent of the world production. About 75 companies are involved in production of solar cells, modules and systems. Over 100 companies are involved in the local production of solar thermal systems such as solar cookers and solar water heaters.

Solar Thermal Energy Programme

Solar energy can be converted into thermal energy with the help of solar collectors and receivers. With the increasing demand for thermal energy in different sectors, there is vast scope for the utilization of solar-thermal devices. The solar-thermal devices are being utilized for water heating, space heating, cooking, drying, water desalination, industrial process heat, steam generation, for industrial and power generation applications, operation of refrigeration systems, etc. These devices have been put under three categories, viz., low-grade heating devices up to the temperature of 100 degree centigrade, medium-grade solar thermal devices between the temperature of 100°C and 300°C and high-temperature solar thermal devices above 300°C.

In the area of solar energy utilization, solar thermal technologies are now finding ready acceptance for a variety of applications. About 4,50,000 square metres of collector area has so far been installed ranging from domestic water heaters of 50-100 litre capacity in about 25,000 homes to industrial and commercial systems of up to 2,40,000 litres of hot water per day. Around half a million box type solar cookers are also in use. Box-type solar cookers are quite popular in India. Over 4,75,000 box type solar cookers are already in use. About 25 manufacturers of solar cooker make box solar cookers with and without electrical back-up. Greater emphasis is now being given to make use of these technologies without any direct subsidy. The Bureau of Indian Standards has already introduced the quality control mechanism by having ISI markings on box solar cookers as well as flat plate box solar collectors for water-heating.

There are 39 BIS approved solar collector manufacturers with a production capacity of more than 1,00,000 sq m of collector area per year. Solar thermal collectors are now also being exported to other countries. Constant R&D efforts are being made to upgrade the technology and reduce the cost. Green House Technology for growing vegetables and  flowers in cold climatic regions has also been successfully developed and introduced in the market. The Government has recently initiated efforts to open marketing outlets. The “Aditya Solar Shops” are being set up in major cities and towns with financial support of the Government to state nodal agencies and NGOs for promoting spot sale of NRSE gadgets, servicing and repair of devices, and dissemination of information.

Solar Photovoltaic Programme

Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) technology enables the conversion of solar radiation into electricity without involving any moving parts. The photovoltaic systems have emerged as a useful power source not only for applications such as lighting, water pumping and telecommunication, but also as power plants for meeting the electricity needs of villages, hospitals, lodges, etc. Over 6,00,000 solar PV systems aggregating to about 40 MW have been installed in the country making this the largest such deployment in the developing world. They involve around 32 different types of systems for rural, remote area and commercial applications, including home and street lighting, water pumping and rural telecommunication systems. Solar lighting/water pumping systems are now being used in 3,00,000 homes. About 1,75,000 rural radiotelephones are also being powered by solar energy. Under the SPV programme about 2,20,000 solar lanterns, 90,000 home lighting systems, 35,000 street lighting systems, 2,900 water pumping systems and non-grid power plants/packs of 1 MWp aggregate capacity have been installed till May 1999.

Based on single crystal silicon solar cells, several devices are now being deployed in the field. These include solar lanterns, domestic lights, street lights, solar pumps, community lighting systems, railway signals, power for off-shore platforms for telecommunication equipments, rural telephone systems, radio, television, etc. These SPV systems have been successfully installed in large number of villages in the country. Solar photovoltaic power is emerging as a rural revolution in isolated areas where grid power is not practicable. In many parts of the country, these programmes are being implemented by rural energy co-operatives. One such example is the Rural Energy Co-operative at Sagar Island in West Bengal where a 26 KW SPV power plant is providing electricity to 300 houses. Another plant of the same capacity is under installation. Shortly, the whole Island will become a Solar Island. Similar SPV systems are being planned for other remote and isolated areas including deserts. Constant R&D efforts are being made to develop new technologies and improve existing technologies.

Renewable Energy Potential and Achievements

Sl. Source/System Approximate Potential/ Current Status (as on  31.03.1999)

1.   Biogas plants (No.)             12 million              2.85 million

2.  Improved Chulha (No.)        120 million            30 million

3.  Solar Water-Heating Systems 30 million          24,50,000 sq mtr

                                                                                Collector area

4. Solar Photo-voltaic Systems     20 MW/sq km    329 MW

5. Bio-mass Power     17,000 MW [ Potential]

(i) Bio-mass Gasifiers (29.50 MW Stand alone applications)

(ii) Biomass combustion/gasifier  37 MW based power  generation

(iii)  Bagasse based Co-generation 134 MW

6. Wind Power 20,000 MW                                     1025 MW

7. Small Hydro Power 10,000 MW                  1      83.45 MW

(up to 3 MW capacity)

8. Solar Photovoltaic Power                                    1590 KW

(940 KW grid connected)

(650 KW non-grid connected)

9. Integrated Rural Energy                                      860 Blocks


10. Energy Parks                                                      153

11. Wind Pumps                                                       516

12. Hybrid Systems                                                  43 KW

13. Solar PV Pump                                                   2,868

14. Solar Cookers                                                     4,75,000

15. Energy Recovery from wastes                           7.75 MWe

16. Battery-operated Vehicles                                  217

17. Alcohol-operated Vehicles                                 578

The low income households in the rural areas get the facility of the programmes implemented by the Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources, as described in Question 8 and 9.  Besides, they are also eligible for programmes such as the Kutir Jyoti Programme.    

A research project for GHG mitigation among Asian countries has been undertaken in association with the  Asia Institute of Technology, Bangkok to determine the least cost supply side options for mitigating GHG and other harmful emissions from the power sector.

Adoption of supercritical parameters for steam power stations will improve the efficiency and hence reduce emission of green house gases.  Introduction of solar-based power projects and Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle will also reduce the effect due to GHGs.

For the transport sector, the Government of India has issued improved norms of emission which have to be strictly adhered to.  Green fuel (unleaded petrol, low sulphur HSD) is now available almost throughout the country.

A major programme for improvement of automotive fuels such as motor gasoline and diesel is being introduced in the country in a phased manner, with the objective of improving the air quality of the cities of our country. Low-lead petrol (0.15 gms/litre lead content) has been introduced at all retail outlets of the country from 1 April 1996. Unleaded petrol has been made available in retail outlets of the four metro cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai from 1 April 1995. From 1 June 1998 unleaded petrol is also available in all state capitals and major towns. From 1 September 1998 only unleaded petrol has been available at all the outlets in Delhi and this has been extended to National Capital Territory of Delhi from 1 January 1999. A ban on 2T oil has been imposed in the National Capital Territory of Delhi from 31 December 1998. High-speed diesel containing 0.5 per cent sulphur has been introduced in the four metro cities from 1 April 1996. HSD with 0.25 per cent sulphur is being supplied in the Taj Trapezium area from 1 September 1996. It is also being supplied in Delhi from 15 August 1997.

Stricter emission norms for new vehicles effective from 1 April 2000 have been notified. This subject is handled by the respective states.  In the state of Delhi, a strict norm for emissions from vehicles has been implemented and all vehicles plying in the city have to adhere to these norms.  Recently, the Delhi Government has banned trucks which are more than 15 years old, to ply in the city.  A programme to convert public transport buses from high speed diesel to Compressed Natural Gas[ CNG] is being implemented on a time bound programme.  A Metro Rail Transport Project has also been taken up recently.  This is primarily to contain environmental pollution from vehicles.

Research , development and demonstration projects in the field of Electric Vehicles (EV's) under Alternative Fuel for surface transportation programme are also underway. The objective of this programme is to develop non polluting EV's with rechargeable batteries and fuel cells as a power source.

The following programmes have been undertaken for promoting energy conservation in India:

i)                    Energy audit at selected Thermal Power Stations (TPS) to assess the controllable losses, measures to improve efficiency and reduction of secondary fuel oil consumption.

ii)                   Research project to mitigate GHG emissions from selected power sectors in selected Asian countries.

iii)                 Renovation & Modernization at selected TPS.

iv)                 Life extension assessment studies at selected TPS.

v)                  Adoption of clean coal technology at selected TPS.

vi)                 Setting up of coal washeries at coal mines.

vii)               Adoption of fluidized bed technology for boilers and super critical parameters for some selected TPS.

Above all, the Energy Conservation Bill has been introduced in the Parliament which when passed will set up the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE).  The Bureau would be responsible for energy audits, labeling, awareness campaign


Coal                         70 billion tonnes

Hydro                      84000 MW at 60% load factor

Crude                      658 MT

Natural Gas            628 billion cu.m.

India imports a large amount of crude oil for its domestic consumption.  To quote an example, while production of crude oil during the period 1998-99 was 11395 thousand tones, the import of crude oil for the same period was 39808 thousand tones.

In India, the total estimated renewable energy availability is about 47000 MW from Commercially exploitable Sources viz           

            Wind                                20,000 MW

            Small hydro                       10,000 MW

Biomass/ Bioenergy            17,000 MW.

Ocean energy                     50,000 MW

In addition, India receives solar radiation sufficient to generate 35 MW/Sq. Km. using solar photovoltaic and solar thermal energy.  Besides, there is  potential for setting up

·                    Biogas plants                                    12 million

·                    Improved cooking  stoves                 120 million


Category                                Year                Energy Consumed * (GWH)            % age Total Consumption

Urban Households/                1998-99                66190.22                                                 21.19                  

Rural  Households     

Industrial Complexes                                                                                                                              (agriculture,                                                                                                                                            Manufacturing, etc)                1998-99                203628.43                                                 65.18  

Transportation                        1998-99                7269.27                                                     2.33

Other Major Demands            1998-99                 35313.50                                                  11.3       (Commercial,                                                                                                                                                   Public Lighting                                                                                                                                                 Public Water Works                                                                                                                                             & Sewage Pumping                                                                                                                                 Miscellaneous)

Total                                                                     312401.42                                               100.00

                                    * Provisional

Since India has an abundant supply of coal, the primary fuel for power generation continues to be thermal.  While there has been considerable growth in the installed capacity which has grown from about 1700 MW in the 1950s to over 1,00,000 MW today, the percentage of power generation derived from coal continues to be around 70%.  The hydro-thermal mix, however, does fluctuate keeping in view the progress of commissioning of hydro projects.  Today, about 71% is being derived from thermal, about 24% from hydro, about 2.9% from nuclear and the rest from wind.

The trend in power generation capacity installation in India is as follows:

Year            Total (MW)    Hydro     Thermal      Nuclear Renewable

1990              63600          29%         69%             2%                           -

1999              96000          22            74%             2.3       1.7%

In renewable, about 1.2% is from wind energy and rest is from small hydro (up to 3MW capacity) and biomass power. The details of the programmes have been given in Question no 9 above.

India primarily relies on coal as its basic fuel for power generation.  India also has a considerable hydro potential but only a small portion has been tapped till now.  The hydro thermal ratio keeps varying and has fluctuated between 40:60 to the present level of 25:75.  The contribution of nuclear and renewable sources has been minimal and there has not been much change in the ratios between hydro, thermal, nuclear etc. inter-temporally.  Today, out of an installed capacity of approximately 1,00,000 MW, about 71% is thermal, 24% is hydro, 2.9% is nuclear and the rest from wind.

The Indian power sector was opened up for private sector participation in 1991.  Till now, while about 5000 MW have been installed from the private sector and another 5000 MW is under construction.  Private sector participation is picking up and is expected to play a major role in the near future.  As regards effect of liberalization, power is yet to be a traded good in India.

As a result of trade liberalization, privatization and globalization, energy consumption would increase


Since a large part of energy needs in the rural economy is through collection of firewood this leads to deforestation.  The reduction of tree cover is a serious problem though several programmes have been launched by the government towards afforestation.  Problems of deforestation are primarily on two counts.  While the first is the lack of access to commercial forms of energy, the second is the sheer lack of purchasing power.  The government has been trying to mitigate the problems by giving subsidized kerosene to people subsisting below the poverty line.  There is compulsory compensatory reforestation for power projects and other projects which cause any forest degradation. Government is taking several steps on the pollution control front and there are strict pollution control norms for all energy generation projects.

There are no institutional or structural barriers towards development and usage of renewable energy sources.  In fact, it is the policy of the government to promote energy from renewable sources.  For this purpose, the Government has created the Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources which looks into the policy measures, draws up programmes / schemes to  popularize energy consumption through renewables.  The government had also set up a specialized body by the name of Integrated Renewable Energy Development  Agency (IREDA) to meet the funding requirements for setting up projects in the renewable sector.

The major perceived barriers in development and usage of renewable energy sources are as follows:

i)     Technology development: Technology transfer developed countries.

ii)     Renewable electricity generation: Amendment of existing legislation in a regulated market environment or

        enacting new legislation.

iii)    Renewable-based electricity: Mechanism for procurement.

iv)    Multilateral and bilateral funding :Availability of grants and concessional finances.

The main reason why renewable energy projects have not grown at the desired pace is the high cost.  While India has a phenomenal potential for solar energy exploitation is peripheral since the costs involved are quite considerable.  Consequently, while there is a case for every household in India to put up solar panels, this actually has not taken place because they are currently quite expensive.  There are other related problems of maintenance and servicing

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

There are several efforts being made by the Government at all levels to increase public awareness these include:

National Environment Awareness Campaign (NEAC)

The Ministry of Environment & Forests has been conducting a country-wide National Environment Awareness Campaign (NEAC) every year since 1986 with the objective of creating environmental awareness among each and every citizen of the country.  Fourteen such campaigns have so far been held, with the participation of NGOs & Community Groups, Youth & Women Organisations, Schools, Colleges & other Educational Institutions, Army Units and professional Groups.   Financial assistance is provided to these groups for organizing a variety of awareness raising activities such as rallies, foot marches, seminars, public meetings, discussions, street theatre, folk songs & dances, puppet shows, workshops, camps, painting/essay/debate/quiz competitions for schools and production & distribution of resource materials on different environmental issues.  The campaign covers a wide range of target groups such as teachers, students, women professionals, administrators and the general public.

Each year, a theme or themes is chosen for the NEAC around which the campaign activities are organized.  However, complete freedom is given to the participating organisations for choosing locally relevant and important themes as well as target groups.  Almost all the States/UTs of the country have been participating in this campaign every year.  Around 4,500 organisations are provided financial assistance under this programme every year. 

 Mass Awareness Campaign

Besides the NEAC described above  another new programme  “Mass Awareness Campaign” is also being launched with the objective of spreading wide awareness about environmental issues and sensitizing  people, institutions and industry to the necessity of preserving a good environment.  To begin with, five themes have been identified with the view to launching focused campaigns. 

These themes include:


Since the youth of today are the citizens of tomorrow, a special programme for creating awareness specifically among school students, is also being implemented by the government.  Known as the Eco clubs programme, the main objectives of this programme are to educate children about their immediate environment and impart knowledge about the eco-systems, their inter-dependence and their need for survival, through visits and demonstrations and to mobilize youngsters by instilling in them the spirit of scientific inquiry into environmental problems and involving them in the efforts of environmental preservation.

Such Eco-clubs are established in Government recognized schools and each club has 20-50 members.  A group of 20-50 Eco-clubs is serviced by a coordinating agency which may be an NGO, an educational institution or a professional body.  Each year, about 1500-2000 such Eco clubs are supported. 

National Green Army

The Eco-Clubs programme is being intensified and expanded with a view to covering the entire country.  It is proposed to raise a ‘National Green Army’ through the Eco clubs with the objective of spreading environmental awareness and to motivate school children to carry out action based programmes for protection and improvement of environment.  Under this programme,  it is proposed to set up about 50,000 Eco clubs all over  the country. The members of these Eco-clubs would organize and conduct a series of activities on specific environmental themes that are of local  relevance and importance.

Besides these programmes mentioned above public awareness on environmental issues is being taken up on mass scale and have been included in the  school curricula.  The issues which are included in the school curricula include topics like steps to  increase forest cover, control soil erosion and reduce GHG emissions.  Separately, major campaigns are launched by various schools on environmental issues whereby children try  and educate the public on the need to improve the environment.  The State controlled television and radio media very frequently feature programmes giving ways and means on how to contain environmental degradation.

A number of seminars, workshops and training programmes are organized by the Government of India  for creating awareness about renewable energy among different sections of the society including for policy makers, industries and also for users.  These programmes are carried out by State Governments, Academic and R&D institutions, NGOs and  industries.

In  National Campaigns under National Re-construction Corps schemes (NRC), which was launched in 80 districts of the country, volunteers from various walks of life have been involved in  sensitization of the general public in electricity conservation measures, increased use of fly ash products, energy efficient lighting systems and use of standardized  energy efficient equipments.  Other details have been given in the previous question. 

Renewable energy has been a part  of the Environmental Studies curricula in schools for over a decade.

There are specific institutions in India which work solely on energy matters.  For example, there is the Central Electricity Authority which works for the power sector, the Indian Institute of Petroleum works for the petroleum sector and the CMPDIL which looks into the coal sector issues.  While these are major organisations which have been set up by the government, there are other institutions, also set up by the government, for research and training activities like the Central Power Research Institute, the National Power Training Institute etc.

Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources, through various institutions and State nodal departments has been organizing training and capacity building programme for renewable energy professionals, NGOs, users etc, for over one and half decades.  These training programmes include areas such as technology, management, economic analysis, O&M.

The Government of India launched an Energy Conservation Cell in the early 80s with the purpose of starting a mass campaign for conservation activities and  taking up assignments on energy audits.  While this Cell was primarily devoted for conservation in the electricity sector, another organization called the Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) has been existing since long.  Major campaigns have been launched through advertisements in newspapers, radio, television and through hoardings.  The subject of conservation is given an added thrust through the  energy conservation awards which are given to industry every year.  Separate programmes are also organized for giving recognition to power utilities who bring down their auxiliary power consumption.  At present, the Energy Management Centre under the Government of India coordinates several energy conservation activities


Almost every piece of  information related to power sector i.e. energy forecast, generation, capacity installation & monitoring, feasibility studies, power evacuation, transmission & distribution system control, renovation & modernization of TPS and up gradation of technologies is being gathered through Central Electricity Authority, an apex body under Ministry of Power.  The Annual Electricity Data for the period beginning from April of a year to 31st March of the next year is collected by making letter of request with the set of proformae to various power utilities of the Central Government and State Governments together with the private generating, transmitting and distributing companies throughout the country.  

The information pertaining to the current level of renewable energy generation, use, demand, gap and also the technological gaps, are available in the country.  These are collected through programme implementing agencies in the States and also from the institutions working in renewable energy area.  MNES has a planning division, which ensures availability of current data pertaining to renewable energy in India.

Economic Survey ,annual reports of the ministries/departments and planning commission documents,  reports, statements laid in the Houses of parliament and in state assemblies are important sources of information. The ministries and departments participate in exhibitions and mass awareness campaigns and many have now set up websites.

Information on power is disseminated and shared at domestic level through various publications prepared by Power Information Society under Central Electricity Authority and also through various seminars, meetings & workshop conducted from time to time. The information is disseminated to the public as well as to the entire power sector for utilization in power sector planning, control, management and for possible improvements in operations at the domestic level within India. The information is given to the United Nations, ESCAP, UNDP, World Bank, International Energy Agency, Asian Development Bank, Institute of Energy Economics, Japan and Japan Electric Power Information Centre. at the International Level.  Energy information sharing with the International Energy Agency has been formalized through an MOU between IEA and Government of India in 1998.

MNES (Ministry of Non Conventional Energy Sources) has provided greater thrust for widespread dissemination of information on non-conventional energy throughout the country by using both electronic and print media.  Brochures and booklets on different renewable energy technologies are published by MNES, time to time.  Exhibitions are being organized in the different parts of the country to familiarize the masses about usefulness of renewable energy.  MNES also participates in important regional fairs and also in International Exhibitions.

Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources (MNES) has a Web site (http://mnes.nic.i ), which provides information about the Ministry's programmes, policies and achievements.

All  government departments of the Government of India have  a website which gives details of the policies of the government and the plan of action that is being pursued.  The website address is

Research and Technologies   

A capacity of 1267 MW from renewable sources of hydro, solar and wind energy in India have already been established. As a result of this a  saving of fossil fuels equivalent of 870,000 metric tones of coal is estimated.

Bio mass - About 16,000 MW capacity potential has been identified out of which 3800 MW potential is from Bagasse for which more than 18 projects have already been installed and some are under implementation.

Wind/Solar - An estimated potential of 9000 MW has been identified.  At present, 1024 MW of installed capacity has been achieved mostly in the coastal region. Erection of 140 MW Integrated Solar Combined Cycle Power Station in Rajasthan, which is first of its kind in the World is planned.

In India, the  world’s largest photo-voltaic power plant is planned to be set up at a total cost of $ 280 million.

Others - About 20,000 MW capacity potential has been identified in co-generation area out of which 500 MW is currently installed.

In terms of achievements, over 3 million biogas plants and 32 million improved wood stoves have been installed in the country.  Solar Photovoltaic (PV) power systems are being used for a variety of applications such as rural electrification, railway signaling, microwave repeaters, TV transmission and reception and for providing power to border outposts.  So far about 300,000 solar lanterns, 1,30,000 home lighting systems and 40,000 street lighting systems and over 3500 solar pumping systems have been installed in the country.  Grid connected PV power plants with an aggregate capacity of 1310 KW have been set up for demand side management (DSM) or tail end voltage support.

With an installed capacity of 1220 MW, India is among the first five countries in the world in wind power generation.  Wind generators up to 750 KW capacity are being manufactured in the country.  The total installed capacity of small hydropower projects (up to 3 MW station capacity) is 235 MW.  Projects with an aggregate capacity of about 15.21 MW have also been completed in the areas of energy recovery from urban, municipal and industrial waste.

At present renewable energy-based power is about 1.7% of the total installed Power generation capacity in the country.  In the household sector, about 25% of the total potential for family size biogas plants and 26% of the potential for improved cook stoves have already been harnessed.  In addition, 1.5% of the total potential for Solar Water Heating systems has also been realized.

Major portion of the above achievements have been made  since UNCED.

(i)                  Environmental issues like land submergence, siltation and rehabilitation of displaced persons is a major

            problem in Hydro projects.

(ii)                Solar & Wind : high installation cost is the major hurdle.

(iii)               Co-generation need of financial assistance/subsidy to make co-generation scheme viable.

Following new technologies are being developed and adopted for the reduction of greenhouse gases emissions and cleaner production:

(i)                  Fluidized bed combustion technology

(ii)                Use of coal having ash up to 34%

(iii)               Adoption of super critical boiler technology

(iv)              Integrated coal gasification combined cycle technology (IGCC)

(v)                Renewable energy sources

Government of India has also signed a Protocol of Intent with the U.S. Government in September, 2000 for developing an IGCC project in India. All the renewable energy technologies are being developed in India.

The government is implementing a Plan of Action for introduction of unleaded petrol and catalytic converter fitted vehicles, introduction of low sulphur diesel for cleaner diesel vehicles and tighter emission norms for vehicles at the manufacturing stage.  The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, as a first step towards reducing lead from petrol, introduced low lead petrol of 0.15 gms/litre in the four metropolitan cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai with effect from June, 1994.  This has slowly been extended to other states also.

The government has decided to construct a mass rapid transport system for New Delhi, the first phase of which would be ready by around 2005.  The introduction of this transport facility is expected to bring down vehicular population on the roads, thereby limiting environmental pollution.


Funding in the energy sector is public sector dominated.  The power sector was opened up for private sector participation in 1991 and about 5000 MW of private power has already been installed.  Another 5000 MW approximately is under various stages of construction.  For the 9th Five Year Plan period (1997-2002), the outlay for the power sector constitutes about 14.5% of the entire public sector outlay. There is no cap on foreign direct investments in the power sector.  Some foreign investors have equity stakes in the ongoing / completed private sector projects. 

Government's budgetary support and investment from the private sector are the major financial sources for renewable energy-related projects and programmes in India.


Ever since the power sector was opened up in 1991, a series of measures have been taken for inviting private / foreign investment.  Some of the major policy measures undertaken include:

Similarly, for the petroleum sector, the Government of India, in January 1999, had invited bids under the New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) with attractive fiscal terms and incentives.   NELP II has recently been launched.  Foreign companies are free to bid with Indian firms for exploration activities.

In order to accelerate the commercialization of renewable energy technologies, packages of incentives have been introduced.  These have been mentioned in point 5 above.  Government of India is encouraging foreign investors to set up such power projects on Build-Own and Operate basis.  For the entire non-conventional energy sector, 100% foreign direct investment is allowed under the automatic route without prior information to the government.  No prior approval of government is required to set up an industrial undertaking with FDI/NRI/OCB investment.  The investor can bring funds directly and cooperate with an  Indian Company, allot shares to foreign investors and inform RBI within 30 days.


Indian scientists and engineers have provided consultancy services on different aspects of non-conventional/renewable energy through various UN Agencies like UNDP, UNESCO, UNIDO and other similar organisations.

India is also providing consultancy services for various projects under construction in the neighboring countries of Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and Sri Lanka by way of planning and preparation of Detailed Project Reports (DPRs).  In Nepal, Karnali (10800 MW), Pancheshwar (5600 MW) and Saptkoshi (3300 MW) in Bhutan, Tala (1020 MW), Kurichu and Manas (2800 MW) and in Myanmar, Tamanthi (1200 MW) are some of the hydro projects which have been identified for development under mutual cooperation with these countries.  Out of the above schemes, Tala and Kurichu are under construction and other schemes are at various stages of planning / investigation / discussions.  Ministry of  Non-Conventional Energy Sources has been cooperating with the Global Environment Facility, World Bank, UNDP, Asian Development Bank and also bilateral assistance from Denmark, Germany, USA and Japan and depending upon the specific nature of the co-operation project, efforts are made to obtain the concerned technologies.

India has signed bilateral / multilateral agreements for cooperation in the field of energy with some countries and the type of cooperation is related to exchange of information, conducting seminars / conferences / workshops, setting up of pilot projects and capacity building (HRD) in a few sectors like power etc.  The nature of cooperation, however, differs from country to country and also depends upon the sector under consideration for example, power, coal, petroleum etc. There is very little bilateral/multilateral co-operation in research and development related to renewable energy. 

India as an Annex -II country , does not have any commitments under the   Kyoto Protocol. India's per capita emissions are miniscule compared to those of developed countries. Nevertheless , India is making efforts to strike the right balance between environmental protection and sustainable development. 

India is a signatory to all the major environment related covenants and has ratified  the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Click here for the list of abbreviations

* * * 

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.

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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

All the State Governments and various concerned Ministries of the Government of India, including Ministry of Rural Development, Department of Land Resources and the Planning Commission are being requested to see the National Forestry Action Programmes for drawing out linkages with the land management strategies.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

India's policies and programmes in forestry, particularly over the last fifteen years, have been largely in consonance with the Forest Principles adopted during the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The Forest (Conservation) Act of 1980 initiated a process by which India's forests were treated as an environmental and social resource rather than as a revenue or commercial resource. The strictest controls have been placed on the diversion of forestland to other uses. In the rare cases when this is permitted for developmental purposes, compensatory afforestation is a prior requirement.

Biodiversity conservation has been made an integral part of forest conservation. Various conservation measures have been taken to strengthen legislation and eco-development efforts. The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and its amendments to 1991 provide the legal framework for conservation of wildlife in the country. The amendment of 1991 is significant as it provides protection not only to wild animals and birds, but also to plant species. Thus, it addresses forest ecology in its totality.

Realising the role of forests in controlling soil erosion, moderation of floods, recharging of ground aquifers, as habitat for wildlife, conservation of bio-diversity and gene pool, etc., several programmes have been launched from as early as the Second Five Year Plan. The Indian Forests Act 1927 is the main act, which regulates the management of forest by the States. A two-pronged strategy to increase forest cover has been adopted which essentially comprises of: 1) To improve canopy cover in the forest land; and 2) To undertake afforestation in non-forest and degraded lands preferably contiguous to forest blocks.

A National Afforestation and Eco-Development Board (NAEB) has been created for promoting afforestation, tree planting, ecological restoration, and eco-development. The NAEB pays special attention to the regeneration of degraded forests. The NAEB serves as a vital interface between external agencies and the State Governments.

Compensation for forest owners providing non-market environmental benefits to society is not a relevant issue in the context of India, as more than 95% forests are owned and managed by the Government. Most of the forest in the country recognizes the customer rights and concessions of the local people over it. The issue of forest certification is being examined by the Government, and no final view has been taken on the issue.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

India's National Forest Policy of 1988 formulated four years before the Earth Summit embodies the direction emphasized in the Rio Principles. The Government's commitment to the management of forests through the participatory process is reflected in the active involvement of tribal and village communities (especially women and persons belonging to the weaker sections of society) and voluntary agencies. This strengthens the activities of State Forest Departments in forest protection and regeneration initiatives. Various problems and conflicts arising out of the tribal forest interface are resolved through administrative measures including the creation of village-based Forest Protection Committees, an experiment, which has met with remarkable success in some parts of the country.

Tree planting is the main focus, particularly through the Area Orientated Fuel wood and Fodder Scheme, and the Integrated Afforestation and Eco-Development Programme. Efforts are being made to ensure that weaker sections of society and women emerge as the major beneficiaries of the activities of NAEB. Up to 1994-95, about 237,781 ha of degraded forests has been planted under the Area Oriented Fuel wood and Fodder Project. The monitoring and evaluation of the plantations is required to assess the survival of the seedlings.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Participatory Forest Management as an effective means of regenerating degraded forests has been increasingly gaining ground in India. In 1990, the Government issued guidelines to State Governments highlighting the need and the procedure for the involvement of village communities and voluntary agencies in the protection and development of degraded forests. In response to these guidelines, 22 out of 25 States have issued orders for creating resolutions enabling mechanisms for public participation in the management of degraded forests. The participatory forest management approach promotes active participation and involvement of the people in forest conservation and development, including the development of micro-level plans and their implementation. At present, approximately 10 million ha of forest area is being maintained through more than 36,000 Village Forest Protection Committees. Although many States have accepted the initiative in principle, effective implementation of the new approach at the field level has taken root only in a few States. In future years, more emphasis will be given to field level implementation of this new concept.

One of the important elements of the Participatory Forest Management System relates to the use of indigenous capacity and local knowledge regarding various aspects of conservation, development, and use of forests. The rural people, particularly women, have an intimate knowledge about various species, growth characteristics, utility, and medicinal value. They are also well informed about the species to be planted in a given locality to satisfy the specific requirements of fuel, fodder, timber, and other non-wood forest products. In participatory forest management, planning and implementation of most of the activities related to regeneration and protection are completed with the active involvement of rural people. Thus, the traditional knowledge base of the people is fully used for the benefit of the community.

There is a symbiotic relationship between tribal people and forests. In 1991, various issues related to forest-tribal interface were examined and detailed guidelines issued by the Government of India to the State Governments in order to ameliorate the socioeconomic conditions of tribal people. These guidelines cover a number of subjects including addressing old encroachments of forest lands, disputed claims over forest land, elimination of intermediaries to stop exploitation, conversion of forest villages to revenue villages, and payment of compensation for loss of life and property due to depredation by wild animals.

Programmes and Projects   

A review of social forestry programme launched during the 1980s resulted in a consolidation of gains and a strengthening of the weaker links. The conservation of the existing natural forests with emphasis on natural regeneration is given increasing focus. The current approach towards afforestation and forest conservation is to integrate the activities and expertise of different sectors so that various pressures responsible for forest degradation are adequately addressed.

Introduction of the Eco-Development Programme has been one of the recent developments in the field of wildlife management. The objective is economic development for the people residing in and around sanctuaries and National parks, in order to reduce their dependence on forest products and improve the ecological health of the protected areas. The scheme aims to increase land and forest resource productivity so that alternative avenue of employment and income are made available in the immediate neighborhood of people.

The Eco-Development Programme proposes a package of activities including developing agriculture, improving land productivity and developing minor irrigation, raising fodder and fuel plantations, providing livestock care and improvement, introducing fuel saving devices, providing medical care including family planning, and creating environmental awareness. It is increasingly thought that the eco-development concept should not be limited to protected areas. It is believed that the scope and content of such schemes should be extended to cover other villages lying in the immediate vicinity of forests. The comprehensive State Forestry Projects, which have been recently launched by a number of States, incorporate elements of eco-development as a means of ensuring sustained development of forests.

The cross-sectoral issues like rural employment, water and soil conservation, fodder production, firewood production to meet energy requirements of 80% of the rural population, etc. has been taken care of in the National Forestry Action Programme.


Analysis of State changes in forest cover for 1991-1993 reveals that the country can be broadly classified into two regions, namely the Northeast region and the rest of the country due to the peculiar situation of shifting cultivation. While there has been a decrease of 635 km2 of forest cover in the north-eastern region, there has been an overall increase of 1560 km2 in the rest of the country, giving a gross increase of 925 km2 in the forest cover. However, in terms of qualitative forest cover loss, the dense forest in almost all the major states has gone down. On the whole, the country has achieved a partial success in the protection of forests.

The wildlife scenario in India is not very encouraging. According to the All India Tiger Census of 1993, the tiger population has declined. There has been a loss of 553 tigers between 1989 and 1993. In spite of the stringent and tough provisions of the Wildlife Act, wildlife poaching still continues. There has been a change in the demand pattern from tiger skins to their bones. Full analysis of this change is required so as to prevent poaching at the initial stages. Wildlife conservation has assumed new dimensions under the Eco-Development Scheme in and around National parks and sanctuaries.

Forest based livestock farming and forest are highly interdependent. Livestock development in the country has taken in two different areas in two different pretexts. The first pretext, which relates with dairy and poultry, is on an industrial base, involving more of person's management rather than persons of husbandry. However, in the second, which relates with the poor class of people/ rural poor, is resource based and depends upon forest, grassland and pastures. Therefore, forest based livestock farming needs more attention in order to result in both improvement of the economic condition of the farmers and conservation of the forests.


Major forest areas in India and other developing countries are owned and managed by government, and local people have rights and concessions over the usufructs. The main problem area of most developing countries including India is of financial resources or funding. Financial resources have been identified only as a supporting function under the Principle function of policy implementation. This needs reconsideration. It is suggested that one of the IAMs must be assigned this exclusive function. It should perhaps be mandatory for this IAM to ensure that funding is based on the National Forest Action Plan prepared by the country and not on other parameters.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available


The Government has taken initiatives to identify the criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management.

Information on sustainable forest management is made available to potential users via:

Research and Technologies 

The forestry management in the country is being practiced on the basis of sustainable management for more than a century. However efforts are being made to ensure that the management plans of the forest areas are prepared taking advantage of the important latest technology like GIS, etc. and so as to reduce the period of preparation as well as the period of management plans in the country. Accordingly a comprehensive working plan code is being prepared for the whole country.

The assessment of forest cover in the first three cycles (1987,1989 and 1991) was based only on visual interpretation of satellite imagery, while the fourth cycle (1993) has been subjected to computer analysis. As a result, it has been possible to systematically interpret a part of the area more objectively. As per the latest 1997 assessment forest cover of the country is at 6,33,397 sq. kms. Thus in the comparison of forest cover figures of 1995 and 1997 assessments, there is a slight decrease of forest cover from 6,38,879 sq. kms in 1995 assessment.


No information is available


India has been participating in all the IPF/IFF meetings and India agrees with the overall action relating to National Forest Programme, Forest assessment, criteria and indicators, traditional forest related causes and underline causes of deforestation. However, India has taken a view that there has to be an instrument to coordinate the efforts of various international instruments and institutions. Accordingly, India has moved for creation of a permanent forum like Global Forest Facility on the lines of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), to further carry out the dialogue and discussions on the contentious and unresolved issues. India has also taken a view that financial resources/funding is one of the major problem areas and therefore, it is necessary to assign this exclusive function to one of the International Arrangements and Mechanisms (IAMs).

In consonance with the recommendation of IPF, India has prepared the National Forest Action Programme in the year 1999 in consultation with FAO which incorporates the agreed commitments by India.

India's economic and trade policies which have a bearing on forest and forest products are being progressively fine-tuned to facilitate the conservation and sustainable use of forests. This is reflected in liberal imports of forest products to relieve pressures on forests, nationalization of trade of certain forest products, incentives for wood substitution, subsidies for the use of fuel-saving devices and alternative sources of energy supply such as biogas and solar energy, and financial incentives to supply seedlings free of cost or at subsidized rates. India has actively participated in the deliberations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests, established by the Commission on Sustainable Development.


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This information was provided by the government of India to the 5th and 8th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: February 2000.

Click here for the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations  

While all projects and schemes are being implemented in India with the objective of sustainable development, presently a number of policies/guidelines are being finalized through the NWRC. These are: 

After their adoption, the policies and guidelines will be monitored for ensure sustainable development. Other items not covered above, will also be framed by the National Water Board for adoption by the NWRC in the near future.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans   

In India, the National Water Resources Council (NWRC), under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister, establishes National Water Policy, reviews development plans, and advises on implementation. India's National Water Policy was adopted in September, 1987. The Policy aims at planning, developing, and conserving the scarce and precious water resources on an integrated and environmentally sound basis recognizing the needs of the State Governments. The policy facilitates strategies on ground water development, water allocation priorities, drinking water, irrigation, water quality, water zoning, conservation of water, and flood control and management. The State Governments in India make their water policies within the overall framework of the National Water Policy.

High investments made over the successive Five Year Plans have resulted in significant achievements in this sector. While about 82% of the population has access to safe drinking water supply in rural areas, the accessibility in urban areas is around 85%. However, the access in most of the cities and towns is still inadequate, particularly in slums inhabited by the poorer sections of the society. Five Year Plans and Annual Plans contain the strategy for organized and systematic development. Important strategies in the current Eighth Five Year Plan (1992-97) are similar to the programme areas of Agenda 21. Many of the strategies to be adopted in the Plans are based on the strategies outlined in the National Water Policy.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

With domestic and external assistance, there are a number of important ongoing National programmes and projects supporting the implementation of recommendations of Agenda 21 in India. Generally, the projects in the water resources sector are being implemented under categories of major, medium, and minor (surface water and also ground water) projects and schemes, flood control projects, and Command Area Development Programmes. Some of these initiatives include: 


No information is available


Even though important ongoing National programmes are in progress at various stages, quite a few constraints are being faced in their implementation. Some of these are: a) deficiencies in systematic data collection and establishment of a good data base (a periodic review and implementation of the hydrology project may improve the situation); b) proper implementation of a suitable blend of structural and non-structural flood management measures is needed; c) effective control and improvement in water quality through water pollution control measures is required urgently; d) degradation of fish habitat due to increased water abstraction, land development, and pollution; e) improvement in catchment area treatment and compensatory afforestation is necessary to combat soil erosion, mismanagement, and other over-exploitation of natural resources; f) the constraint of funds is seen as the greatest obstacle to the implementation of Agenda 21 and needs global consideration and assistance; and g) greater human resource development including adequate training is necessary in all areas of concern.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available


No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available


No information is available


India participates in many of the regional programmes sponsored by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), particularly on flood control and reservoir sedimentation studies/schemes. The country also provides training in water resources development to the candidates nominated by various developing countries and participates in the training programmes of its own people in other countries.


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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.

For the Central Water Commission, click here.

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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

At the national level, for effective coordination and management of land resources of the country, a "National Land Use and Wasteland Development Council (NLWDC)" has been constituted under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister. The Secretariat of the NLWDC is located in the Department of Land Resources of the Ministry of Rural Development. Following three Boards are constituted under the Council for effective coordination on matters of land resources:

National Land Use and Conservation Board (NLCB) - Located in the ministry of agriculture, department of Agriculture and Cooperation, to serve as policy planning, coordinating and monitoring agency at national level for issues concerning health and management of Land Resources.

National Wastelands Development Board (NWDB) - Located in the Department of land Resources, Ministry of Rural Development for matters related to wasteland in the country.

National Afforestation and Eco-Development Board (NAEB) - Located in the Ministry of Environment and Forests for the matters related to the land belonging to forests.

At the local level, Panchayats, Watershed Committees, Self Help Groups, NGOs, State implementing agencies etc. are fully involved in decision making for planning, implementation, post care maintenance activities etc. for land resources.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The National Land Use and Conservation Board (NLCB) in the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation functions as the policy planning, coordinating, and monitoring agency for issues concerning the health and scientific management of the country's land resources. State Land Use Boards (SLUBs) are set up in each State to implement the policies and guidelines issued by the NLCB.

State Governments are responsible for policy implementation and the formulation of laws to conserve and manage land resources with encouragement to local communities, Panchayats, and district authorities. State Governments have been directed to enact suitable legislation in this regard.

Under India's Federal structure, land is a State subject, and there is so far no National legislation. The NLCB is considering the enactment of a composite Land Resources Management Act encompassing various aspects of land use. National Land Use Policy outlines have already been prepared which take into account environmental, social, demographic, economic, and legal issues. The policy has been circulated to all concerned for its adoption and implementation.

It has generally been the policy of the State to conserve good agricultural lands and this is reflected in guidelines under the Land Acquisition Laws. Diversion of agricultural lands to non-agricultural use is also regulated under the land revenue codes. For effective management of forest resources, the Central Government has brought the subject under the concurrent list and enacted the Forest (Conservation) Act (1980). Under this Act, all cases of diversion of forestlands are required to be approved by the Central Government.

States have their own legislation such as the land revenue code, which apart from dealing with issues of land administration regulate the use of land resources. On agrarian matters, there are several statutes dealing with tenancy, ceilings on land holdings, etc. A major programme for the consolidation of fragmented plots of land has been established to promote effective and scientific management of land resources, though progress has been uneven in different states.

In order to check indiscriminate diversion of forestland for non-forestry purposes, forest conservation (Act) was enacted in the year 1980. As per provisions of this Act, no forestland, no forestland can be diverted for non-forestry purposes without prior approval of Government. Such permission is given on case-to-case basis after detailed scrutiny of the proposal as per laid down procedure. Permission is given only for site-specific projects provided no alternative is available. One of the important conditions stipulated while according such approval is to carry out compensatory afforestation over equivalent non-forest land or in case of its non-availability or for certain category of projects, it can be raised over degraded forest area twice in extent to the area being diverted. The Act has served its objective. Whereas between 1950 and 1980, 4.5 million ha forestland was diverted (average between 0.15 million ha per year), since 1980 to 1998 only 0.40 m ha has been diverted (average being only 0.02 million ha per year). Since 1992, 0.11 m ha has been diverted.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The State Land Use Boards were established in the 1970s to ensure that scarce land resources are put to optimal use. Progress in this matter varies between States. An apex body, the National Land Resources Conservation and Wastelands Development Council, was established under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister in 1985-86. Recently, this has been changed to the Central Land Use Council, under which the National Land Use and Conservation Board and the National Wastelands Development Board operate. These two bodies are expected to deliberate on the evolution of effective guidelines for planning and management of land resources including appropriate modifications to existing legislation. The recommendations of these bodies are discussed with State Governments.

In order to strengthen planning and management systems, the existing NLCB is being restructured. The NLCB is engaged in the preparation of zonal perspective plans for conservation, development, and management of land resources in order to adopt a strategic framework for sustainable land use planning and integration of both development and environmental goals. In all developmental programmes, planning is completed on a watershed basis. Remote sensing techniques are adopted for interpretation and integrated analysis of data on land use and land resources.

The National Land-Use Policy Outline (NLPO) was established in 1986. The development objective of the National Land Resource Management Policy Outline follows the stated underlying principle that aims at the transition from resource use to resource management. Since land is a State subject, all States have been requested to prepare Policy for Land Use for enactment. However, only few States, namely, UP and Kerala have prepared Draft Land Use policy so far. There is no information in respect of other States. The National Land-Use and Wasteland Development Council in its first meeting held in February 1986 approved the National Land-Use Policy Outline and the 19-point Action Programme, which was circulated to all States for implementation. Follow up action is undertaken with all States regularly.

In rural development projects and programmes the importance of focusing on the household level is based on the recognition that rural communities are not homogenous. Providing for locally determined basic needs through own-production and income generation, are the two basic components of the rural livelihood strategy. A holistic approach to understanding the livelihoods of rural households especially in marginal agro-climatic zones can provide the basis for sustainable rural poverty alleviation and natural resources management together and simultaneously.

The strategy covers such major elements as food security (e.g. right of every citizen to have access to safe food and nutrition and enhancement of agriculture production potential of lands to meet these needs); rural development (e.g. rural employment and income generation opportunities, local participation, tenure security etc.); viability of rural areas (e.g. reduced migration to urban areas, preservation of rural landscapes, promotion of eco-tourism in rural areas etc.); environmental aspects (e.g. minimisation of negative environmental impacts of human-induced activities such as unsustainable agriculture practices on marginal lands, regulation of productive lands and urban land use zoning and enhancement of positive impacts such on the environment through better land use and management practices); and social aspects (e.g. increased public awareness/common vision of sustainability issues, promotion of participation of a wide range of stakeholders, improved self-esteem of natural resource users).

The National strategies and Action plans are catalysed by the Conventions on Biodiversity, Desertification and Climate change. These need to be further integrated with sectoral plans to develop a comprehensive national land resource strategy. In the past, land resources, land use and socio-economic conditions were surveyed differently. More recently however, integrated community oriented approaches such as Participatory Landscape-Lifescape Appraisal (PLLA) and Participatory Rural Appraisal, are being introduced. Such strategies are developed at landscape scale and focus on the interaction of human activity with the biophysical environment.

The land management policies focus and closely relate to poverty reduction activities in the country. The employment generation schemes are linked with land management. This subject is more dealt by the ministry of Rural development. In India Since the First Five Year Plan, Land Reforms have remained a major issue of the National Agenda for achieving agrarian reforms for reconstruction of rural economy, ensuring social justice to actual tillers as well as land less rural poor and thus creating sustainable base for overall growth of industrial and tertiary sector of our economy. Generating greater access to land for the landless rural poor is considered important for poverty alleviation in rural areas.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

At the local level, Panchayats, Watershed Committees, Self Help Groups, NGOs, State implementing agencies etc. are fully involved in decision making for planning, implementation, post care maintenance activities etc. for land resources.

At the district level the concerned development Departments along with people¡¯s representatives take decision on land management issues. The role of women has been fully recognised on integrated planning and management of land resources.

Land ownership and tenure rights of individual farmers were the basic maladies of agrarian structure at the dawn of Independence. Thus in all States the policy of abolishing all intermediary interests and giving land to the recorded tenants was adopted soon after independence followed by a programme of providing security tenure to the sub-tenants. As ¡®Land¡¯ is a State subject, the States have exclusive rights to legislate on the subject.

Programmes and Projects 

The following schemes are being implemented under Department of Agriculture and cooperation relating to land resources management:

  1. Under Rainfed Farming System Division

Externally aided projects:

  1. Under Soil and Water Conservation Division

One aspect of Land Management that is receiving growing attention from local communities and governments is waste management and recycling. Land type and local surface and ground water conditions are increasingly being taken into account in selecting sites and techniques for waste disposal. All this has had a positive impact on land use. A National Waste Management Council (NWMC) has been constituted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, to render advice on various matters related to waste management including incentives/disincentives required to facilitate waste utilisation. For proper management of urban solid wastes, it is essential to know the quantity and nature of wastes being generated and utilised. The Ministry of Environment and Forests has initiated a scheme for survey of solid wastes generated, utilised and disposed off in important towns of the country. With the objective of emphasizing waste reduction and recycling and reuse in industries and better management of municipal solid wastes, a scheme to initiate setting up of pilot projects, conduct surveys and funding of promotional activities in the following areas have been initiated.


The importance of integrated planning and management of land resources derives from the unprecedented population pressures and demands of society on land, water and other natural resources. Land use planning cannot be taken in isolation since it has direct linkages to environment, poverty, economic development, food security and agricultural activities. Efforts to increase production through intensification and technology developments have in some cases led to increasing environmental and health hazards. Changes in Land Use and land cover are accelerating. However, technological advances have made possible considerable progress in developing data bases on land resources and land use, in processing and integrating information from multiple sources (environmental, social and economic) and in developing more effective analysis and planning tools.

Although some progress has been made in Land resource management in India, it is still in its infancy. What more is required are concerted efforts to promote Integrated Land Management. More recently efforts made in this direction take into account economic, social, environmental and cultural aspects of land use. However, broader coordination and participation at the national, ecosystem and the community levels needs to be encouraged.

There is a growing awareness of the need to improve land tenure institutions. Land tenure reform and development are the part of the process of effective decentralization. Changes in land tenure may alter the behavior of individuals and local communities leading to land degradation, for example overgrazing following settlements of nomads, and over-exploitation when communally managed lands become public lands with free access.

Most of the land in India is undulating and not suitable for intensive farming. Land use based Livestock farming (forage based) is the real answer for this land management system. This organic land management system is most remunerative. This type of farming surpasses the final gains even as compared to Horticulture, Plantation and Cash crop farming.


Land and Water are mutually reinforcing resource systems. However since the land use pattern has perceptible influence on hydrological characteristic and the soil erosion factors, there is an urgent need to have an integrated water-land management. The role of Watershed Management is very important in conserving both land and water. Watershed Management is an integration of technologies within the natural boundaries of a drainage area for optimum development of land, water and plant resources. Although Water management in India dates back to pre independence times, one of the major activities in Watershed Management in more recent times is the Bombay Land Improvement Scheme Act initiated in 1942. New guidelines are continuously being incorporated to achieve holistic management of Watersheds.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

The Department of Agricultural Research and Education is responsible for research in improved approaches to the use of land resources. The National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning, Nagpur and the Central Soil Conservation Research and Training Institution, Dehradun conduct training programmes. It is proposed to include the subjects of land use and land resources conservation in schools, technical and vocational institutions, and universities. Awareness-raising campaigns to educate and inform people about scientific land use planning and management are conducted by the NLCB and the SLUBs. Guidelines issued for the National Watershed Development Programme and catchment treatment programme of Soil Conservation, promote the active involvement of beneficiaries/ communities in planning, project formulation, project execution, and maintenance of assets.


Land survey/resurvey and settlement is the concern of Revenue Department of the State Governments. As regards land classification it exceeds more than 100 classes in some States. It is now being used as a source of collecting agricultural statistics. Land inventories use latest technologies such as satellite image processing, aerial photographs for updating and monitoring of the land resources along with ground truthing and verifications.

Land inventories are being generated on the basis of various characteristics of the soil such as soil type, slope characteristics, climatic and hydrological data, vegetation cover, land capability, land irrigability etc. These are updated regularly. The maps depicting land parcels, particularly cadastral maps, are required to be updated every 30 years. The following organizations/agencies are involved in maintaining and updating the land inventories:

The information in respect of land inventories are published for the use of the land users. Efforts are being made to make all such information accessible to all, by creating Web sites and linking all the above-mentioned institutions through computer linkages.

Environmental, Social and Economic indicators are part of integrated land management in India.

Research and Technologies 

For over a century, the State has been concerned with the effective survey and settlement of land. Detailed village records are maintained which include land use. Formal reporting systems based on detailed survey and settlements are lacking in only a small part of the country. The Government, through several agencies such as the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the National Bureau of Soil Surveys and Land Use Planning, has been attempting to prepare a detailed geographic information system (GIS) for land resources. Many of these systems use satellite imagery for the generation of information and preparation of detailed maps.


No information is available


No information is available


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This information was provided by the Government of India to the 5th and 8th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: 1 April 2000.

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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans   

Mountains are an important sources of water, energy, minerals, forests, and agricultural products; and serve as areas of recreation. They are store houses of biological diversity, home to endangered species, and an essential part of the global ecosystem. Therefore, the development of mountains has to be viewed in a holistic manner, encompassing economic development, technological improvement, environmental protection, and human resource development. All these activities are interrelated and gains in one will produce benefits in others.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available


As a major ecosystem representing the complex and interrelated ecology of our planet, mountain environments are essential to the survival of the global ecosystem. Mountains are, however, vulnerable to human and natural ecological imbalance. The Himalayas represent one of the most fragile mountain ecosystems and, furthermore, sustain a large human population. This sets them apart from Alpine or other ranges, where human habitation is not so high. Mountains and their people deserve consideration and attention, so that local knowledge can be used, and sustained and accelerated development becomes a reality in the context of the promotion and protection of the ecosystem as a whole.  The Himalaya system is vast and diverse, and represents the youngest mountain system in the world. It occupies 18% of the geographical area of India and regulates climate of the entire Indian sub-continent. The existence of valuable flora, fauna, and minerals exclusive to the region is unique. The Himalayas feed the major river systems of the Indian sub-continent.


No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available


No information is available

Research and Technologies   

In India, a number of important priority activities have been augmented and strengthened as a follow up of Agenda 21. While a large number of existing institutions in the region have continued their efforts, the Government has established the GB Pant Institute for Himalayan Environment and Development with the specific mandate for generating and strengthening knowledge about the ecology and sustainable development of the Indian Himalayas. The Institute is also involved in integrating and collecting traditional knowledge for sustainable and integrated development of watersheds. Some of the major achievements are as follows: 


No information is available


The role of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), located in Kathmandu, in generating and strengthening knowledge about the ecology and sustainable development of mountain ecosystems has been recognized in Agenda 21. In this document, National governments and international organizations are encouraged to support ICIMOD.

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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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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

The Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Delhi and Department of Ocean Development are responsible for decision-making in the area of oceans and seas.
The management of resources in high seas is with Department of Ocean Development, while management of resources in the Coastal Water lies with Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

In India, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea was signed in 1995 and ratified in June 1996. India has also ratified the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL Convention 73/78) and adopted the provisions in the Merchant Shipping Act. Fisheries are regulated under the Marine Fishing Regulation Act (MFRA).

The Notification on Coastal Regulation Zone 1991 (as amended from time to time) lists certain prohibited and regulated activities related to integrated coastal zone management and sustainable development. Its provisions also prohibit and regulate developmental activities in the Coastal Regulation Zone. The effluents/discharges from various resources have to meet the standards listed in the EP (Act) 1986 before being discharged in the marine waters.

To address integrated coastal zone management and sustainable development, the following legislation has been adopted:

In the area of fisheries development, the following are the legislation/rules/acts in force in the country:

A committee was constituted by the Government of India in March, 1995 to review the Deep Sea Fishing Policy. On the basis of the recommendations of this Committee, the Deep Sea Fishing Policy of 1991 was rescinded and no new permits, extensions or renewal of the permits under the above policies has been given. The Government has also constituted a National Level Review Committee in 1996 to assess the area-wise requirements of different categories of fishing vessels below 20 m. and conservation of fishery resources, etc. A number of measures have also been taken by the government to conserve marine fishery resources and over-exploitation as per the provisions made in the Central/State Acts/Rules. Measure have also been taken to introduce resource-specific fishing vessels for oceanic fisheries.

In addition, the following Guidelines have been adopted:

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

A national and 13 State/U.T. level coastal management Authorities have been set up to identify and prepare an Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan for ecologically important stretches.

To address the preservation and sustainable use of fragile ecosystems, State/Union Territory level Waste Zone Management Authorities have been set up, and these will prepare an Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan for ecologically important zones.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Major Groups are involved through public hearings that have been made mandatory before any project listed in EIA notification is cleared.

Programmes and Projects 

The Coastal Ocean Monitoring and Prediction Systems (COMAPS) is a programme being carried by the Department of Ocean Development since 1990-91 with the objective of constantly assessing the health of Indian seas on a long-term basis. The status of marine pollution in the coastal waters has been assessed and current level of pollution int he waters has also been determined.
Further, it is planned to include physical oceanographic studies and incorporate the techniques for determination of waste assimilation capacity of water bodies to have predictive capabilities on pollution levels, which will enable establishing site specific regulatory measures to maintain the desired quality of the coastal waters.

In 1998, the Department took up an infrastructure development and capacity building programme to facilitate adoption of the concept of Integrated Coastal and Marine Area Management (ICMAM) by coastal areas in the coming years. The programme focuses on development of expertise in ICMAM oriented activities and dissemination of knowledge gained to the coastal areas through organized training programmes. Towards accomplishing these activities, the following priority activities are being undertaken: Capacity Building and Infrastructure. With regard to the management of Marine Environment and Biodiversity as well as for their monitoring, major activities relate to the monitoring of the health of India's coastal waters and to capacity building and infrastructure development to facilitate adoption of the concept of Integrated Coastal and Marine Area Management (ICMAM).


Fisheries: Fisheries play an important role in the Indian economy and supports about 6.0 million full time or occasional fishermen. It continues to be a thrust area of India's development programmes due to its vital contributions to employment generation, food security and foreign exchange earnings.  Fish production in India reached a level of about 5.40 million tonnes in 1998 and the country is now sixth largest producer of fish in the world. Out of this, 2.90 million tonnes is from the marine sector. The earnings from export of fish and fishery products crossed US$1.30 billion in 1998.  While fish production form 0-50 m. zone has been harvested to maximum sustainable yield levels, the zone beyond 50-200 m and 200-500 m has been harvested up to about 50% levels.

The oceanic resources are harvested up to 10% of the potential.  In the Indian Ocean context, the over-exploitation and destruction of eco-system and habitat is not alarming as in some other parts of the World. The recent review of the state of World fishery resources by FAO has revealed that while the Atlantic Ocean and in different parts of the Pacific Ocean the fishery resources are largely over-exploited, in the Indian Ocean fish production is on the increase with relative stability and healthy state of fish stocks.  Various measures are being undertaken to optimise and rationalise the fishing fleet as well as the fishing effort by area-wise deployment of different categories of fishing vessels, regulation of fishing, gear and mesh size, uniform closed fishing season, development of deep sea fishing including diversified fishing, replenishment of fish stocks by undertaking projects on sea ranching, setting up of artificial reef, etc.

Enhancement of Marine Living Resources: The seas around India, including Island Groups, are endowed with a variety of finfish and shellfish resources. The over-exploitation of these commercially important resources has resulted in significant depletion of their population. The objectives of the work contemplated in the present technology development programme are steps towards conservation of these resources through breeding and sea ranching.

Oil Spills and Shipping: The western part of the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone, i.e., the Arabian Sea adjoining the peninsular India, forms the main international route for oil tankers originating from the Gulf. It has been estimated that some 450 mt. of crude oil is transported annually along this route, involving approximately 2500 laden tankers. Considering the large volume of oil transported and increased ocean traffic, the probability of tanker accidents is high. The last major accident in the area occurred in January 1993 when a few thousand tonnes of oil spilled into the Andaman Sea. Any accidental spillage of oil along the tanker route will cause severe and in some cases irreparable damage to the marine ecosystem.
In addition to offshore oil exploration and production activities, transfer operations of oil at single buoy mooring stations, as well as lightening and bunkering operations in major ports, cause spillage of oil.

Disposal of Domestic and Industrial Waste: It has been estimated that a large quantum of domestic sewage reaches the coastal environment each day. These wastes contain degradable organic matter, which utilizes enormous amounts of oxygen from seawater for its oxidation. The resultant fall in oxygen in seawater leads to a decrease in the population of marine flora and fauna. Domestic wastes in certain coastal areas are discharged without treatment due to lack of such facilities in most cities and towns.

Under the Integrated Coastal and Marine Area Management Programme of the Department waste assimilation capacity and preparation of model Integrated Coastal and Marine Area Management plans, etc., have been envisaged. With a view to control marine pollution from land based activities information relating to assimilation capacity of coastal waters, particularly with reference to the thermal waste discharges including fly ash, aquaculture waste and sewage and other industrial wastes. Studies have been initiated on discharge and assimilation of fly ash and other pollutants from industries located along Ennore Creek, North off Chennai. Application of modern tools like computer based modelling for prediction of the impact of the various integrated activities occurring in the coastal areas is also incorporated in the Integrated Coastal and Marine Area Management Programme.

Constant monitoring of the health of the seas and taking up remedial measures for preventing and controlling pollution from land based activities is another activity, for ensuring sustainable development of the seas around India. The various measures taken up by the Government for regulating the activities along the coastal zone, fishing and fisheries, etc., have a definite role to play in sustainable development and utilisation of the ocean and its resources.


No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

Ocean Science & Technology Cells (OSTCs): The Department of Ocean Development has been sponsoring research projects in different disciplines in a large number of national laboratories and academic institutions with the guidance of a Research Advisory Committee. Special grants are given to selected academic institutions to build infrastructure. Research Fellowships and Research Associate ships are granted for Post-Graduate and Post-Doctoral Research in Marine Science in Universities and national laboratories. With a view to have a coordinated approach to promote specialisation in marine science in different universities, the Department formulated a scheme for establishing Ocean Science and Technology Cells (OSTC) in consultation with the Universities engaged in research in Marine Science. These cells in the academic institutions will grow into Centres of Excellence in due course. So far 8 OSTCs have been established.

To create awareness among the wide section of the society, the Department of Ocean Development organises and sponsors seminars, symposia, workshops and conference at Universities, national laboratories, scientific institutions, Government and Non-Government Organisations with national and international participation. In addition, Department brings out quarterly newsletter, technical reports and books.


Data Bank and information networking exist between the coastal states and decision-making body with regard to ecologically important resources, economically important resources, etc.

With a view to synergise and generate reliable coastal and ocean data and data products, the various related projects of the Department of Ocean Development were restructured and reoriented in 1997-98 as Ocean Observation and Information Services (OOIS). This programme has four major elements viz., Ocean Observing System using Conventional and Satellite Remote Sensing Observations, Ocean Information Services, networking different ocean observations and marine data centres to serve the user demands, Satellite and Coastal Oceanographic Research utilising the advances in Satellite Remote Sensing Technology, and Ocean Dynamics & Modelling to establish predictive capacity of ocean parameters.

Geographic Information System has been introduced as a means of Decision Supporting System in the management of critical habitats like mangroves, coral reefs, areas rich in biodiversity, etc., under the Integrated Coastal and Marine Area Management programme.

A website has been set up for dissemination of information pertaining to the policies and programmes of the Government in the field of ocean science and technology.

Research and Technologies 

The Department of Ocean Development sponsors R&D projects in academic institutions, National laboratories and societies. These projects train and orient the scientists in specific fields in the ocean sector and deploy them in the R&D activities. Some of these scientists associate themselves with the Universities and improve their academic qualifications also. The Department also provides Research Fellowship to do doctoral and post doctoral work to enhance their potentials, knowledge and expertise. The Department also sponsors short term training programmes in specified areas. The Department has plans to establish adequate infrastructure to train coastal states on the advanced tools and techniques for planning coastal zone management systems.

Oceanographic data are essential for understanding the oceanic processes and undertaking developments relating to ocean sector. The UNBED (1992) emphasizes the need for Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) to collect long term systematic scientific oceanographic data at a national, regional and global level. The world climate research programme needs effective contributions for oceanographic observations. Thus the need of the hour is reliable oceanographic data and data products of quality which are application oriented and user driven. The application areas are Weather * Climate prediction, Fisheries, Port and Harbour Development, Navigation and Shipping, Environment Pollution Monitoring, Coastal area development and R&D in oceanography.

Over the years the Fisheries Survey of India has assessed the fishing resources up to 50-70 m. depth and published the fishery atlas. It is also noted that the fishery resources in India's coastal waters up to 50-70 m. depth is almost fully exploited. Some of the species are over-exploited and are endangered. In addition, the marine pollution has led to degradation of the marine resource potential and marine biodiversity. Indian R&D institutions have carried out studies on fish biology and technologies for culture fisheries, controlled harvesting, etc. to aid sustainable resource utilisation. The Department of Ocean Development has initiated a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional programme aimed at making an assessment of the marine living resources beyond 70 m. depth within the Indian EEZ and correlating the marine living resources potential with the oceanographic parameters in 1997-98. The major objectives of this programme are to have a realistic and reliable information on the potential of marine living resources in the Indian EEZ for sustainable development and management and to enhance the marine living resource potential of Indian seas.
In addition, it is planned to develop technologies and implement pilot projects to increase the productivity of India¡¯s coastal waters selectively by sea ranching and mariculture and thereby augmenting the sea food production and improving the life of our coastal community.

Design and development of a remotely operated underwater mining system with collector module, lifting module and instrumentation and Control Systems, was initiated in 1990. In 1996, India reoriented its polymetallic nodules programme to establish the technologies in a phased manner. India is implementing a joint developmental programme on seabed mining technology with the participation of the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Chennai and the University of Siegen, Germany, with the initial efforts to demonstrate shallow bed mining technology in Indian seas up to 500 metres depth. Successful exploration of sulphides, phosphorites, placer deposits and other seabed minerals in the Exclusive Economic Zone or India. Technology development for extractive metallurgy from polymetallic nodules, marine acoustic instrumentation, ocean energy including Ocean Thermal Energy Conservation, etc., is also given appropriate priority.

For acquiring surface meteorological and upper oceanographic parameters on real-time basis 12 moored data buoys have been deployed along the Indian coastline at selected locations. These buoys are equipped with sensors for accurate measurement of a number of oceanographic parameters. The data are disseminated to the India Meteorological Department for forecast of cyclones, and to other scientific and research institutions, port authorities, National Hydrographic Office, etc., for wider utility and application. The transmission of the data between the buoys and a store station is effected through a two-way communication system of INMARSAT-C satellite. The oceanographic data are also collected through drifting buoys and are transmitted via ARGOS satellite to various user agencies.


The programme and activities of the Department of Ocean Development are fully funded by the Government of India, from the National Budget. External assistance is also available for specific programmes such as National Data Buoy Programme and the Capacity Building Component of Integrated Coastal and Marine Area Management from NORAD and World Bank, respectively.


In addition to active participation at the UN on ocean matters, India actively participates in Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, Antarctic Treaty System, Regional Seas Programme. India also has scientific and technical bilateral cooperation with other nations, e.g. Russia, Germany, Republic of Korea, Argentina, Peru, Italy and others.

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This information was provided by the Government of India to the 5th and 7th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: February 1999.

For the Department of Ocean Development, click here.
To access the Web Site of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, click here:

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Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

In India, the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 lays down procedures and safeguards to regulate the handling of hazardous and toxic chemicals and preventing accidents. Four sets of rules have been notified under the Environment (Protection) Act: the Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989; the Hazardous Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1989; the Manufacture, Use, Import, Export and Storage of Hazardous Micro-organisms/Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells Rules, 1989; and the Chemical Accident (Emergencies Planning, Preparedness and Responses) Rules, 1996. Legal provisions exist for the strict control of chemical poisons under the Insecticides Act, 1968; the Poison Act, 1990; and the Hazardous Chemicals Rules, 1989. 

There is a well established procedure under the Import and Export (Control) Act, 1947, implemented by the Director General of Foreign Trade, regulating the export and import of various products. The import and export of many products are also covered under the Environment (Protection) Act.  After the Bhopal disaster of 1984, the Government took steps, both regulatory and non-regulatory, to reduce the environmental risk from exposure to chemicals. The Environment (Protection) Act was the first step. The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991 was enacted to provide relief to chemical accident victims. Steps have been taken to phase out, for example, benzidine and benzidine based dyes through this instrument. Analogous provisions exist in the Insecticide Act and the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act. 

For prevention and control of major chemical hazards, legal safeguards have been framed under the Hazardous Chemicals Rules. Specific requirements have been prescribed for the safe transportation of hazardous chemicals. Exposure limits for chemicals and toxic chemicals have also been established. Recently, environmental audits have been made mandatory, one of the aims being to reduce environmental risk. Government is also encouraging the use of Cleaner Production Technologies by providing fiscal benefits. The award of the Ecomark on environment friendly consumer products also encourages the use of safer chemicals and technologies.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

To limit the discharge of pollutants into water and into the air, standards have been laid down under the relevant Acts. The "Polluter Pays Principle" has also been adopted. Environmental impact assessment has been made mandatory for specified projects. Where feasible, such assessment is also recommended for less toxic chemicals, prior to the sanction of environmental clearance.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects 

Several work programmes for the promotion of safety in the handling of hazardous substances have been planned and implemented. Risk assessment of chemicals is time and resource intensive. At the National level, the following efforts are underway: a) a centrally sponsored scheme to create infrastructure in certain regulatory organizations; b) hazard analysis and off-site emergency plans in sensitive industrial pockets; c) the establishment of emergency response centres; d) the establishment of poison control centres at select places with some available infrastructure (at present, except for a limited number of hospitals, cases of chemical poisoning are treated only in general emergency wards); and e) the promotion of epidemiological studies in areas of high risk involving the collection of data from hazardous installations and relating this to the pollution status.

To complement the legislation listed above, there is a need in view of the anticipated rise in the number of cases of chemical poisoning for institutions with qualified staff that would treat poison cases, using the latest information and detection methods. The Ministry of Environment and Forests, and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare have felt the need for setting up a National Poison Control Centre with a network of Regional Centres. A Poison Control Centre has been set up at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi to provide a full range of clinical, analytical, toxicological and information services to provide quick response against the effects of chemicals on human health.


Chemicals occupy an important place in India's effort to meet the social and economic goals of the community. However, many chemicals are toxic, highly reactive, explosive or flammable, or have a combination of these characteristics, and represent a potential risk to human, animal and plant life, and the environment in general. Extreme care is necessary in handling such chemicals at all stages of manufacture, processing, transportation, and use.

The risk of poisoning from exposure to dangerous chemicals is acute and casualties occur each year. The adverse effects of pesticide poisoning are well known. In 1982, it was estimated that while developing countries accounted for only 50% of the use of pesticides worldwide, over 50% of pesticide poisonings occurred in these countries. A global survey undertaken in 1984-86 indicated that while most developed countries had well-established capabilities for poison control, very few developing countries had such facilities.


To reduce the risk, the long-term objective of Government is to eliminate the use of chemicals. However, the technological information on viable alternatives is generally not available. Consequently, the immediate and complete elimination of toxic chemicals seems difficult. Purification techniques and other end-of-pipe measures are capital and energy intensive and, taken alone, have not yielded the desired success in reducing the discharges of hazardous substances.

Considerable research expertise exists in India on issues related to the manufacture, use, and handling of toxic and hazardous materials. However, the difficulty lies in the inadequate exchange of information and the training of persons actually involved in such processes. It is recognized that capacity building is essential in industry especially at the factory and plant levels.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available


If the Agenda 21 recommendation that major pollutants be assessed by the year 2000 is to become a reality, data collection and availability have to be fully organized. Such a data base with full information is essential for the management of hazardous substances. However, available data on even certain commonly used chemicals is inadequate for the completion of a comprehensive risk or hazard assessment. While there are some infrastructure facilities at local, State, and Central levels, the management of emergencies cannot be satisfactory because of the lack of an efficient data base. The Ministry of Environment and Forests has set up a Central Crisis Group Alert System with a Central Control Room for the management of emergencies due to hazardous chemicals. The Ministry has also established the National Register for Potentially Toxic Chemicals (NRPTC) for the collection, collation, analysis, and dissemination of existing National and international information on the lines of the International Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals (IRPTC). However, the Centre requires a widespread network throughout the country to facilitate coordination with other organizations. An effort in this direction has been made with the establishment of Regional Registers in three regions.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available


No information is available


There is increasing concern over the movements of products across the boundaries of developing countries completed in contravention of internationally adopted guidelines and principles. This is especially true of developing countries which do not have the adequate infrastructure to determine the risks associated with such products or to adequately monitor their ingress and egress. India participates regularly in the meetings of the London Guidelines for the Exchange of Information on Chemicals in International Trade. Modalities for strengthening the legal basis of these guidelines are being considered. A voluntary code of ethics on international trade in chemicals has also been finalized in consultation with representatives of the chemical industry. India is a member of International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS) and the IRPTC.

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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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Solid Waste and Sanitation

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

In India, a National Waste Management Council (NWMC) has been constituted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests to provide advice on various matters related to waste management including the incentives/disincentives required to facilitate waste utilization. Representatives of concerned Central and State Government departments, municipal corporations, industry associations, experts, NGOs, and media people meet from time to time under the Chairmanship of the Minister for Environment and Forests.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

There are three Centrally sponsored schemes for pollution abatement of rivers presently under implementation by the Ministry. These are the Ganga Action Plan (GAP) Phase I, Ganga Action Plan Phase II, and National River Conservation Plan. The main objective of the Ganga Action Plan is to improve the water quality of the Ganga to acceptable standards by preventing the pollution load reaching the river. The Action Plan primarily addresses itself to the interception, diversion, and treatment of 873 million litres per day of municipal sewage out of the estimated 1,340 million litres per day from 25 towns, 6 in Uttar Pradesh, 4 in Bihar, and 15 in West Bengal.

Under the GAP, emphasis has been given to the improvement of sewage treatment technologies. As a result, the programme has led to the development of some appropriate technologies like the Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket (UASB), improved oxidation ponds, sewage treatment through plantation, etc. These technologies are cost effective in terms of operation and maintenance and, thus, will reduce the burden on the State Government. These developments will make the Ganga Action Plan and future programmes sustainable. The programme also emphasizes resource recovery from sewage treatment to improve its sustainability. These aspects include utilization of biogas for co-generation of power, and sale of treated sewage and sludge (a bio-fertilizer and nutrient rich treated effluents for agriculture). Pisciculture is proposed in most of the stabilization ponds constructed under GAP. The Plan serves as a model for other river systems. Thus, action plans for the rivers Yamuna, Gomti, and Damodar are being developed.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

For proper management of urban solid wastes, it is essential to know the quantity and nature of wastes being generated and utilized. The Ministry of Environment and Forests has initiated a scheme to survey the solid wastes generated, utilized, and disposed off in important towns of the country. A scheme to develop pilot projects, conduct surveys, and fund promotional activities in the following areas have been initiated to emphasize waste reduction, recycling, and reuse in industries, and better management of municipal solid wastes: a) survey of urban municipal wastes in important cities and the setting up of pilot plants on the utilization of municipal solid wastes; b) establishing pilot plants to utilize industrial wastes; and c) development and other promotional activities for municipal and industrial wastes.


At present, solid wastes are utilized to the extent possible by the following processes: conversion of garbage into energy pellets; anaerobic digestion/biogas generation from garbage; and composting by vermiculture and other means. A pilot plant has been set up in Bombay for the conversion of garbage into energy pellets. It is proposed to set up ten more such plants for which external assistance is likely to be sought. The process of anaerobic digestion/biogas generation from garbage is being applied at medium and small scale levels at several places in India, and is being encouraged at other places. The conversion of garbage into compost by vermiculture and other processes is also being promoted. All these processes not only help in waste utilization but also in producing energy or useful products. Apart from organic wastes, several other urban wastes such as wastepaper, plastics, glass, rubber, textiles, metals, coconut shells, etc. are extensively recycled. This is encouraged by the Government.

Some of the industrial wastes such as fly ash, blast furnace slag, lime sludge, phosphogypsum, red-mud, etc. are generated in large quantities and are sources of environmental pollution. Reuse and recycling of these wastes is being encouraged. Fiscal incentives in the form of excise duty exemption have been provided on the production of building materials using fly ash or phosphogypsum. An exemption of custom duty is also applied on imports of equipment and machinery for the conversion of these wastes to useful purposes.

The collection and disposal of solid wastes is another area of concern for city management in India. No city collects and disposes of its solid wastes in a safe manner and the coverage is often inadequate. An ORG study of 24 cities in 1989 revealed that, while daily solid waste generation was about 15,000 tonnes, only 11,500 tonnes was collected, leaving almost one-fourth to degenerate within the city environment. Even when the collection rate is high, say 90%, the collection frequency is not satisfactory. There is no relationship between solid waste collection and city size. Furthermore, collection does not necessarily suggest regular service and the frequency varies from twice a week in the mega cities to fortnightly collection in the intermediate towns. This relates to domestic wastes as collection of industrial and commercial wastes is more regular. The disposal of wastes is another issue of concern to city managers. The method seems to improve with the level of urbanization, from open-dumps in the small and intermediate towns to sanitary landfills in the mega cities.


The major environmental concerns in an urbanizing India relate to high levels of water pollution due to poor waste disposal, inadequate sewerage and drainage, and improper disposal of industrial effluents. The dumping of solid waste in low-lying areas contributes to land and groundwater pollution. All these developments have contributed to the deterioration of the urban environment, a critical concern that requires specific interventions to achieve sustainability of human settlements.

In order to improve the management of urban solid wastes and sewage related issues, there is need for capacity building, awareness and training, improved technologies, and the creation of infrastructure facilities. The lack of adequate financial resources, especially at the municipal and local levels remains a constraint.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available


No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available


No information is available


No information is available

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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.

Hazardous Waste

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

With rapid growth of population and industrialization during the last two decades, there has been a tremendous increase in the generation of domestic, urban, and industrial wastes. Although a major part of the wastes generated are non-hazardous, substantial quantities are hazardous wastes. In spite of the several steps taken for the management of wastes generated by various sources, only a small proportion of solid wastes are properly utilized and disposed of, with the result that some wastes cause environmental degradation and health risks. The Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, under the authority of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, were announced by the Ministry of Environment and Forests in July, 1989. These Rules regulate the generation, collection, storage, transport, treatment, disposal, and import of hazardous wastes. The Rules apply to 18 categories of hazardous wastes which have been identified and listed in the Schedule annexed to the Rules. One of the important stipulations under the Rules is that the importation of hazardous wastes from any other country to India is not permitted for dumping or disposal. However, importation is allowed for processing or reuse as raw material, after examination of the merits of each case by the competent authorities.

Under Rule 11 of the Hazardous Wastes Rules, 1989, the exporting country or exporter is required to communicate details about the proposed transboundary movement of hazardous wastes to the Central Government. The importer is also required to provide details regarding the wastes to the relevant State Pollution Control Boards. After examining the details provided by the importer/exporter, suitable instructions are issued by the concerned authorities. The Port Authorities are also advised.

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


The wastes from other countries are exported in large quantities and are received in bulk shipments. Such shipments enter through India's ports and the Ports and Customs Authorities have a major role in checking and granting permission for entry of these shipments. The hazardous wastes are included in the restricted lists of imports requiring a license, which is granted subject to the recommendation under the Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules

Intimations are required to be given by the exporter/importer concerning the proposed transboundary movement of the hazardous wastes. Under the Hazardous Wastes Rules, complete information on the exporter, importer, source of generation, type of waste and its constituents, method of disposal, safety data sheet, etc., is required on Form 6 of these Rules. According to the Basel Convention, the exporter should seek prior consent in writing from the importing country's Competent Authority (Ministry of Environment and Forests) before the commencement of the shipment. A movement document should accompany the consignment.

Due to indiscriminate exports, including those from non-signatories to the Basel Convention, huge quantities of hazardous wastes may reach Indian ports. In order to arrest this phenomena, cyanide waste (waste category No. 1), and mercury and arsenic bearing wastes (waste category No. 4) under the Hazardous Wastes Rules have been prohibited for export and import from December 26, 1996.


No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

No information is available


No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available


No information is available


The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was signed by India in 1992. The Ministry of Environment and Forests has been designated as the Competent Authority for the Convention. The Convention seeks to promote the reduction in the generation of waste and calls for international cooperation in development of cleaner technologies. Forty-seven categories of waste (other than nuclear wastes) are included in the Convention.

The third meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention held in September 1995 adopted the decision to amend Article 4(a) of the Convention to ban immediately all transboundary movement of hazardous wastes from European Community (EC) and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries to non-OECD countries for final disposal (that is for dumping). In addition, such movements of wastes destined for recycling and recovery were to be phased out by December 31, 1997. This ban would only be applicable to those wastes that are characterized as being hazardous under the Convention. The task of hazard waste classification has been entrusted to the Technical Working Group of the Basel Convention.

Developing countries have become major recipients of hazardous wastes generated in the industrially advanced countries. Due to stringent legislation and regulations, and the prohibitive costs of treatment and disposal of such wastes in the developed countries, producers of such wastes and their agents find it cheaper to ship hazardous wastes to developing countries. The Ministry of Environment and Forests has been receiving communications seeking permission to import hazardous wastes. These include metal- containing wastes (ferrous and non-ferrous), waste oil, oil sludge, etc. These are processed in accordance with the requirements of the Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules and the Basel Convention. A Committee has been constituted for this purpose.

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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.

For direct link to the Web Site of the Basel Convention, click here:

Radioactive Waste

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

There is a legal framework in India for the management of radioactive wastes and an independent regulatory body with responsibilities to carrying out statutory control with regard to health, safety, and environmental protection.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

India is concerned with the environmentally sound management of radioactive wastes.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

The need for the establishment of a nuclear waste management system in the country was recognized at an early stage of India's nuclear programme. The system takes care of all radioactive waste generated from nuclear facilities as well as nuclear materials from industry, research, and medicine.


No information is available


No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available


Documentation and dissemination of information regarding waste generation storage and disposal is also undertaken though there is scope for increased interaction and exchange of information, especially among the developing countries.

Research and Technologies   

R & D support for updating the continuously evolving radioactive waste management technology is provided through identified agencies.


No information is available


No information is available

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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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