Environment ministry is set to frame a stringent law on civil penalties providing for hefty fine and jail term for green norm offenders. This is in sync with its policy of making compliance easy but violations costly.

Giving details of the proposed law, environment minister Prakash Javadekar said besides covering industries and other private entities, it will have provision to impose heavy penalties on government agencies, local bodies and state-run institutions.

Within the next two weeks, inter-ministerial consultations on the draft law will be over following which it will be placed before the Cabinet for approval, he said.

The main objective of bringing the legislation is to ensure strict enforcement of various environmental norms so that environment can be protected effectively. The measure will help deal with the challenge of pollution and waste management. He further added that the government wants to bring the law as soon as possible.

“The real problem is compliance. In our country, there are hundreds of rules and laws but compliance is very weak. We must make compliance easy and violation very costly. On that principle, we have drafted the law on civil penalties which will act as deterrent as it will have provisions for heavy penalty against violators,” Javadekar told PTI in an interview.
The environment minister said the new draft law will provide for both financial penalties and jail term for the violators.

“There will be financial penalties and provisions of jail. Earlier laws also had such provisions but they were very weak. We are revising them as per current situation,” he said.

Javadekar said his ministry has recently come out with six new waste management rules including solid waste management norms.

“When we drafted new waste management rules, local bodies are expected to take lead and do it. Whichever local bodies or industries do not comply with them, they will be (penalised),” he said.