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Current Affairs

NBWL clears 99.82% projects in protected areas

Date: 14 February 2019 Tags: Forests

National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has cleared 682 of 687 projects (99.82%) that came up for scrutiny mainly for diversion of forest land in Protected Areas to industry. Earlier from 2009-2013, it had recommended 260 of 328 (or about 80%) of projects that came into its purview. It had deferred nearly 243 projects after 2013.

Clearance process

  • Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has delegated all powers of NBWL to its compliant Standing Committee which regularly meets and clears projects in protected areas.
  • This Standing Committee of NBWL is charged with deliberating on merits of projects that come to it for scrutiny. It is chaired by Union Environment Minister and comprises scientists and government officials.

About National Board for Wildlife

  • It is statutory organization constituted under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. It is apex body to review all wildlife-related matters and approves projects in and around national parks and sanctuaries.
  • It is advisory body (role only in advisory nature) to Central Government on framing policies and measures for conservation of wildlife in the country.
  • Its primary function is to promote the conservation and development of wildlife and forests. It has power to review all wildlife-related matters and approve projects in and around national parks and sanctuaries.
  • Boundaries in protect areas viz. national parks and wildlife sanctuaries or eco-sensitive zones of forests cannot be altered or changed without its approval.
  • Composition: It is headed/chaired by Prime Minister. Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is its vice-chairman.
  • It has 47 members including Prime Minister and Union Environment Minister. 15 members are non-government members, 19 ex-officio members and 10 government officials such as secretaries.
  • Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 specifies that it must consists of 10 eminent ecologists, conservationists and environmentalists and 5 NGOs as its members. Other members include three Members of Parliament (two from Lok Sabha and one from Rajya Sabha.