July 11th, 2016
Plagiarism charge against Environment Supplement Plan (ESP)
The ESP has copied almost 75% from the Supplemental Environmental Projects Policy of US, as reported by The Indian Express. With almost 2900 words copied out of 3850 words the Indian version is just a plagiarized one.
US Version “Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) is an environmentally beneficial project or activity that is not required by law, but that a defendant agrees to undertake as part of the settlement of an enforcement action.”
While the Indian copy says “An Environmental Supplemental Plan (ESP) is an environmentally beneficial project or activity that is not required by law, but that an alleged violator of Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006 agrees to undertake as part of the process of environmental clearance.”
Incorporating and taking the best of other countries policies is indeed a good practice, provided, the policy incorporated matches the ground reality of our country and if it can be established that the purpose of the policy is the same. The word by word copy of the policy seems to suggest a lack of effort from the administration and policy makers alike. Not to mention the sense of embarrassment that the citizen feels in knowing this. International newspapers have covered it saying India thoroughly Plagiarized US draft.
About the policy
The Ministry Of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has recently drafted a notification called the Environment Supplement Plan (ESP). According to the plan, the defaulters who have violated the environmental norms have a chance to continue their work for the projects that have already started their construction before going through Environment Impact Assessment(EIA) by paying for the damages caused and compensate to the environment using the ESP which earlier was punishable for up to 1.5 years of imprisonment.
Important points to be noted:
- The firms which happen to violate the EIA norms can get away using ESP, it is like a relaxation to those who ruin the environment which is obviously unacceptable.
- The ongoing projects are not being punished enough as they now have they option to remediate the loss while they still have rights to continue with their project.
- The earlier EIA norms subjected the defaulters to at least 1.5 years of imprisonment but the new amendment fails to mention any such point.
- The ESP further trusts an organization violating the norms that nothing as such would be repeated by them in the future .
- In this way , even though if any organization fails to pass the EIA , they still have a pretty good chance that the project won’t be halted as paying fines will do their work if and when they seem to be in hot water . Well, the ESP is their knight in the shining armour.
- Not only it is unfair to the environment but it also questions the accountability of projects when we take into consideration the well-being and security of the people.