Environment ministry pulled up for unsatisfactory performance

A parliamentary panel has pulled up the environment ministry for unsatisfactory performance and low utilisation of allocated funds, saying that it should prepare long term plans and ensure that targets are achieved.

Raising concern over pollution, the panel described the ministry as an under-achiever in terms of controlling pollution in the rivers and air.

“Air pollution has assumed gigantic proportions in the country. The measures taken by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for prevention and control of pollution and maintaining ecological balance have not been commensurate with the magnitude of the problem,” the panel said.

“The Committee finds that more and more rivers and water bodies are getting polluted and the level of their pollution is increasing day-by-day. In such scenario, not allocating the required funds even for the ongoing works show a self-defeating approach.”

The Standing Committee of Parliament attached to the Environment & Forests Ministry said the ministry utilised Rs.37.35 crore out of the allocated Rs.66.73 crore up to December 2015.

The panel also said that the budgetary allocations for the 12th plan period was low compared to projections made by the ministry.

“The ministry is not even able to utilize the funds which are made available to it and also falls short on achieving the physical targets.”

“National Zoological Park, Delhi failed to utilise even a penny of its allocated plan budget in 2015-16,” the panel said.

The Committee found the performance ‘highly unsatisfactory’ for schemes such as National Natural Resource Management System, Wildlife Management-Project Elephant, National river conservation plan, Monitoring mechanism, Zoological Survey of India and National Action Plan of Climate Change.

“The committee is dismayed to note that the Ministry had utilised only 11 percent of funds allocated for the year 2015-16,” the panel said referring to National Action Plan of Climate Change.

The panel also pulled up ministry for poor performance of Central Pollution Control Board and not meeting targets in terms of field survey, digitisation of national zoological specimen, documentation of species of identified animals and others.

“The ministry could not achieve the physical targets relating to Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations and New Noise Monitoring Stations while other targets set have been stated to be under process.”

Rebutting the ministry’s explanations such as general administrative and procedural reasons behind the low-utilisation of funds, the panel said, “this shows lack of planning and foresightedness on part of the ministry”.

The environment ministry, headed by Prakash Javadekar, was allotted Rs.17,874 crore against the proposal of Rs.47,586 crore for the 12th Five year plan, from 2012 to 2017. The ministry was able to spend only 67.33 percent in 2012-13, 74.54 percent in 2013-14, 74.56 percent in 2014-15 and 84.45 percent in 2015-16 till February 2016.

Source: Times of India

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