President promulgates Ordinance to constitute Air Quality Management Commission in NCR

The President of India has promulgated an ordinance to constitute an air quality commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and the areas adjoining it.

Highlights

The commission will work on research, better coordination, identification and resolution of problems in Air Quality Index in the National Capital Region. The commission will consist of a chairperson, members from the state of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. Also, it will consist of members from ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

Functions of the Commission

The commission will take measures to entertain complaints, issue directions in order to protect and improve the air quality in the NCR. Also, it will lay down parameters for discharging or emitting environmental pollutant from various sources.

Sub-Committees

The Commission is to have three Sub-Committees. They are as follows

  • Monitoring and Identification
  • Research and Development
  • Safeguarding and Enforcement

Background

On October 26, 2020, the Government of India informed the Supreme Court that a permanent body will be constituted to handle air pollution caused due to stubble burning in the National Capital Region. The ordinance has been promulgated based on this.

The Supreme Court had earlier set up a one-man committee under retired Justice Madan Lokur. The committee was set up to monitor stubble burning in Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.  Later the committee was suspended upon the centre’s information about legislating a body. This permanent body will replace the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority.

EPCA

The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority was set up in 1986 under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. It was set up to monitor the Graded Response Action Plan in Delhi.

The EPCA is highly powerful like that of the GoI. It can take Suo Motu actions. It has powers to file criminal complaints in courts, redressal of grievance and issuing directions to officers. However, it shall not stop water supply or electricity or other services.

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