The growing focus on climate change policy in India is not matched by an equivalent level of attention to environment related institutional structure. Critically examine the key features and issues around Institutional framework for Climate Change Policy in India.

Published: May 10, 2017

Some of the issues in relation to the institutional framework on Climate Change Policy of India are:

  • The creation of institutions has been ad hoc. Many criticize the process of institutional creation as lacking in a development-focused approach to climate policy. The country has so far only responded to international agreements in so far they exerted a pressure on India. Several institutions have been created but none indicate a deliberate approach towards the issue. The states have also hastily created climate nodes in response to central diktats. As a result of this, there is flexibility in the process, with no institution requiring to follow rigid measures. But this has only resulted in lack of coordination and indifference especially during handling of disasters.
  • Most of the institutions have not been stable or long lasting. For example, the PM’s special envoy on Climate Change that was played a significant role in coordinating climate policy, was suddenly dissolved after two years. This has prevented a consistent approach, as every new agency requires to set up its own foundation every time. This also holds true for the tribunals on environmental issues whose form and function keep changing through amendments.
  • The institutions have failed to generate greater knowledge on climate change and also failed to develop strategic thinking on these issues.
  • The individual agencies are also suffering from various shortfalls due to lack of personnel and a lack of understanding on the linkages of several climate issues like energy with urbanization and many more.

The oil spill in Chennai is a great example as to how the institutional framework on environment and climate change has failed to address such a small issue of marine pollution. All this has been due to lack of coordination and unawareness about the proper methods to be used for combating the problems.

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