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The Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Bill, 2021

Topics Covered: Conservation and pollution related issues.

The Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Bill, 2021:


Context:

The bill will be introduced in the parliament by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF).

  • The bill will establish the commission and replace an ordinance.
  • The Bill has taken into consideration the concerns of the farmers following several rounds of negotiations, after they had raised concerns of stiff penalties and possible jail terms for stubble burning.

 

Changes made:

  • The government has decriminalised the act of stubble burning and withdrawn the clause for possible jail time.
  • However, environmental compensation fees are levied on those who are found to be engaged in stubble burning, including farmers.

 

About the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM):

The Commission was first formed by an ordinance in October 2020.

The erstwhile Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, or EPCA had been dissolved to make way for the Commission.

  • The Commission will be a statutory authority.
  • The Commission will supersede bodies such as the central and state pollution control boards of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan.

 

Composition:

Chairperson: To be chaired by a government official of the rank of Secretary or Chief Secretary.

  • The chairperson will hold the post for three years or until s/he attains the age of 70 years.
  • It will have members from several Ministries as well as representatives from the stakeholder States.
  • It will have experts from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Civil Society.

 

Powers and functions:

  1. It will have the powers to issue directions to these state governments on issues pertaining to air pollution.
  2. It will entertain complaints as it deems necessary for the purpose of protecting and improving the quality of the air in the NCR and adjoining areas.
  3. It will also lay down parameters for control of air pollution.
  4. It will also be in charge of identifying violators, monitoring factories and industries and any other polluting unit in the region, and will have the powers to shut down such units.
  5. It will also have the powers to overrule directives issued by the state governments in the region, that may be in violation of pollution norms.

 

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About EPCA.
  2. About NGT.
  3. About CPCB.
  4. Overview of the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Bill, 2021.

Mains Link:

Why was EPCA dissolved? What has replaced EPCA? Discuss.

Sources: Indian Express.