The government’s regulatory framework, laws,
and policies with respect to environmental protection offer a specific platform
for addressing the prevailing environmental issues.

1.4.1.1
Environmental Laws in India: The Water Act of 1974 was the initial modern
environmental law passed in India after which the pollution control boards (PCBs)
were established to counter the pollution situation. Subsequently, other
environmental laws such as Air Pollution Act (APA) (1981) and the Environment
Protection Act (EPA) (1986) were approved. The Public Liability Insurance Act
(PLIA) (1991), Protection
of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act (PPVFRA) (2001), The Biological Diversity Act (BDA) (2002), and the
National Green Tribunal Act (NGTA) (2010) also came into effect. Certain
regulations were also enacted to address rapid environmental deterioration such
as, the Hazardous Waste Rules (1989, 2008), the Bio-Medical Waste Management
Rules (2016), E-Waste
Management Rules (2016), Plastic
Waste Rules (2011), Manufacture, Storage 
and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules (1989), Ozone Depleting
Substances (Regulation and Control) Rules (2000), and Noise Pollution Rules
(2000).

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1.4.1.2
Environment and the Indian Constitution: Rarely does a constitution
incorporate specific provisions for environmental protection as the Indian
Constitution does, which were included in part IV (Directive
Principles of State Policy) and Part IV-A (Fundamental Duties) of the
Constitution. The Article 48 A was added to the Directive Principles of State
Policy which reads as follows: “The State shall endeavour to protect and
improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the
country.” (Bakshi and Kashyap, 2012).

Similarly,
responsibility for environmental protection is levied upon the Indian citizens
as well as laid out under Article 51-A (g) in the form of Fundamental Duty
which mentions that people should feel concerned towards every life form along
with striving to protect and restore the ecosystem. ‘Forest’ and ‘Wildfire’
were transferred from State List to Concurrent List in the Seventh Schedule of
the Constitution which
indicated that priority was given to environmental protection by taking it up
in the national agenda (Bakshi and Kashyap, 2012).

1.4.2
Policy Framework for Environmental Protection

The
government policy statements provide conceptual support to the national plans,
schemes, regulatory, and institutional frameworks related to protection of the
environment. Some of the major policies developed by the Indian government for
conserving the environment are, (a) National Forest Policy (1988) which aims to
raise the total area covered by forests to 33%, with assistance from
afforestation programs, regulation of forest-based industries, and improving
the relationship between forests and forest dwellers. Present afforestation
initiatives such as the National
Afforestation Programme (NAP) along with programs in areas such as, rural
development and agriculture are reclaiming almost one million hectares of tree
and forest cover annually in India (PCI, 2013), (b) National Conservation Strategy
and Policy Statement on Environment and Development (1992), where the policy
statement focuses on a detailed plan of action for conservation and protection
of the environment by encouraging clean fuel and technologies, efficient use of
water resources, effective sewage treatment, and establishing national parks,
biosphere reserves, and wildlife sanctuaries, (c) Policy Statement on Abatement
of Pollution (1992) has the goal of integrating the environmental factors into
all levels of decision-making. Instead of the traditional end-of-the-pipe
solution, it lays stress on pollution prevention approach which is managed by
various control techniques, fiscal measures, voluntary regulations, and
awareness promotion. The focus of the policy is on issues such as promotion of
clean technologies, waste minimisation, environment audit, and recycling, (d)
National Environment Policy (2006) which is an inclusive policy document
building on previous policies and aims to address and establish environmental
concerns in all developmental pursuits, thereby assisting in sustainable
development and goals accomplishment. It focuses on strategies for managing major
environmental challenges confronting the nation. The key principles of this
policy include conservation of environmental resources, environmental resource
usage efficiency, environment standard setting, precautionary approach along
with the right to development, and maintaining equity and (e) National Water Policy
(2002) is a policy statement which is developed to manage the development and
planning of water resources and their efficient utilisation. The policy also
aims to control misuse of groundwater and encourage water recycling. It seeks
to regard water as an economic asset thereby promoting its efficient usage and
conservation. This updated policy removes water allocation priority provided in
the 2002 policy version.

1.4.2.1 National Plans and Vision Statement for
Environmental Protection: India
has certain national plans and statements for protection of the environment
such as, (a)
National Biodiversity Action Plan launched in 2008 to highlight India’s
strategy towards biodiversity conservation. The plan outlines action points to
confront challenges facing biodiversity besides determining leading constraints
and threats being experienced, (b) National Action Plan on Climate Change
released in 2008 to define India’s approach towards managing the problem of
climate change. Under this plan, eight national missions were introduced
encompassing areas of solar energy, habitat, energy efficiency, agriculture,
water, forestry, Himalayan ecosystem, and strategic knowledge, (c) Vision Statement on Environment and Health which
has the objective of formulating a health-risk reducing strategy resulting from
environmental