Divisions

Division

Research & Development

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Introduction

 
The Ministry of Environment and Forests, is classified as a ‘Scientific Ministry’ under the Government of India. Since its inception in 1985, the Ministry has been funding research through grant-in-aid projects to many research institutions in different areas under the broad ambit of environment protection and management. The Ministry has brought out Guidelines for Support to Environmental Research in the year 2012. The Ministry has taken a number of new initiatives to strengthen scientific research in the area of environmental sciences. Some of these include institution of National Environmental Sciences Fellows Programme, Mahatma Gandhi Chair in Ecology and Environment etc.  
 

Objectives

The main objectives of research report are:
  • To generate information and knowledge required for developing strategies, techniques and methodologies for better environmental management. 
  • To find practical solutions to problems of environment protection and management (e.g. Eco-regeneration of degraded areas, management of plastic wastes, bioremediation of contaminated sites etc.).
  • To build endogenous capacities and strengthen scientific manpower in multidisciplinary and emerging areas of environmental Sciences.
  • To promote development of infrastructure facilities, where necessary, for undertaking Environmental Research.
  • To nurture trained scientific manpower and recognize established scientists through National Fellowship programmes, Chairs, National Environmental Sciences Fellows Programme and Post Doctoral Fellowship Programme
  • To generate, document and analyze information for taking policy decisions relating to environment and natural resources, including preparedness for international negotiations.
  • To facilitate database management at one single point in the Ministry. 
The overall objective of the R&D Scheme of the Ministry is “to promote basic and applied research in various facets of ecology and environment.”
The Ministry supports research through its established research programmes as:

Environment Research Programme (EnvRP)

Environment Research Programme (EnvRP) deals with problems related to pollution and development of suitable cost effective technologies for abatement of pollution. Emphasis is laid on development of eco-friendly biological and other interventions for prevention, abatement of pollution and development of strategies, technologies etc. for control of pollution. Projects are also encouraged for development of biodegradable plastics, to carryout epidemiological studies, strategies to reduce impact of mining, chemical pollution of soils, and hazardous substances including pesticides, heavy metals etc. Projects related to waste recycling and resource recovery from waste along with the development of eco-friendly and cleaner technologies are given priority. Projects are supported in the identified thrust area of environment research.
 
As per the Guideline the Programme Advisory Committee for Environment Research Programme (EnvRP), will appraise and scrutinize the new research proposals and also review the ongoing proposals. 

Ecosystem Research Programme (EcRP)

Ecosystem Research Programme is an interdisciplinary programme of research which emphasizes ecological approach for studying the relationship between man and environment.   The Ecosystem Research Programme (EcRP) deals with “green issues” relating to ecology, conservation of natural resources, Eastern and Western Ghats, aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, mountain ecosystems, tropical rainforests, wetlands, mangroves and coral reefs, biosphere reserves, biodiversity and the study of inter-relationships between humans and environment and seeks to generate scientific knowledge needed to manage natural resources wisely.
The objective of the programme is to develop a basis within the field of natural and social sciences for rational use and conservation of resources for general improvement of the relationship between man and his environment. The programme seeks to provide a scientific basis to solve the practical problems of resource management. The programme also seeks to provide a scientific knowledge and trained personnel needed to manage the natural resources in a rational and sustainable manner. Ecosystem studies become even more important as the Earth’s environmental ecosystems are increasingly being affected at all levels. Ecological understanding and research in this area offer tangible hope for addressing extremely complex and potentially devastating assaults on local, regional and global ecosystems. Under the scheme, emphasis is laid on multi-disciplinary aspects of environmental conservation with emphasis on eco-system approach consistent with the identified thrust areas and orientation.
As per the Guideline the Programme Advisory Committee for Ecosystem Research Programme (EcRP), will appraise and scrutinize the new research proposals and also review the ongoing proposals.

Research Programme in Socio-Economic issues of Environment (RPSE)

 The Programme supports research on environmental and ecological economics, socio-economic issues arising out of extant as well as new contemplated legislations, tribal, rural, urban issues vis-à-vis legislation, role of gram panchayats and civil society in the implementation of environmental legislation - the programme is governed by the Guidelines for support to Environmental Research,2012.

During the year 2014-2015, 36 new research proposals have been appraised, 5 projects have been recommended for approval by the Programme Advisory Committee(PAC) and 1 Final Technical Report  has been submitted.

 

List of Completed Research Projects Under Research Programme on Socio-Economic Issues of Environment (RPSE)

 

Sl. No .

Title of the project

Name and address of PI’s/ Institutions/ Organization

  1.  

Estimating the economic value of forest lands in different Bio-geographic zones in India: A mythology”

Prof. Kanchan Chopra

Director, Institute of Economic Growth, University of Delhi Enclave, North Campus, Delhi.

  1.  

Valuation of Ecological Services of Wetlands in India

Dr. Krishna Mazumdar, Associate Professor, Economic Research Unit, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata-700108

WEST BENGAL

  1.  

Feasibility of  embodying incentive  based environmental regulatory instruments State and Central taxation regimes 

Prof. P. Appasamay/ Dr. D.K. Srivastava

Madras School of Economics,

Mandapam Road,

Kottur, Chennai-600025, TAMIL NADU  and

Dr. Rita Pandey, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP),

18/2, SatsangViharMarg, Special Institutional Area, New Delhi - 110067 

  1.  

Is India tunnelling through an Environmental Kuznet’s Curve (EKC)

Mr.Sauvik Bhattacharya / Ms.NeelanshaDwivedi

The Energy Research Institute (TERI),

Darbari Seth Block, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, New Delhi-110003

 

  1.  

Policy, Institutional & legal barriers to economic utilization of fly ash

Dr. Preety Bhandari,

Policy Analysis Division,

The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI),

Darbari Seth Block, IHC Complex, Lodhi Road,

New Delhi- 110003

  1.  

Formulation of a Sui-Generis Regime for traditional knowledge (Ethnobilogy)” -

 

Prof. P. Pushapangadan

Institute for Herbal and Biotech Product Development, Triruvanthapuram -695005

KERALA

  1.  

Corporate

Environmental

responsibility and the

Market: study of Indian

Manufacturing firms. 

Prof. P. D.  Jose,

Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangaluru -560076

KARNATAKA

  1.  

Societal Risks “Policy for Managing Societal

Risks in India”.

 

Prof. A. Damodaran,

Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangaluru -560076

KARNATAKA

  1.  

Development of mine closure strategy for sustainable surface coal mining in West Bengal

 

Dr. SuranjanSinha

Bengal Engineering & Science University, Shibpur West Bengal.

  1.  

Distribution of Benefit and Coasts among Stakeholders of a PProtected Area: An Empirical study or Great Himalayan National Park GHNP in Kullu (HP)

Dr. R. S. Prashar

Y.S Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry Litchi and Mango Research Station, Nagrota Bagwan- 176 047, Himachal Pradesh

 

Procedure for inviting proposal:

The research proposals are invited following a transparent procedure of an open advertisement through Electronic Media and Print Media.  The advertisement also provides the eligibility criteria, method for application and submission of proposals. The proposals are appraised through Programme Advisory Committee followed by Apex Committee under the Chairmanship of Secretary (E&F). Guidelines for Support to Environment Research – 2012, are already available on the website of the Ministry.

Dr.B.P.Pal and Pitambar Pant Fellowship Award:

The fellowship is awarded every year and is in recognition of significant important research and development contributions and is also intended to encourage talented individuals for whole time Research pursuits in the field of Biodiversity. Duration of the fellowship is two years. – Details on the Fellowship are available in the revised guidelines of the Fellowship (2013).

During the year, 3 nominations have been received and are under process.

Pitambar Pant National Environment Fellowship Award (2013) published.

Pitambar Pant National Environment Fellowship Award is given every year to encourage and recognize excellence in any branch of research related to the environmental sciences. The duration of the fellowship is two years. - Details on the Fellowship are available in the revised guidelines of the Fellowship (2013).During the year, 3 nominations have been received and are under process.

Mahatma Gandhi Chair for Ecology and Environment

The Mahatma Gandhi Chair for Ecology and Environment has been set up at the Centre for Biodiversity Studies, Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University, Rajouri, Jammu and Kashmir. An eminent scholar in the area of biodiversity has been selected and has joined as Mahatma Gandhi Chair at Center for Biodiversity Studies, Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University. The Fellow has initiated studies on plant diversity of Rajouri, Poonch and adjoining areas of Pir Panjal Himalayas.

Establishment of a New Chair in the name of Distinguished Scientist in the area of Environment and Ecology

The new Chair in the name of an eminent scientist has been named as Dr. T N Khoshoo Chair by the Apex Committee on Research in Environment.

Post Doctoral Fellowship Programme (PDFP)

The Expert Committee for the fellowship programme has been constituted.
 

All India Coordinated Project on Capacity Building in Taxonomy (AICOPTAX):

The mission of the AICOPTAX is “Enhancement of country’s capabilities for inventorying, monitoring, conserving, community participation in the assessment and utilizing biodiversity as well as for establishing leadership in the field of taxonomy at regional and global levels –also survey, collection and maintenance of collections of taxonomic groups including microbes for which no information is available. Out of 30 identified thematic areas, 15 have been implemented so far. And the investigation under AICOPTAX in the balance 15 thematic areas is under progress.

During the year 2014-15, Rs.1.68crore has already been sanctioned for the ongoing proposals under four thematic areas.

BSI & ZSI are the implementing agencies for the scheme and are responsible for achieving quality milestones of the scheme.

 

Janaki Ammal National Award for Taxonomy:

Janaki Ammal National Award for Taxonomy was named after the late Prof.E.K.Janaki Ammal who did taxonomic work of outstanding merit and excellence particularly in the area of cytotaxonomy and has been a source of inspiration to many young scientists. The Award aims to encourage work of excellence in taxonomy and also to encourage young students and scholars to work in this field of science. This Award on taxonomy covers all the three fields viz.Botany,Zoology and study of Micro-organisms. Each award carries `100000/- in cash along with a Citation,Scroll and Medallion.

During the year 2014-15, 15 nominations have been received for the prestigious Janaki Ammal National Award and is under process.

 

National Natural Resources Management System (NNRMS) Programme

The National Natural Resources Management System (NNRMS) Scheme of the Ministry is part of an umbrella scheme of the Planning Commission-Planning Committee-National Natural Resources Management System (PC-NNRMS) and is in operation since, 1985.  
The main objective of PC-NNRMS is utilization of remote sensing technology for inventorization, assessment and monitoring of country’s natural resources.  
To fulfill the above objective, the PC-NNRMS has constituted a number of different Standing Committees for different themes in various Ministries.   The Standing Committee on Bio-resources and Environment (SC-B) is one of the Standing Committees constituted by PC-NNRMS under the Chairmanship of Secretary (E&F) with Members from concerned line Ministries / Departments is attached in Annexure –V.  So far It has met 27 times.  About 120 projects addressing key environmental and ecological issues covering eco-system inventorization and monitoring of eco-systems, desertification, Forest Type Mapping, coastal land use and landforms, snow and glaciers, wetland inventory and assessment etc. have been sponsored. Out of these 98 projects have been completed.  Some of the mega projects undertaken and completed under this programme include the following:
 
  1. Forest Type Mapping on 1:50,000 scale of Entire Country Coordinated by FSI.
  2. Mapping of Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks on 1:25,000 scale Coordinated by Wildlife Institute of India
  3. Coastal Studies (Land use, Mangroves, Coral Reefs, etc.) for entire Indian Coast (1:25,000 scale)
  4. Snow & Glaciers mapping of entire Himalayas (1:250,000/50,000 scale) Coordinated by SAC (ISRO)
  5. National Wetland Inventory and Assessment (1:50,000 scale) Coordinated by SAC (ISRO)
National Wetland Information System and National Coastal Zone Information System in GIS Platform have been developed and are being extensively used in the implementation of wetland and CRZ notification.  
 
In order to streamline the process, Technical & Financial Sub-Committee has been constituted to scrutinize/review all the proposals submitted for funding under NNRMS SC-B from the technical and financial angle is attached in Annexure –VI.  Only those proposals recommended by the Sub-Committee are taken up by NNRMS SC-B for financial assistance. The Committee also oversees and monitors the progress of on-going sanctioned projects funded under NNRMS programme of the Ministry.
 
The potential user agencies for utilizing the outcome / information generated in the projects sanctioned by the Ministry under NNRMS programme are the Central Government Departments / Agencies, and the Ministry of Environment and Forests itself including the various organizations under its administrative control like FSI, ZSI, BSI etc.
Funding Pattern
The programme of National Natural Resource Management System (NNRMS) is 100 per cent centrally sponsored scheme as approved by Planning Commission and it has not envisages any financial participation from the states or any other agency. However, funds are released to the research agencies only in installments.
 

Eco-Sensitive Zones:

The National Environment Policy, 2006 defines Eco Sensitive Zones as areas/ zones, ‘with identified environmental resources having incomparable values which require special attention for their conservation’. The purpose of declaring Eco-sensitive Zone (ESZ) is to create some kind of “Shock Absorber” for the specialized Ecosystem, such as protected areas or other natural sites. The ESZ would act as transition zone  from areas of high protection to areas involving lesser protection. 
Objectives:
The objectives of the ESZ inter alia include:
  • To maintain the response level of an ecosystem within the permissible limits with respect to environmental parameters. 
  • To notify the area as an Eco- sensitive zone based on its need for special protection because of its landscape, wildlife, historical value, etc. and to regulate the developmental activities in order to maintain the carrying capacity of that area and to ensure sustainable development taking into consideration the needs and aspiration of the local people.

Statutory Provisions:

The Ministry of Environment and Forests is the nodal Ministry for notifying the Eco-sensitive Zone under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986. Section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act 1986 (EPA) gives power to the Central Government i.e. the Union Min¬istry of Environment and Forests to take all measures that it deems necessary or expedient for the purpose of protecting and improving the quality of the environment and preventing and controlling abating environmental pollution. To meet this objective, the Central Government can restrict areas in which any industries, operations or processes or class of industries, operations or processes shall not be car-ried out or shall be carried out subject to certain safeguards [Section 3(2)(v)]. Section 5(1) of the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986 (EPR), states that ‘the central government can prohibit or restrict the location of industries and carrying on certain operations or processes on the basis of considerations like the biological diversity of an area (clause v) maximum allowable limits of concentration of pollutants for an area (clause ii) environmentally compatible land use (clause vi) proximity to protected areas (clause viii)’.
The activities in the ESZs are of a regulatory nature rather than prohibitive nature, unless or otherwise so required. 

Types of Proposals:

The Ministry of Environment and Forests receives two types of proposals for declaring as Eco-sensitive Zones namely, (i) the proposals around protected areas and (ii) the proposals falling in non protected areas but require special attention and protection including hill stations. 
 
The proposals around protected areas are received from the State Government through Wildlife Division as per the extant Wildlife Division Guidelines. However, the proposals for non protected areas are received directly from the concerned State Governments. 
 

Procedure Followed:

After finalizing the draft notification, the same is placed in public domain for 60 days in accordance with the Rule 5 of the Environment (Protection) Rules, seeking views of public. 
 
The views/comments/activities recommended are compiled and considered by the Expert Committee for finalizing the final notification to be issued under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
 
The Expert Committee is a multi-disciplinary Committee comprising of subject expert institutions for examining the comments and finalizing the draft final notification based on the draft notification and the comments received thereon. 
 
The Expert Committee was constituted on 1st August, 2012 and the tenure of the Expert Committee is for a period of five years from the date of its constitution. The composition of the Expert Committee is at Annexure –VII.
 
After approval of competent authority, the final notification is published in the Gazette of India by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
 

Final Eco-sensitive Zone Notification issued so far (as on 17.07.2014):

The state-wise details of proposals for which final notification has been notified are given below.

S. No.

Proposal

Status

Around Protected Areas

1.            

Sultanpur Eco-Sensitive Zone, Haryana

Final notification issued on 27.01.2010

2.            

Girnar Eco-Sensitive Zone, Gujarat

Final notification issued on 31.05.2012

3.            

Narayan Sarovar Eco-Sensitive Zone, Gujarat

Final notification issued on 31.05.2012

4.            

Purna Eco-Sensitive Zone, Gujarat

Final notification issued on 31.05.2012

5.            

Vansda Eco-Sensitive Zone, Gujarat

Final notification issued on 31.05.2012

6.            

Dalma Eco-Sensitive Zone, Jharkhand

Final notification issued on 29.03.2012

7.            

Bandipur Eco-Sensitive Zone, Karnataka

Final notification issued on 04.10.2012

8.            

Marine National Park and Marine Sanctuary Eco-sensitive Zone, Gujarat

Final notification issued on 22.08.2013

Others (Around Non-protected Areas)

9.            

Dhanu Eco-Sensitive Zone, Maharastra

Final notification issued on 20.06.1991

10.         

Mahableshwar -Panchgani Eco-Sensitive Zone, Maharashtra

Final notification issued on 17.01.2001

11.         

Matheran Eco-Sensitive Zone, Maharashtra

Final notification issued on 04.02.2003

12.         

Mount Abu, Eco-Sensitive Zone, Rajasthan

Final notification issued on 25.06.2009

13.         

Dandi Eco-Sensitive Zone, Gujarat

Final notification issued on 26.04.2011

14.         

Bhagirathi Eco-Sensitive Zone, Uttarakhand

Final notification issued on 18.12.2012

 

Draft Eco-sensitive Zone Notification issued so far (as on 17.07.2014):

The state-wise details of proposals for which draft notification has been notified are given below.

S. No.

Proposal

 Present status

1.            

Thol Sanctuary Eco-sensitive Zone, Gujarat

Draft notification issued on 18.10.2013

2.            

Pulicat Bird Sanctuary as Eco-Sensitive Zone,  Andhra Pradesh

Draft notification issued on 03.01.2014

3.            

Khangchendzonga National Park, Sikkim

Draft notification issued on 03.02.2014

4.            

Fambonglho Wildlife Sanctuary, Sikkim

Draft notification issued on 04.02.2014

5.            

Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary, Sikkim

Draft notification issued on 04.02.2014

6.            

Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary, East Sikkim

Draft notification issued on 06.02.2014

7.            

Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary, Sikkim

Draft notification issued on 06.02.2014

8.            

Maenam Wildlife Sanctuary, Sikkim

Draft notification issued on 25.02.2014

9.            

Kitam Bird Sanctuary, Sikkim

Draft notification issued on 25.02.2014

10.         

Barsey Rhododendrom Sanctuary, Sikkim

Draft notification issued on 25.02.2014

11.         

Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary Eco-sensitive Zone, North Goa, Goa

Draft notification issued on 03.03.2014

12.         

Cotigao Wild Life Sanctuary Eco-sensitive Zone, South Goa, Goa

Draft notification issued on 03.03.2014

13.         

Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary Eco-sensitive Zone, North Goa, Goa

Draft notification issued on 03.03.2014

14.         

Madei Wildlife Sanctuary Eco-sensitive Zone, North Goa, Goa

Draft notification issued on 03.03.2014

15.         

Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary & National Park Eco-sensitive Zone,           North Goa,

Draft notification issued on 03.03.2014 and amendment issued on 19.03.2014.

16.         

Netravali Wild Life Sanctuary Eco-sensitive Zone, South Goa, Goa

Draft notification issued on 03.03.2014 and amendment issued on 19.03.2014.

17.         

Kapilash Wildlife Sanctuary Eco-sensitive Zone

Draft notification issued on 04.07.2014.