Indian Environmental Service : Daily Current Affairs

Relevance: GS-2: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive.

Key phrases: All India service, Indian Environment service, T.S.R Subramanian committee 2014, Art 312

Why in News?

The Supreme Court has asked the Government if it will create an Indian Environmental Service (IES) as recommended by a committee headed by former Cabinet secretary T.S.R Subramanian in 2014.

  • India has a massive cleanliness problem. Several national level sanitation programs like the Comprehensive Rural Sanitation Program, the Total Sanitation Campaign, the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan and the more recent and certainly well marketed.
  • Swach Bharat Abhiyan have seen some success in increasing the number of dry latrines and reducing open defecation. However, the larger problems of waste disposal and behavioural change have seen no impact except in the event of photo opportunities and namesake token events.
  • Given the chaos all over the country with waste piling beyond control every day in urban and now even in rural areas, the uncontrolled pollution of water bodies and the air we breathe by industries and transport, the ever growing population amongst several other issues — the time is already overdue for the creation of the fourth All India Service — the Indian Environmental Service or IEnS.


All India Services

  • The All India Services (AIS) comprises three civil services: the Indian Administrative Service, the Indian Police Service and the Indian Forest Service.
  • A unique feature of the All India Services is that the members of these services are recruited by the centre (Union government in federal polity), but their services are placed under various State cadres, and they have the liability to serve both under the State and under the centre.
  • In the Article 312 of the constitution of India, provisions are made with respect to All India Services. The All India Services as well as All India Judicial Service can be created by parliament of India if the Rajya Sabha passes a resolution which declares that it is essential in the interest of the nation.

Why there is a need of a new All India Service i.e “Indian Environment Service''?

In Supreme Court, Senior advocate K Sultan Singh provide various Argument in favour of creating Indian Environment Service:

  • He stated that there is a lack of trained personnel involved in the administration, policy formulation, and supervising the implementation of policies of the state and central governments.
  • The constant degradation of our ecosystem needs special attention from the Civil Service as well as from the part of the government.
  • Looking at the current administrative set-up, it can be inferred that the government servants might not be able to spare special time for environmental causes. Seeing the scientific and technical nature of the environment sector, it can be assumed that officers with a background in environmental science can come up with better solutions for numerous issues.
  • The constant environmental degradation, ecological imbalance, climate change, water scarcity, etc. are a great concern for India. The citizens are facing many environmental issues such as air pollution, water pollution, non-eradication of solid waste and garbage and pollution of the natural environment. One of the major causes of environmental degradation is the flaw of the existing system that lies in the enforcement capabilities of environmental institutions at various levels.
  • It pointed out that there was no effective coordination amongst various Ministries/institutions regarding the integration of environmental concerns.
  • While India has a strong environmental policy and legislative framework, much of the problem relates to weak implementation of the various acts and the rules there under.

T.S.R. Subramanian Committee report in 2014

  • The Subramanian committee was set up in August 2014 to review the country’s green laws and the procedures followed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).
  • The report proposed an ‘Environmental Laws (Management) Act’ (ELMA), that envisioned full-time expert bodies—National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) and State Environmental Management Authority (SEMA) to be constituted at the Central and State levels respectively to evaluate project clearance (using technology and expertise), in a time bound manner, providing for single-window clearance.
  • To accelerate the environmental decision-making process, they suggested a “fast track” procedure for “linear” projects (roads, railways and transmission lines), power and mining projects and for “projects of national importance.”
  • The Air Act and the Water Act is to be subsumed within the Environment Protection Act.
  • The report also recommends that an “environmental reconstruction cost” should be assessed for each project on the basis of the damage caused by it to the environment and this should be added into the cost of the project. This cost has to be recovered as a cess or duty from the project proponent during the life of the project.
  • At the tail end, it proposed a National Environment Research institute “on the lines of the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education” to bring in the application of high-end technology in environment governance and finally, an Indian Environment Service to recruit qualified and skilled human resource in the environment sector.

Way forward:

  • Due to problems of implementation and enforcement many of the set goals have not come to fruition. Given the turmoil all over the country concerning environmental issues, the creation of the All India Service “The Indian Environment Service'' is the need of the hour.
  • The plea has also sought setting up an Indian Environmental Service Academy to train officers for environmental law enforcement.
  • An Indian Environmental Service Academy can be set up to train Officers for Environmental Law Enforcement similar to the Administrative and Police academies.
  • The Pollution Control Boards can be merged with this All India Service to empower them further.

Police Environmental Protection Units in Sri Lanka

  • Our neighbour, the island nation of Sri Lanka (which set up 136 Police Environmental Protection Units in 2010 dedicating 8 of these units for the capital city alone).
  • It is a special force and a dedicated unit from police force which will work for the protection of environment.

Source: The Hindu  

Q. Recently, The Supreme Court sought the government’s response on the creation of an independent Indian Environment Service in the “All India Service cadre”, in this regard discuss the current challenge faced by implementation of environment law in India. What is the significance of Indian Environment Service in enforcing environment law? Critically analyse.