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

NOV 23

Preliminary   > Environment and Ecology   >   Pollution   >   Air pollution

Why in news?

  • Responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to roll back the three contentious farm laws, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, the umbrella body of farmer unions that is leading the agitation, wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister.
  • The letter along with many other demands also sought the removal of the penal provisions on farmers in the Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Act 2021

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

  • The act provides for the constitution of a Commission for better co-ordination, research, identification, and resolution of problems related to air quality in the National Capital Region (NCR) and adjoining areas (Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh)
  • The act dissolves the Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority established in the NCR in 1998.

Need for such an Act:

  • The monitoring and management of air quality in the Delhi-NCR region has been done in pieces by multiple bodies, including the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the state pollution control boards, the state governments in the region, and the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) of the National Capital Region
  • They, in turn, are monitored by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change, and the Supreme Court which monitors air pollution as per the judgment in ‘M C Mehta vs Union of India’ case in 1988.
  • The Act seeks to create an overarching body to consolidate all monitoring bodies, and to bring them on one platform so that air quality management can be carried out in a more comprehensive, efficient, and time-bound manner.
  • The Centre also seeks to relieve the Supreme Court from having to constantly monitor pollution levels through various cases.

Functions of the Commission:

  • Co-ordinating actions taken under the act by concerned state governments (Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh)
  • Planning and executing plans to prevent and control air pollution in the NCR
  • Providing a framework for identification of air pollutants
  • Conducting research and development through networking with technical institutions
  • Training and creating a special workforce to deal with issues related to air pollution
  • Preparing various action plans such as increasing plantation and addressing stubble burning.

Powers of the Commission:

  • Restricting activities influencing air quality
  • Preparing codes and guidelines to prevent and control air pollution
  • Commission can impose and collect environment compensation from farmers causing pollution by stubble burning.  This compensation will be prescribed by the central government.  
  • Investigating and conducting research related to environmental pollution impacting air quality
  • In case of any conflict, the orders or directions of the Commission will prevail over the orders of the respective state governments, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), state PCBs, and state-level statutory bodies.

PRELIMS QUESTION

Consider the following statements regarding the Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Act, 2021:

1. The Act dissolves the Environment Pollution Prevention and Control Authority established in the NCR in 1998.

2. The Commission constituted under the Act can impose and collect environment compensation from farmers causing pollution by stubble burning

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer