New green rules make Niti Aayog see red

Displeased with a slew of business-unfriendly rules that the Ministry of Environment & Forests has recently announced, the Arvind Panagariya-headed Niti Aayog is likely to direct the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) to look into the matter.

Some of the rules brought out by Prakash Javadekar’s Ministry recently appear to be at variance with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s emphasis on enhancing the ease of doing business in India. They have the potential of aggravating the incidence of ‘inpector raj,’ the bane of manufacturing, especially in the SME sector.

For instance, Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, announced on March 19, stipulates nine tough conditions on the “manufacture, importer stocking, distribution, sale and use of carry bags, plastic sheets or like, or cover made of plastic sheet and multilayered packaging.”

Some of the stipulations are practically impossible to implement or monitor and, therefore, are a recipe for increase in corruption: “carry bags and plastic packaging shall either be in natural shade which is without any added pigments or made using only those pigments and colorants which are in conformity with Indian Standard: IS 9833:1981…”; “carry bags made of recycled plastic or products made of recycled plastic shall not be used for storing, carrying, dispensing or packaging ready to eat or drink food stuff”; carry bag[s] made of virgin or recycled plastic, shall not be less than fifty microns in thickness…”

Similarly, E-waste (Management) Rules, 2016, announced on March 29, has provisions that leave a lot of scope for unnecessary permissions and inspections.

Niti Aayog, one of whose specified functions is “to actively monitor and evaluate the implementation of programmes and initiatives,” will soon interact with the DIPP to ensure that the Prime Minister’s initiative to facilitate business does not get diluted, said official sources. The Prime Minister is also the ex-officio chairman of the Aayog.