New Delhi: Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar Tuesday said that merit-based and information technology-driven initiatives would help striking a balance between environment protection and development.
Speaking after launching the first version of Geographical Information System (GIS) based Decision Support System for Forest Clearance, he noted that this step was the latest in a series of key initiatives to fast-track efficient, expedite and transparent decision making pertaining to effective forest management, environment protection and biodiversity conservation.
Javadekar said that in order to facilitate the needs of the critical sectors, necessary amendments had been carried out to balance environment protection, development, logistical needs and requirements.
"Such projects would be balanced with compensatory afforestation programmes," he said.
The minister also said that in order to decentralize the process of granting of forest clearances, the ministry had constituted empowered committees at regional levels and delegated decision-making powers to these committees for issuing forest clearances to projects like railway lines, transmission lines, highways, and pipelines.
In a similar vein, development processes had been expedited in Left wing extremism affected areas.
Giving the future course of action, Javadekar said that information on Eco Sensitive Zones would now be made available through the newly launched web-based decision support system.