New Delhi: India must find ways to strike an appropriate balance between environmental concerns and developmental needs, President Pratibha Patil said Monday.
"The government attaches the highest importance to the implementation of all laws relating to the protection of the environment and forests. The rapid pace of economic growth is imposing new challenges and a developing country like ours must find ways to strike an appropriate balance between environmental imperatives and developmental needs," Patil said, addressing the joint sitting of the two houses of parliament here.
She said the government has constituted a group of ministers (GoM) to look into all issues related to the reconciliation of environmental concerns arising out of different kinds of developmental activities, without in any way diluting the country`s pursuit of ecologically sustainable growth paths.
Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has been at loggerheads with many ministries for holding up several infrastructure projects for violation of green laws.
Patil said conservation of rivers is an ongoing and collective effort of the central and state governments.
"Several measures have been initiated by the government under the National Ganga River Basin Authority. A consortium of seven IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology) is preparing a Basin Management Plan for the river Ganga," she said.
The government has established a National Green Tribunal to ensure effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources, she said.
Patil said scientific and technological competence of a high order is essential for sustained economic growth.
"A significant milestone was achieved in the three-stage indigenous nuclear programme with the commissioning of the second Power Reactor Processing Plant in Tarapur."
Patil said a Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council will be set up to augment efforts on food security, promote industrial research and development and facilitate innovation in biotechnology.
A Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India Bill is proposed to be introduced in this session.
"Management of water resources of our country poses a major challenge. Emphasis will be given to increasing public awareness and ensuring participation of stakeholders in water management. Further, an integrated river basin approach, combining both surface and ground water, using advanced technological tools, would be adopted for water management and conservation," she added.