Expert Expressions Environmental governance in India on state level The subjects of â€˜Forestsâ€™ and â€˜Environment Protectionâ€™ were earlier in the State List in Indian Constitution. These were brought into the Concurrent List with the 42nd Amendment to Indian Constitution in 1975. The Ministry of Environment was established as a Scientific Department in November, 1980. At that time, the existing Department of Forests and Wildlife had been under the Ministry of Agriculture. The new Department of Environment was directly under the Prime Minister. In May 1985, the Department of Environment was placed along with Forests and Wildlife Departments under one Ministry called MoEF. This was done in the aftermath of Bhopal Gas leak disaster of December, 1984. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution)Act of 1974, The Water Cess Act of 1977, The Air ( Prevention and Control of Pollution)Act of 1981 and The Environment (Protection ) Act ,1986 were all inspired by and enacted to implement the decisions reached at the United Nations Conference on Human Environment , held in Stockholm in 1972.The Biodiversity Act, 2002 was passed pursuant to the recommendations of Rio Summit of 1992. The Environment (Protection) Act of 1986 was umbrella legislation and gave all powers to the central government to control pollution and protect the environment. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) is a statutory nodal organization established by government of India for pollution control. The Environment (Protection) Act of 1986 and the amendment to the Air and Water Acts in 1987 and 1988 extended the scope of the functions of CPCB. It was the Water Act of 1974 which provided for the institutionalization of pollution control machinery , with the establishment of State Boards for prevention and control of pollution of water . In Uttar Pradesh, Water Pollution Prevention and Control Board was established on Feb3, 1976 under the Water Act of 1974. After the Air Act of 1981 was passed by the Parliament, the name of U.P. Board was changed to U.P. Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) and it was also given the powers under the Air Act, 1981.Both the Directorate of Environment and U.P. Pollution Control Board were placed under the Department of Environment in government of U.P. State Pollution Control Board functions are: 1. Consent to establish and consent to operate to producing units under the Air and Water Acts 2. Enforcement national Standards for air and water pollution 3 Planning and implementing state-level pollution control programmes for the protection and improvement of environment 4. Collection of water cess from the users of water 5. Authorization of hazardous waste disposal under the Environment Protection Act 6. Authorization of disposal of E-Waste 7. Control of Noise pollution At present, the major role of prescribing the standard limits for various pollutants has been retained by the CPCB. The SPCB is not allowed to dilute the standards stipulated by the CPCB, though it may, if it chooses, prescribe stricter limits .The SPCB has powers to move court for restraining apprehended pollution as a preventive measure under the Air Act and Water Act. In extreme case, SPCB can give directions to any person, officer or authority in the interest of pollution control and this includes the power to direct closure, prohibition or regulation of any industry or process, or stoppage or regulation of supply of electricity, water or any other service, under the Water Act or Air Act. Some of the constraints in the working of SPCBs are as below: 1. Staff: SPCBs are poorly staffed. There are few sanctioned posts .Many of the sanctioned posts are vacant for a long time, 2. The chairman of the Board is invariably a political appointee. As a result, political interference is rampant. There is internal sabotage in most cases where an action is needed against defaulters. There is a lack of professional members in the Boards, 3. Inadequate Funding: The main sources of funding of the SPCBs are government grants and revenue collected under the Water Cess Act, 1977. But these are highly inadequate and in actual practice, SPCBs are starved of funds. The expenditure on pollution prevention activities, research and development, training is very low because funds are not just available, 4. Poor infrastructure: Most of SPCBs have poor funding for laboratories and equipments to monitor pollution of various kinds. Even in terms of regional offices and buildings, funding is not available, 5. Judicial Intervention: The activist role played by the higher judiciary has been on the rise. One reason is that central and state governments invariably sacrifice the environment over jobs and economic growth. There is a race to bottom for environmental quality. As a result, High Courts, National Green Tribunal and Supreme Court have to often intervene. This model of ad-hoc court driven environmental law enforcement raises problems of its own. Can an SPCB monitor the status of pollution control equipment installed by industries and the effluent discharge? The answer is no because the capacity and budget of the Board is quite pathetic and it is nearly impossible for it to enforce pollution control laws on the industries. The environment governance in the country needs improvement. This is evident by the fact that thousands of cores of rupees were spent on the Ganga Action Plan but it failed to achieve its goal of cleaning the Ganga. Environmental Impact Assessment is being undertaken mechanically just to get the environmental clearance under the Environment Protection Act. A status report of E-Waste collection and recycling units in Uttar Pradesh will help in clarifying the situation. In UP, so far (May, 2017), only 25 centres have been approved by UPPCB. In this era of Digital India, this arrangement for E-Waste Disposal is not at all adequate. Similarly, UPPCB is regularly quality monitoring the major surface water bodies at 34 places and ambient air quality at 39 places in the state. But this is not enough to control pollution of rivers and air pollution of cities of UP. The staffing of Directorate of Environment of UP is precarious. With a handful of officials, it cannot discharge its mandate of creating awareness and environmental literacy in a big state like Uttar Pradesh. The budget of the department of environment is very low (10.59 crores for 2016-17) because there is no worthwhile scheme to improve environment. A major revamping in Environment Governance is called for in Uttar Pradesh to seriously work to control pollution of Ganga and other rivers, to control extremely high levels of Air pollution in major cities of Uttar Pradesh and to assume effective leadership in Swachch Bharat Abhiyan.