News

Parliamentary Panel Adopts Report on Wildlife Protection Bill

On 18th April 2022 Congress Leader Jairam Ramesh announced that the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment, Forests and Climate Change has finalised and adopted its report on the Wildlife Protection (Amendment) Bill 2021. 

Jairam Ramesh was also the Chairman of the Standing Committee. According to his announcement, “the report strikes a fine balance between the government’s  aims and valid concerns of conservationists”  The report shall be submitted before the deadline of 24th April, 2022 and thereafter be made available to the public. 

The Bill envisioned to amend the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 to establish an effective and better structure of compliance with the mandates of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).  Further, the Amendment Bill also envisages to include factors such as “conservation” and “management” of wildlife that have been dealt with in the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. It seeks to  establish mechanisms and implement amendments that shall promote robust management of the identified protected areas.

The Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on 17 December 2021 and on December 25 it was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment. 


News

IFSCA releases Draft Framework on Sustainable Financial Lending

On 2nd March 2022, The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) released a draft framework on sustainable and sustainability-linked lending by financial in IFSCs.

The Consultation framework states that, “Banks and Finance Companies/Units are critical supporting pillars for achieving a low carbon, sustainable future provided they establish a robust framework for putting in place financing solutions, to help clients transition to a low carbon and green economy.”

Hence, the paper envisages to encourage the IFSC Banking Units (IBU) and Finance Companies/Finance Units (FC/FUs) (undertaking lending activities from IFSCs) to develop internal comprehensive Board approved policy on green/social/sustainable/sustainability linked lending. The guidance intends to provide a broad framework for adoption of principles aligned with the existing international standards viz. Green/Social Loan Principles developed by Loan Market Association (LMA), Bond Principles developed by International Capital Markets Association (ICMA), Climate Bond Standards by Climate Bonds Initiative and any other similar recognized standards.

The core components of such a policy on lending shall address the following considerations:

  1. Borrower assessment process,
  2. Assessing the use of proceeds and appropriately describing it in the legal documentation of the loan facility,
  3. Process to be adopted for project evaluation and selection, management of proceeds,
  4. Reporting mechanism,
  5. Monitoring either internally or through external reviewer, and;
  6. De-classification of lending facilities.

News

Govt. Notifies Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2022

On 16th February 2022, the Central Government published Rules to amend Schedule II of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 , in exercise of the powers conferred by sections 3, 6, and 25 of the Environment (Protection) Act 1986 (29 of 1986). The said amendment is notified to come into force with immediate effect.

Key Amendments:

The following obligated entities that fall under the category of Extended Producer Responsibility have to get registered in the centralized portal developed by Central Pollution Control Board.

  1. Producer (P) of plastic packaging;
  2. 3Importer (I) of all imported plastic packaging and / or plastic packaging of imported products;
  3. Brand Owners (BO) including online platforms/marketplaces and supermarkets/retail chains other than those, which are micro and small enterprises as per the criteria of Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Government of India.;
  4. Plastic Waste Processors

The plastic packaging categories that are to be covered under the extended producer responsibility are identified as under:

  1. Category I- Rigid plastic packaging;
  2. Category II- Flexible plastic packaging of single layer or multilayer (more than one layer with different types of plastic), plastic sheets or like and covers made of plastic sheet, carry bags, plastic sachet or pouches;3
  3. Category III- Multi-layered plastic packaging (at least one layer of plastic and at least one layer of material other than plastic);
  4. Category IV- Plastic sheet or like used for packaging as well as carry bags made of compostable plastics.

The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) targets for the Producers, Importers & Brand-Owners shall be determined category-wise and calculated as per the formula and annexure attached at the end of the Schedule.

Environmental Compensation shall be levied on the polluter as per the Polluter Pays Principle in the event of non-fulfilment of EPR targets by Producers, Importers & Brand Owner to improve the quality of the environment.  

Central Pollution Control Board shall charge compensation on defaulter Producers, Importers & Brand-Owners that operate in more than two states. State Pollution Control Board shall levy compensation on the default producers operating within their jurisdiction.

The relevant entities are mandated register through the online centralized portal and submit their Action Plan to the Board. The said Plan shall contain information on the Extended Producer Responsibility Target, category-wise, where applicable, along with application for registration or renewal of registration under the Rules. The Action Plan shall also cover tenure of the Registration as per the provisions of the Rules. The standard operating procedure for registration and the action plan pro forma shall be developed by Central Pollution Control Board.

In addition to the fulfilment of obligations under EPR, the registered entities can develop collection and segregation infrastructure of plastic packaging waste, as required, on the basis of the category of plastics. The entities that shall be involved in waste collection will hand over the waste for treatment and recycling or for identified end uses.

Central Board shall also establish an online system for the registration as well as for filing of annual returns by Producers, Importers & Brand-Owners, and plastic waste processors of plastic packaging waste by 31st March 2022.  All the activities related to implementation of EPR will run under the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 till the time the said portal is developed.

The Amendment also states that the Central Pollution Control Board shall constitute a committee under chairpersonship of Chairman, Central Pollution Control Board that shall be responsible for  recommending measures to Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for the effective implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility that shall include amendments to EPR guidelines.