Environmental clearance for establishing and operating Industries in India

12/02/2020 0 By indiafreenotes

Environmental clearances are required for 29 types of projects specified in Schedule 1 of the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006.

Moreover, the Central Pollution Control Board introduced a colour codification for industries depending on their impact on the environment. Industries were classified on a pollution potential index as red, orange, green and white industries. Only ‘white’ industries can function without seeking environmental clearances.

Environmental clearances are also required regardless of the type of project in areas which are ecologically fragile, such as-

  • Religious and historic places
  • Archaeological monuments
  • Scenic areas
  • Hill resorts
  • Beach resorts
  • Coastal areas rich in mangroves, corals, breeding grounds of specific species
  • Estuaries
  • Gulf areas
  • Biosphere reserves
  • National parks and sanctuaries
  • National lakes and swamps
  • Seismic zones
  • Tribal settlements
  • Areas of scientific and geological interest
  • Defence installations, especially those of security importance and sensitive to pollution
  • Border areas (international)

Early Legislation


Environmental regulations in India received a began during British times, with the coming of the Industrial Revolution. These laws, however, were less protective of the environment and more oppressive for the native Indians. The Forest Acts of 1865 and 1927, for example, were the first laws protecting the forests, but focussed more on curtailing the customary rights of the local forest communities.

Criminal sanctions for water and atmospheric pollution were also introduced under the Indian Penal Code, 1860, along with a number of legislations in different Presidencies. Again, the aim of these laws was not to conserve the environment, but to restrict their use by the natives and allow their exploitation by the British.


After Independence and before the 1970’s, the only environmental regulation in India was done by a few scattered regulations, a few Central and various State Acts.

  • Factories Act, 1948

The Factories Act, 1948 required factories to effectively manage waste disposal and gave State governments the ability to make rules under it.

  • River Boards Act, 1956

Under the River Boards Act, 1956, river boards were established to deal with the problem of pollution of rivers spanning multiple states.

  • State Acts

Some states also took steps to remedy environmental degradation by enacting their own legislation, such as the Orissa River Pollution Prevention Act, 1953 and the Maharashtra Prevention of Water Pollution Act, 1969.

Regulatory Framework

The 1970’s saw, for the first time. The formulation of comprehensive policies and legislation for the preservation of the environment.


Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 was aimed at a modern and rational management of wildlife.

The Act established a network of ecologically-important protected areas where industrial activity was absolutely banned and provided protection to listed species of flora and fauna. The government was given the power to-

  • Declare any area as a wildlife sanctuary, national park or closed area
  • Regulate the hunting of wild animals. This led to a prohibition on the hunting of animals except with prior permission when an animal has become dangerous to human life or property or disabled beyond recovery.
  • Restrict trade in animals and animal artifacts.

A permit is required for any activity such as mining, industry or infrastructure that is likely to destroy or harm any wildlife or their habitat in a Protected Area, or divert, stop or enhance the flow of water in a Protected Area.