India will become a $5-trillion economy "only when" development and environment protection go hand in hand, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Monday, adding that his ministry will ensure ease of doing "responsible business".
Speaking at the 15th national convention on "Housing For All 2022: Real Estate Inflection Point: Readying for the Future" here, Javadekar said more than imposing huge conditions on development projects in the country, the effort of the ministry is towards making rules simpler and fewer, but ensuring stricter implementation.
"India can become a USD 5-triilion economy only when development and environment go together. Neither should be compromised. We will do whatever is necessary for environment and at the same time ensure responsible business," he said.
The minister also said that under his leadership, the government has already reduced the number of days of granting environmental approvals from 640 days to 108 days and aims at bringing it to 60 days.
"More than imposing conditions, the focus will be on implementation. We will make sure there are lesser conditions but stricter implementations. Applications will be processed faster.
"We made the process of environmental approvals for development projects easy by first bringing down the time taken from 640 days to 108 days and will do our best to bring it further down to 60 days," he said.
Highlighting the role of State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), constituted by the Centre at state levels, Javadekar said his ministry will check the authority for delays on its part and take action against SEIAA, if the need arises.
"We will conduct meetings with SEIAA to check delays and if we find out irrelevant delays, we will take away powers from them. The Centre has given them the power as Environment Protection Act is of the Central government," he said.
The minister assured that in the next six months the process of granting approvals to builders and developers will become faster, but he urged them to take environment friendly initiatives.
"I need suggestions from developers and builders also to understand the delay in grant of approvals. We will think about those suggestions.
"I also insist builders/developers to come up with environment friendly actions like plantations, rain water harvesting systems, low consumption of water, waste water recycling system, use of solar power, waste collection and segregation etc," he said.
It was the first day of the two-day convention, organised by the National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO), at Hotel Taj Palace.
The session was also attended by Suresh Kumar Sharma, the Urban Development and Housing Minister of Bihar.