National Environment Policy, 2006
A diverse developing society such as India provides numerous challenges in the economic, social, political, cultural, and environmental arenas. All of these coalesce in the dominant imperative of alleviation of mass poverty, reckoned in the multiple dimensions of livelihood security, health care, education, empowerment of the disadvantaged, and elimination of gender disparities. The present national policies for environmental management are contained in the National Conservation Strategy and Policy Statement on Environment and Development 1992, Policy Statement on Abatement of Pollution 1992, National Agriculture Policy 2000, National Population Policy 2000 and National Water Policy, 2002 have also contributed towards environmental management. All of these policies have recognized the need for sustainable development in their specific contexts and formulated necessary strategies to give effect to such recognition. The National Environment Policy seeks to extend the coverage, and fill in gaps that still exist, in light of present knowledge and accumulated experience. It does not displace, but builds on the earlier policies. Sustainable development concerns in the sense of enhancement of human well-being, broadly conceived, are a recurring theme in India’s development philosophy. The present day consensus reflects three foundational aspirations. First, that human beings should be able to enjoy a decent quality of life; second, that humanity should become capable of respecting the finiteness of the biosphere; and third, that neither the aspiration for the good life, nor the recognition of biophysical limits should preclude the search for greater justice in the world. The National Environment Policy is also a response to India’s commitment to a clean environment, mandated in the Constitution in Articles 48 A and 51 A (g), strengthened by judicial interpretation of Article 21. It is recognized that maintaining a healthy environment is not the state’s responsibility alone, but also that of every citizen. A spirit of partnership should thus be realized throughout the spectrum of environmental management in the country. While the state must galvanize its efforts, there should also be recognition by each individual – natural or institutional, of its responsibility towards maintaining and enhancing the quality of the environment.