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Mandatory EIA reporting: Sectors for which EIA is required

Environmental Impact assessment (EIA) is a tool for ensuring sustainable development through the evaluation/identification of positive or negative impacts associated with significant environmental effects. The purpose of the Environmental Impact assessment is to ensure the decision makers/managers to decide whether to proceed with the project or not. In general EIA is used to identify the environmental impacts of projects of larger magnitude.

The  International Association for Impact  Assessment  (IAIA) defines an environmental impact  assessment  as  “the process of identifying,  predicting, evaluating and mitigating the  biophysical,  social, and other relevant effects of development proposals prior to major decisions  being taken and commitments made.”

Environmental Impact assessment is anticipatory, participatory and systematic in nature and relies on multidisciplinary input.

The phrase Environmental Impact Assessment comes from Sec.  102(2) of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 1969, USA.

In India,  EIA came into existence in around 1978­-79 , but it was made mandatory only in 1994 under the Environmental Protection Act of 1986 with the following four objectives:

  • Predict environmental impact of projects;
  • Find ways and means to reduce adverse impacts;
  • Shape the projects to suit local environment; and
  • Present the predictions and options to the decision-makers.

MoEF has categorized 40 sectors which require Environmental Clearance before commencing any of the project activity and for which EIA is to be done. These are categorized on the basis of activities and the area of the project.

Sectors for which EIA is required to be done can be categorized under the following heads:

Sr. No.


1 Mining of minerals including Opencast/Underground mining
2 Offshore and onshore oil and gas exploration, development & production
3 River Valley, Hydel, Drainage and Irrigation projects
4 Thermal Power Plants
5 Nuclear power projects and processing of nuclear fuel
6 Coal washeries
7 Mineral beneficiation including pelletisation
8 Metallurgical industries (ferrous & non ferrous) – both primary and secondary
9 Cement plants
10 Petroleum refining industry
11 Coke oven plants
12 Asbestos milling and asbestos based products
13 Chlor-alkali industry
14 Soda ash Industry
15 Leather/skin/hide processing industry
16 Chemical fertilizers
17 Pesticides industry and pesticide specific intermediates (excluding formulations)
18 Petro-chemical complexes (industries based on processing of petroleum fractions & natural gas and/or reforming to aromatics)
19 Textile – cotton and manmade fibers
20 Petrochemical based processing (processes other than cracking & reformation and not covered under the complexes)
21 Synthetic organic chemicals industry (dyes & dye intermediates; bulk drugs and intermediates excluding drug formulations; synthetic rubbers; basic organic chemicals, other synthetic organic chemicals and chemical intermediates)
22 Distilleries
23 Integrated paint industry
24 Pulp & paper industry excluding manufacturing of paper from wastepaper and manufacture of paper from ready pulp without bleaching
25 Sugar Industry
26 Induction/arc furnaces/cupola furnaces/submerged arc furnace/crucible furnace/re-heating furnace of capacity more than 5Tonne per heat
27 Oil & gas transportation pipeline (crude and refinery/ petrochemical products), passing through national parks/ sanctuaries/coral reefs /ecologically sensitive areas including LNG terminal
28 Isolated storage & handling of Hazardous chemicals (As per threshold planning quantity indicated in column 3 of schedule 2 & 3 of MSIHC Rules 1989 amended 2000)
29 Air ports
30 All ship breaking yards including ship breaking units
31 Industrial estates/ parks/ complexes/areas, export processing Zones (EPZs), Special Economic Zones (SEZs), Biotech Parks, Leather Complexes
32 Common hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities (TSDFs)
33 Ports, harbours, jetties, marine terminals, break waters and dredging
34 Highways, railways, transport terminals, mass rapid transport systems
35 Aerial ropeways
36 Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs)
37 Common Municipal Solid Waste Management Facility (CMSWMF)
38 Building and large construction projects including shopping malls, multiplexes, commercial complexes, housing estates, hospitals, institutions
39 Townships and Area development projects
40 Additional Sectors
i) Automobile and Auto Components
ii) Electroplating and Metal Coating
iii) Electrical and Electronics including component industry
iv) Glass and Ceramic Industry
v) Food Processing

Many projects are still excluded from the list for which there is requirement of Environment Impact Assessment. Such projects require reconsideration in future so that projects/activities under certain domain can also be included in the list of sectors and avail the benefit of initially identified environmental and social impacts.

Reference: Mr. Abhaya Garg


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