India, October 20, 2014: The Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF), in coordination with Forest Survey of India (FSI) – Dehradun, is developing a GIS based decision support system (DSS) which will be fully operational by the end of October. Currently in its initial stages, the DSS will support decision-makers with quick access to high resolution satellite imagery and ground details of forest cover, eco-sensitive zones, geo-referenced boundaries of protected areas and net present value (NVP) of region and state-wise forest cover. The initiative is part of the ongoing process to streamline green clearance process for industrial, infrastructure, mining and power projects by the Indian government.
The DSS will be used for daily patrolling, surveillance and monitoring of wildlife and forest cover and will have specific components for wildlife management like information on notified tiger corridors, migratory corridors and endangered flora and fauna habitat. The system will also provide information on location of forest infrastructure like watch towers and Very High Frequency (VHF) towers.
The DSS will be the third high-tech platform to smoothen green clearance processes. Already functional platforms include an online environment clearance (EC) system and an online forest clearance (FC) system, launched in June and July respectively. Traditionally industries first had to get an environment clearance followed by a forest clearance. But now, together, these systems aim at giving industries both environmental and forest clearance simultaneously in a day. This results in a fast track process which is also transparent in nature.
All proposals for forest clearance are being accepted only through the online portal with effect from August 15. The ministry claims that Online Submission and Monitoring of Forest Clearance Proposal (OSMFCP) has drastically reduced the need for human interface between the green ministry officials and clearance applicants at all level, cutting the time involved in the process.
"These measures were intended to bring in more transparency, efficiency and accountability in grant of regulatory clearances," Indian Environment Minister, Prakash Javadekar said after launch of the portal.
Source: Times of India