Things You Should Know About Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)​

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a systematic process aimed at evaluating the anticipated environmental impacts of a proposed project or development. This assessment takes into consideration inter-related socio-economic, cultural, and human-health impacts, encompassing both beneficial and adverse effects.

In India, the statutory backing for Environmental Impact Assessment is provided by the Environment Protection Act of 1986, which outlines various provisions regarding EIA methodology and the concept of environmental impact assessment. EIA serves as a vital management tool, ensuring the optimal utilization of natural resources for sustainable development across various sectors, including industries, thermal power projects, mining schemes, and more.

Environmental Clearance

Environmental Clearance (EC) is a procedural step involving government approval for projects that may cause environmental pollution. The government has categorized projects requiring environmental clearance, such as mining, thermal power plants, and infrastructure. Projects fall into Category A or B, with clearance granted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for Category A and by the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority for Category B. The EIA Notification of 2006 lists 29 types of projects necessitating environmental clearance, and a color-coded classification system categorizes industries based on their environmental impact.

The Environmental Impact Assessment Notification of 2006,

superseding the 1994 notification establishes a comprehensive procedure for obtaining prior environmental clearance for project establishment or expansion. Approval is required for projects listed under Schedule 1, developmental projects in fragile areas, and industrial projects with an investment exceeding Rs. 500 million. The clearance process involves categorizing industries into A and B, with the Ministry of Environment granting clearance for Category A and the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority for Category B.

The stages of environmental clearance encompass screening, scoping, public consultation, and appraisal. These stages involve scrutinizing project details, defining the scope of environmental impact assessment, seeking public opinions, and conducting detailed scrutiny by expert appraisal committees.

EIA and EC advantages

including reduced project implementation costs and time, avoidance of treatment/clean-up costs, adherence to environmental legislation, protection of the environment, optimum resource utilization, and increased awareness of environmental regulations. The comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment reports play a critical role in India’s decision-making process, predicting potential project impacts, defining necessary measures for impact containment or offset, and linking environmental considerations with development goals. The ultimate aim is to ensure environmentally safe and sustainable development by involving stakeholders, conducting public hearings, and aligning projects with the principles of environmental protection and balanced development.


The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in India, backed by the Environment Protection Act of 1986, systematically evaluates the environmental impacts of proposed projects. It considers socio-economic, cultural, and human health impacts, ensuring sustainable development in various sectors. Environmental Clearance (EC) is crucial for projects causing pollution, with Category A and B distinctions determining clearance authorities. The EIA Notification of 2006 outlines 29 project types requiring clearance, and a color-coded system classifies industries by environmental impact. The stages of clearance involve screening, scoping, public consultation, and appraisal, contributing to reduced costs, adherence to legislation, and optimum resource utilization. EIA reports play a pivotal role in decision-making, aiming for environmentally safe and sustainable development.

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