WATER AMENDMENT BILL 2024 (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     9th February 2024        
output themes

Context: Parliament has passed the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Amendment Bill, 2024.

Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Amendment Bill, 2024

  • Empowerment of Central Government: According to the Bill, the central government gains authority to exempt specific industrial plants from the restrictions outlined in section 25, concerning new outlets and discharges.
  • Procedures for State Pollution Control Board: Under the proposed law, the central government will define the process for nominating chairpersons of State Pollution Control Boards, providing a structured framework.
  • Consent Matters: The proposed legislation grants the central government the power to issue guidelines pertaining to the grant, refusal, or cancellation of consent by state boards for the establishment of industries, operations, processes, or treatment and disposal systems, as well as the use of new or modified outlets.
  • Discharge of polluting matter:  Under the Act, the SPCB may issue directions to immediately restrain any activity which is leading to discharge of noxious or polluting matter in water bodies.
  • Offenses: The Bill aims to decriminalize minor offenses, replacing punitive measures with monetary penalties in cases of continued contravention.
  • Penalty for other offences:  Under the Act, an offence for which punishment is not explicitly specified is punishable with an imprisonment term of up to three months or a fine of up to Rs 10,000, or both.  

oThe Bill removes imprisonment as a punishment, and prescribes a penalty between Rs 10,000 and Rs 15 lakh.

Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974

  • Objective: To provide for the prevention and control of water pollution, and for the maintaining or restoring of wholesomeness of water in the country.
  • Enacted in: 1977
  • Amendment: 1988
  • Regulatory Authority: The Act grants regulatory authority to State Pollution Control Boards. Their mandate includes establishing and enforcing effluent standards for factories.
  • Central Pollution Control Board: It assumes a parallel role for Union Territories.

oIt performs functions similar to State Boards, formulating policies and coordinating activities across different states.