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An Overview of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process for evaluating the ecological repercussions of an environment-related project before its implementation. Project proponents require a detailed EIA Report as well as an EMP report of the project for obtaining Environment Clearance (EC) before they can commence the project. Subsequently, when the legislated model of EIA was enacted in India, it became mandatory to assess environmental impacts within the instated law or judicial precedent. The Department of Environment was formed in 1974 to implement significant environmental laws in India, such as the Wildlife Act (1972), Water Act (1974), Forest Act (1980), Air Act (1981), and Environment (Protection) Act (1986). Under the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification 2006, the following projects were mandatorily required to obtain EC.

  • Mining of Minerals
  • Offshore and onshore oil and gas exploration, production and development
  • River Valley projects
  • Thermal Power Plants
  • Nuclear power projects & processing of nuclear fuel
  • Coal washeries
  • Mineral beneficiation
  • Cement plant
  • Petroleum refining industry
  • Coke oven plants
  • Asbestos milling & asbestos-based products
  • Chlor-alkali industry
  • Metallurgical industries (ferrous & non-ferrous)
  • Soda ash Industry
  • Synthetic organic chemical industry
  • Distilleries
  • Integrated paint industry
  • Leather/skin/hide processing industry
  • Chemical fertilisers
  • Pesticides industry & pesticide-specific intermediates (excluding formulations)
  • Petrochemicals
  • Manmade fibres manufacturing
  • Petrochemical-based processing
  • Pulp & paper industry excluding paper manufacturing from waste paper and from ready pulp without bleaching
  • Sugar Industry
  • Oil & gas transportation pipeline
  • Isolated storage & handling of hazardous chemicals
  • Physical infrastructures like Airports, breaking yards, Industrial estates/ parks/ areas, EPZs, SEZs, Biotech Parks, Leather Complexes, ports, harbours, highways
  • Building and Construction projects
  • Townships and Area Development projects.

Scope of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

EIA is a tool used to assess the significant effects of a project or development proposal on the environment. Such regulations ensure that decision-makers consider the likely impact on the environment before starting the project and subsequently aim to avoid, reduce or offset those effects. This ensures that the proponent understands the proposals' environmental impact well before a decision is sought. Countless stakeholders are engaged in the progression of a set of proposed activities, and most exercise control long before applying for proper project authorisation. The generic structure of the Environmental Impact Assessment is outlined in Appendix III of the EIA Notification, which defines the EC process. Additional general (non-India specific) information on Environmental Impact Assessment can be found in the World Bank's Operational Policy. EIA Report takes into account the impact on the following areas i.e.

  • Air Pollution Control and Air Quality Modelling
  • Water Pollution Control
  • Geology, Ecology & Biodiversity
  • Noise & Vibration
  • Hydrology, Ground Water and its Conservation
  • Land Use
  • Risk & Hazards Management
  • Solid Waste & Hazardous Waste Management
  • Soil Conservation
  • Socio-Economic impact
  • Environmental Risk Analysis and Disaster Management Plan
  • Epidemiological Surveys and Exposure Assessment Studies
  • Corporate Environmental and Social Responsibility (CESR)
  • Mitigation Measures and Environmental Management Plan (EMP)

Factors considered for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Specific factors need to be considered for Environmental Impact Assessment. While many are industry specific, the following are generally included for all sectors.

Project description: Describes the proposed project as well as its geographical, ecological, social, and temporal context, as well as any off-site investments that may be required. Indicates the need for a social development or resettlement plan.

Baseline Data: This section of EIA describes the relevant biological, physical and socio-economic conditions surrounding the project site, including all changes anticipated before the project begins.

Environmental Impacts: Under EIA, the prediction and assessment of the project's likely positive and negative impacts in quantitative terms. Identifies potential mitigation measures and any negative environmental effects that cannot be avoided. Investigates opportunities for environmental improvement

Alternatives analysis: Environmental Impact Assessment compares feasible alternatives to the proposed project's site, technology, design, and operation, including all of the without project circumstances, in terms of potential environmental impacts, the practicability of curbing these impacts, capital and recurring costs, appropriateness under local conditions, and reduction.

Environmental Monitoring Programme and Environmental Management Plan: It describes the mitigation, monitoring, and institutional measures implemented during construction and operation to eliminate, offset, or reduce adverse impacts to acceptable levels.

Consultation: Documentation of advisory meetings, including those held to obtain informed opinions from project-affected people (PAPs), local NGOs, and governmental authorities. Also, the consultants who worked on the study should be disclosed.

Summary and conclusions: Covering the project's rationale and strategy to mitigating adverse effects

Stages of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

For new projects, the environmental clearance process consists of 4 stages, some of which may not be required for all projects. These four stages are:


This stage is applicable on only Category 'B' projects and activities. The SEAC of the state will determine whether the project requires further studies to prepare an EIA, depending on factors such as the nature of the project, location specificity etc. If EIA is required, the project will be categorised as B1 or B2.

Scoping Stage and site inspection

This stage is meant only for Category A and B1 projects. At this stage, the Expert Level Committee or SEAC will formulate a detailed TOR for preparing EIA. A site visit by the SEAC may also be conducted.

Public Consultation Stage (for Category A and B1)

At this stage, the concerns of the local community and stakeholders are ascertained, taking into account all material considerations such as socio-economic, cultural and human concerns associated with the project.

Appraisal Stage

The MoEF&CC or the SEIAA will scrutinise the Environmental Impact Assessment report and outcome of the public consultation submitted by the project proponent and make categorical recommendations. This process can take 60 days from the receipt of the final EIA report.

Applying for Environmental Clearance

An implementation for an EC must be submitted in the prescribed Form 1 as outlined in the Notification. This must be done before the applicant begins any site construction process or land preparation. A copy of the pre-feasibility report must be included with the application.

Given the foregoing, obtaining an EC for an infrastructure project may take up to a year (12 months). Project sponsors should budget for this time during the PPP project cycle.

Regarding the EC, some permission for the projects, such as 'Consents under Water and Air Acts' must be acquired from the involved State Governments where the project is located.

Documents required for Environmental Impact Assessment Report

The EIA report is compiled according to the TOR identified at the time of Scoping. Documents required for the purpose are:

  • General project information (name, location etc.)
  • Project-related activity specifics: the proposed breakup of area, water requirement, waste generation etc.
  • The use of natural resources in the project
  • Substances or materials that may be hazardous or harmful.
  • Pollution released into the air, ground, and waterways
  • Noise and vibration production, as well as light and heat emissions
  • Risk of accidents
  • Factors that may have a cumulative or consequential effect

Information about environmentally sensitive areas within a certain radius of the project site

  • Site/ Layout plan
  • Proof of installed machinery
  • Proof of Land Ownership
  • ID proof of Signatory
  • Quality test Report (wherever applicable)
  • Proof of mitigation options adopted
  • Proof of Electricity and water connection

Environmental Impact Assessment for Integrated projects involving multiple components

In the event that the proposal is for any integrated project involving multiple items as per the EIA Notification, 2006, the applicant can select one of them as significant activity and set the remaining components (objects) as minor activities.

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Corpbiz has an extensive network of environmental experts, including over 100+ NABET Qualified EIA and ESG Consultants and professionals across the country. We understand the modalities to obtain licences from various authorities promptly and efficiently. Our exceptional understanding of legalities and paperwork distinguishes us as a standout agency in India.

Frequently Asked Questions

All the projects listed in the schedule for EIA Notification are divided into three categories, namely, Category 'A' Category 'B1' and Category 'B2' based on the potential social and environmental impacts and the spatial extent of these impacts.

Eco-sensitive areas, also referred to as 'ESA' are the areas as notified under sub-section (2) of section 3 of the Environment (P) Act, 1986, and subsequent amendments, from time to time.

The project description describes the proposed project, its geographical, ecological, social, and temporal context, and any off-site investments that may be required. Indicates the need for a social development or resettlement plan.

The generic structure of an EIA is outlined in Appendix III of the EIA Notification, which defines the EC process. Additional general (non-India specific) information on EIAs can be found in the World Bank's Operational Policy.

For new projects, the environmental clearance process consists of four stages, some of which may only be required for some projects. These four stages are listed in chronological order:

  • Screening (Only for Category 'B' projects and activities)
  • Scoping
  • Public Consultation
  • Appraisal

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