Deny MSP to stubble burners: NGT

Stating that State governments had failed to curb stubble burning, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday summoned the Chief Secretaries of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh. Officers have been directed to draw up a plan to provide economic incentives and disincentives to farmers.

Stubble burning is adversely affecting the environment and public health. The problem has not been fully tackled and the adverse impacts on the air quality and consequent impacts on the citizens’ health and lives are undisputed.

The problem is required to be resolved by taking all such measures as are possible in the interest of public health and environment protection.

Incentives could be provided to those who are not burning the stubble and disincentives for those who continue the practice.

The existing Minimum Support Price (MSP) Scheme must be so interpreted as to enable the States concerned to wholly or partly deny the benefit of MSP to those who continue to burn the crop residue.

Secretary, Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare has also been directed to be present to “find a lasting solution.”

The Central government should convene a meeting with the States.

About the National Green Tribunal (NGT):

NGT has been established under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources.

The tribunal deals with matters relating to the enforcement of any legal right relating to the environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property.

currently, 10 expert members and 10 judicial members (although the act allows for up to 20 of each).

is the administrative head of the tribunal, also serves as a judicial member and is required to be a serving or retired Chief Justice of a High Court or a judge of the Supreme Court of India.

Members are chosen by a selection committee (headed by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court of India) that reviews their applications and conducts interviews. The Judicial members are chosen from applicants who are serving or retired judges of High Courts.

Expert members are chosen from applicants who are either serving or retired bureaucrats, not below the rank of an Additional Secretary to the Government of India (not below the rank of Principal Secretary if serving under a state government) with a minimum administrative experience of five years in dealing with environmental matters. Or, the expert members must have a doctorate in a related field.

The Tribunal is not bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by principles of natural justice.

The Tribunal’s dedicated jurisdiction in environmental matters shall provide speedy environmental justice and help reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts.

The Tribunal is mandated to make an endeavor for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of the filing of the same.

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