[Answered] What is Environment Impact Assessment? Discuss its main principles and significance in various development projects.

Demand of the question

Introduction. What is Environment Impact Assessment (EIA)?

Body. Discuss main principles of EIA and its significance in various development projects.

Conclusion. Way forward.


Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is one of the tools available with the planners to achieve the goal of harmonising development activities with the environmental concerns. EIA in India is statutorily backed by the Environment Protection Act 1986, which contains the provisions on EIA procedures.


Main Principles of Environment Impact Assessment (EIA):

There are eight guiding principles that govern the entire EIA process: The principles of EIA:

  1. Participation:The process should provide appropriate opportunities to inform and involve the interested and affected publics, and their inputs and concerns should be addressed explicitly in the documentation and decision making. Appropriate/timely access for interested parties is important.
  2. Transparency:The process should have clear, easily understood requirements for EIA content, ensure public access to the information, identify the factors that are taken into account in decision making and acknowledge limitations and difficulties. Open and accessible assessment decisions are important in EIA.
  3. Efficient: The Process should impose the minimum cost burdens in terms of time and finance on proponents and participants consistent with meeting accepted requirements and objectives of EIA.
  4. Accountability:The decision maker should inform decision making and result in appropriate levels of environmental protection and community well-being. Decision makers should be responsible for their actions and decisions.
  5. Credibility: The process should be carried out with professionalism, rigour, fairness, objectivity, impartiality and balance and be subject to independent checks and verification.
  6. Cost-effective:The process should achieve the objectives of EIA within the limits of available information, time, resources and methodology.
  7. Integrated: The process should address the interrelationships of social, economic and biophysical aspects.
  8. Practicality:The process should result in information and outputs which assist with problem solving and are acceptable to and able to be implemented by proponents. Information/outputs readily usable in decision making and planning is important.


Significance of EIA in various projects:

  1. Prevent conflicts: EIA is Important to ensure peaceful operations and conflict management in many projects.
  2. Sustainable development: EIA links environment with development for environmentally safe and sustainable development.
  3. Environmental protection: EIA is more than technical reports, it is a means to a larger intention, the protection and improvement of the environmental quality of life.
  4. Evaluate the effects of activities: EIA is a procedure to identify and evaluate the effects of activities (mainly human) on the environment- natural and social.
  5. Minimize the adverse impact: EIA provides a cost effective method to eliminate or minimize the adverse impact of developmental projects.


There is a need to strengthen the implementation of EIA, Independent EIA Authority is required for fair and objective decisions. There is also a need for a centralised data bank for storing information and the transparency must be maintained in dissemination of all information related to projects from notification to clearance to local communities and general public.

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