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President signs ordinance to constitute commission to manage air quality in Delhi-NCR

President Ram Nath Kovind on October 28, 2020 promulgated an ordinance to constitute a Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and adjoining areas.

The commission will work to ensure better coordination, research, identification and resolution of problems surrounding the Air Quality Index in Delhi-NCR and adjoining areas.

Composition of the Commission

Chairperson: The Commission will be chaired by a government official of the rank of Secretary or Chief Secretary. 

Members: The members of the commission will include the Secretary of Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and five other Secretary or Chief Secretary level officials as ex-officio members.

The members will also include officials from the state of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan and technical experts from Central Pollution Control Board and Indian Space Research Organization among others.

Commission: Key Duties

The commission will have the power to issue directions to protect and improve the air quality in the National Capital Region and adjoining areas and also entertain complaints regarding it.

The commission will lay down the parameters for the discharge of environmental pollutants or emission by various sources.

The Commission will comprise at least three sub-committees to suggest measures to curb air pollution in the region. The sub-committees will be for:

- Monitoring and identification

- Safeguarding and Enforcement

- Research and Development

The Commission will have exclusive jurisdiction over the Delhi-NCR area along with adjoining areas in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan in matters related to air pollution.

The commission will be working along with the CPCB and ISRO as well as with the respective state governments.

Background

The ordinance was promulgated within days of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta's announcement in the Supreme Court on October 26 that the Centre was considering bringing a legislation on “Air Quality Management in the NCR and adjoining areas”. He was making a statement on matter related to stubble burning in the NCR.

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