The use of command-and-control approaches to pollution regulation in India has resulted in high levels of non-compliance, resulting largely from lack of high-quality information. Real-time, online pollution monitoring systems attempt to close this gap, by moving away from a heavy reliance on manual inspections and monitoring, towards more efficient regulation built on sophisticated data. By incentivizing plants to ensure high-quality and continuous data transmission, permit trading systems aim to improve the sustainability of online monitoring as a tool to inform industrial pollution regulation.

Researchers from EPIC-India, J-PAL South Asia and EPoD – India, are working with the Gujarat Pollution Control Board to evaluate the impact of India’s first emissions trading market in Surat, Gujarat. The project builds on ongoing research aiming to understand the effect of continuous emissions monitoring systems on plant abatement choices, regulatory behaviour and pollution levels. This initiative is pioneering in that it tests the use of market-based instruments for industrial pollution regulation for the first time in the history of Indian environmental regulation.

This project is supported by the MacArthur Foundation, International Initiative for Impact Evaluation, Central Pollution Control Board, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation.

Project Partners

Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change

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The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) is the nodal agency in the administrative structure of the Central Government for the planning, promotion, co-ordination and overseeing the implementation of India’s environmental and forestry policies and programmes. The primary concerns of the Ministry are implementation of policies and programmes relating to conservation of the country’s natural resources including its lakes and rivers, its biodiversity, forests and wildlife, ensuring the welfare of animals, and the prevention and abatement of pollution. While implementing these policies and programmes, the Ministry is guided by the principle of sustainable development and enhancement of human well-being. The Ministry also serves as the nodal agency in the country for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme (SACEP), International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and for the follow-up of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The Ministry is also entrusted with issues relating to multilateral bodies such as the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), Global Environment Facility (GEF) and of regional bodies like Economic and Social Council for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP) and South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) on matters pertaining to the environment.

Central Pollution Control Board

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The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), statutory organisation, was constituted in September, 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. Further, CPCB was entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981. It serves as a field formation and also provides technical services to the Ministry of Environment and Forests of the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. Principal Functions of the CPCB, as spelt out in the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, (i) to promote cleanliness of streams and wells in different areas of the States by prevention, control and abatement of water pollution, and (ii) to improve the quality of air and to prevent, control or abate air pollution in the country.

Gujarat Pollution Control Board

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Now commonly known as GPCB – Gujarat Pollution Control Board, was constituted by Government of Gujarat on 15th October, 1974 in accordance with the provision of the Water Act, 1974. The GPCB continued its efforts towards environment related better pollution control and improved management. Several critical issues in the field of environment are being tackled by the Board through its existing Regional Offices located at Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Bharuch, Surat, Vapi, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Godhra, Mehsana, Bhavnagar, Bhuj, Nadiad and Junagadh. Stress is laid on environmental infrastructures to meet challenges of environmental pollution under the ‘Swarnim Gujarat’ programmes of Government of Gujarat. Though basic functions of the Board is remained as regulatory, it has also been organising various awareness programmes, from time to time on local issues of municipal solid wastes, bio-medical wastes, plastic issues besides water, air and land pollution generated from various industrial clusters. Efforts are being made for pollution control with a view to minimize and prevent pollution.

Maharashtra Pollution Control Board

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Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) is implementing various environmental legislations in the state of Maharashtra, mainly including Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, Water (Cess) Act, 1977 and some of the provisions under Environmental (Protection) Act, 1986 and the rules framed there under like, Biomedical Waste (M&H) Rules, 1998, Hazardous Waste (M&H) Rules, 2000, Municipal Solid Waste Rules, 2000 etc. MPCB is functioning under the administrative control of Environment Department of Government of Maharashtra.

Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board

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The Tamilnadu Prevention and Control of Water Pollution Board was constituted by the Government of Tamilnadu on twenty seventh day of February, Nineteen eighty two (27-2-1982) in pursuance of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 (Central Act 6 of 1974). The Board was later renamed as Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) in the year 1983. It enforce the provisions of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977, the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, and the rules made under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) at Harvard Kennedy School

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Evidence for Policy Design (EPoDat Harvard Kennedy School is a research program that brings data and economic insights to the design and implementation of public policies in countries around the world. Led by a team of research faculty, EPoD conducts research with policymakers – frequently at scale – to build a direct road to impact.

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL)

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The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) was established in 2003 as a research center at MIT’s Department of Economics. Since then, it has built a global network of 113 affiliated professors and regional offices in Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. J-PAL’s mission is to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. It does this by working with governments, non-profits, foundations and other development organizations to conduct rigorous impact evaluations in the field, policy outreach to widely disseminate the lessons from research, and building the capacity of practitioners to generate and use evidence. Over 200 million people have been reached by the scale-up of programs evaluated by J-PAL and found to be effective. Find J-PAL on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube.