Project at a glance

  • More than 300 industrial units have enrolled in the program
  • More than 36 districts and 12 industrial sectors have been covered
  • More than 21,000 people have visited Maharashtra Star Rating Website to check star rating of the industries.

Why this study

Environmental regulation in India has a history of being extremely opaque, characterized by limited data and low transparency for all stakeholders. Even in the case of regulated plants, although their own performance on environmental audits is made available, their relative performance is not. The study aims at measuring the impact of disclosing industrial emissions on regulatory action and pollution levels.

Approach

Based on a dataset compiled using historic emissions, plants are assigned performance ratings, which are made public through the official website, which was launched by the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis in June 2017.

Findings

This joint research initiative of the EPIC-India’s India centre, Tata Centre for Development, J-PAL South Asia, Evidence for Policy Design, and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board—builds upon the Right to Information Act, 2005 that enables citizens to access several types of data from the state, including—in theory—data on emission from industrial plants. However, it is time-consuming and tedious for the public to access this data. In the absence of explicit public disclosure, the performance of industrial plants has remained opaque.

With its launch, the program has triggered a fundamental shift in how legally actionable regulatory data is treated in India.

So far, both the industries and citizens have evinced support for the program, enabling it to reach out to a wide spectrum of people and encourage them to create awareness about air pollution in their respective communities. Under the program, about 650 people—including NGOs, industry professionals, engineering students, and journalists—have been sensitized so far through focused workshops.

The program has gained acceptance by virtue of providing citizens with critical information about industrial pollution levels. With a growing number of people visiting the Star Rating website and disseminating information across social media, this program has already triggered citizen activism. It has also received endorsements from city mayors, members of the Parliament, celebrities, and politicians.

The program has received generous research support from the International Growth Centre, Private Enterprise Development in Low-Income Countries, and United States Agency for International Development.

Project Partners

Tata Centre for Development at UChicago

Visit Site

The Tata Centre for Development at UChicago develops innovative, integrated approaches to tackling some of India’s most pressing development issues. With generous support from the Tata Trusts, the Tata Centre combines implementation, research and executive education to execute ambitious pilots, evaluate new solutions, and spread insights to key decision-makers who can translate research findings and successful pilots into wider impact. The Centre is housed at the Harris School of Public Policy in Chicago and the University of Chicago Trust in India.