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 to measure the impact of disclosing industrial emissions on regulatory action and pollution levels. Based on a dataset compiled using historic emissions, plants are assigned performance ratings, which are made publicly available through this website, which was launched by the Chief Minister of Maharashtra in June 2017.
This project builds upon a recent history of legal reform in India that has strengthened the public right to information. The Right to Information Act (2005) enables citizens to access several types data from the state, including – in theory – data on plant emissions. However, it is time-consuming and tedious for the public to access this data. For this reason, in the absence of explicit public disclosure, the performance of industrial plants has remained opaque. In launching the scheme alone, this project has engendered a fundamental shift in how legally actionable regulatory data is treated in India.
The Energy Policy Institute gratefully acknowledges generous research support provided by the International Growth Centre (IGC), Private Enterprise Development in Low-Income Countries (PEDL), The Tata Centre for Development at UChicago (TCD) and The United States Agency for International Development (USAID).