| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The initiative is a first of its kind of novel effort without any precedence in the Environmental Regulatory Domain and hence is creative and innovative.
The new system has given birth of many new innovations in the environment management at state level which was not feasible in the manual system. To illustrate few of them:
•‘Waste Exchange Bank’ facility is available for the waste generator and waste utilizer stakeholders nurturing the symbiotic relation between them. Co-processing of high calorific waste in the cement industry is the prominent activity being carried out with the facility. This has not only reduced the generation of Green House Gases(GHGs) but reduced the use of natural resources like fossil fuel and has significantly reduced the wastes going to the land fill site and answered the problem of NIMBY(Not In My Back Yard) syndrome.
•Online monitoring of the Hazardous Wastes Movement securing the Cradle to Grave philosophy of hazardous wastes management
•e-Governance initiative has formed the basis of the concept of “Environment Clinic” program adopted by the GPCB in which XGN is the platform for the typical technical problems and its solutions for the industry which is coordinated by the Regional Offices of the Board
•Monitoring of the industry through Implementation of the Continuous Emission Monitoring System (CEMS) under the e-governance initiative.
•It is a platform to promote the program “Environment as a sector of Employment” adopted by the Board.
In addition to the above, procedural transformation due to the new system brought following outcome:
•Transparency in file movement – the applicant can keep online track of his application.
•Quick actions against defaulting industries. Hence better enforcement of Environmental laws.
•Reduction in number of units operating without permission of the Board.
•Complainant can keep online track about action taken in connection of his complaint.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
To cater and address the above problems, Board decided to adopted e-Governance initiative for better environmental management and regulation in 2008. Under this e-governance initiative it was decided to implement a web based application which was jointly developed by NIC (National Informatics Center - Gujarat) and the Gujarat Pollution Control Board after series of interaction with all stakeholders. It was launched as an IT-solution considering all the stakeholders at center, aiding the GPCB in effective and qualitative implementation of Environmental Laws for Air, Water & Hazardous Waste including rules for management of Plastic, Bio-Medical and Municipal Waste etc. with continual improvement.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The primary implementation strategy for the initiative was to build the system in a modular way i.e. brick by brick and not to start implementing after building the whole system. This would help in faster
implementation & would ease the operations considering the quantum of data and number of stakeholders involved. Each of the module was developed after understanding the need of stakeholders, priority of
the issue, legal requirements, procedural aspects to be followed and due consultation with the stakeholders. Each Module was then initially released for the trial period in which the teething problems of the
stakeholders are being resolved through online communications. Thereafter it becomes regular in the system.
The implementing strategy was that instead of feeding the data into database by single agency, it should evolve through the concerned stakeholders and be validated by GPCB. Hence, it was decided that the data
shall be submitted by the industries, Health Care Units and other stake holders which in turn shall be validated by GPCB officials. For this purpose, extensive capacity building programs of all the stake holders
were carried out and this implementing strategy was successful in building strong and robust database with optimum manpower resources available.
To have inbuilt internal performance evaluation system within the initiative was also an important part of the strategy for this initiative. Hence, a ranking and performance evaluation system is developed to promote
healthy competition within the organization.
It was strategized that all the major 38 transactions between GPCB & stake holders should be communicated through electronic means. These include:-
1. HCU-Healthcare Units IDs & Passwords
2. Bio-Medical Waste (BMW) Authorizations
3. BMW Rejection
4. Consolidated Consents & Authorisation (CCA) Expiry Alert Bulk SMS to Industries
5. Complainant Letters
6. Consent To Establish (CTE) / CCA Grant
7. CTE / CCA Reject
8. Consultants ID password
9. Processing stage of the Application
10. Due For Extension of the Application
11. e-Outward Legal Notices
12. e-Outward CCA Grants/Reject
13. Environmental Clearance (EC)-Registration
14. EC-State Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC) Meeting
15. Editing of Water Cess entries by GPCB Staff
16. Grant / Reject of application
17. Industry Registration with Auditors
18. LAB. Billing to the Stake Holders
19. On Demand : Application Status
20. On Demand : Defaulter Industry
21. On Demand : Industry Details from GPCB ID
22. Online Application ACCEPTANCE
23. Online Application Query
24. Outstanding Payments
25. Payment & File Received
26. Query from R.O to the Stake Holders
27. Query from H.O to the Stake Holders
28. Release ID & Password for INDUSTRY
29. RTGS Discrepancy SMS TO RO
30. Sample Result Declaration SMS to the Industry
31. Sample Violation Alert to the Stake Holders
32. Updation by Industry Towards Consent
33. Water Cess Assessment Orders to the Stake Holders
34. Water Cess Bills Cleared from Surplus
35. Water Cess Bills Pending / Due in next 5 Days
36. Water Cess Bills
37. Water Cess Return
38. Miscellaneous / Others
An illustrative list showing the broad chronology in which the modules and in turn the initiative was built is as under:
1. Development of Database of Industries and Waste Generators
2. Development of transparent permit system for the Industries and the Waste Generators
3. Integration of Inspection Reports and Sample Analysis with the database
4. Development of CTE / CCA Management System
5. Integration of Water Cess and Lab Charges with the Industrial database
6. Development of Platform for Co-processing of waste
7. Complaint / Grievances Management Module
8. Development and Integration of System for Environmental Audit Scheme
9. Development of Internal Performance Evaluation of GPCB Officials.
10. Deveopment of the module for the CEMS data transfer
The initiative is not resource intensive but it was mainly the change of mindset and working pattern of the stake holders that was the key to the success of the initiative.
For initial design of the initiative and for fine tuning time to time a Core Group is formed which acts as the think tank for the initiative on different modules to achieve the objectives. The members of the Group
are chosen from various stakeholders of the initiative.
GPCB and NIC, Gandhinagar’s internal resources were used and for some period Rs. 1 Million which is about US$ 20,000 was spent after the project which is peanuts compared to the advantages accrued due
to the initiative.
Since there was not recruitment of additional staff for the initiative, there are almost no human resources’ cost attached to the initiative except exclusive manpower allocated for the Help Desk initiated to support the project at all Regional Offices considering the strong presence of micro and small sector industrial units in the state and their inherent limitations.
In addition to the above, Extension Centres to facilitate the above initiative at the industrial cluster level were established.
As per the provisions in the Water Cess Act, 1977 and the rules made thereunder a portion of the Water Cess collected by GPCB is used for the initiative. Thus the entire program is supported through GPCB’s own funding and specific budget for it is earmarked by the Board in each of the financial year since the project has been commissioned.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The stake holders who contributed to the design and implementation of this initiative are as under:
1. More than 24,000 Industrial Units of Small, Medium and Large Sectors
2. More than 35,000 Health Care Units ranging from Civil Hospitals to General Practitioner
3. Common Bio Medical Waste Treatment Facilities
4. Common Effluent Treatment Plants
5. TSDFs-Hazardous Waste Handlers
6. Registered Re-cyclers for various wastes and scrap metals
7. Local bodies and authorities
8. Environment auditors
9. Environmental Consulting Firms
10. Non-Government Organisations
11. All the officers and employees of GPCB working at the 27 Regional Offices and 9 Laboratories across the state.
12. Non-Government Institutional Laboratories like Gujarat Institute of Desert Ecology (GUIDE) etc.
Above all stake holders were consulted during the evaluation of the system through brain storming sessions. There suggestion / difficulties in the operation were considered for the improvement of the system.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
(1) Transparent, speedy, ease in process and sound decision making as well as instantaneous communication with businesses :
Under the different environmental Acts / Rules, businesses are mandated to obtain prior necessary permission(s) before commencing their business and are a pre-requisite for the businesses for obtaining
electricity connection, land allotment, other Government permission and to avail financial aid from financial institutes / Banks. Previously, entire process of submission of application, its scrutiny, decision taking
and intimation of the decision to the applicant by the Board was manual. This manual approach obviously was taking time and was also necessitating the businesses to approach various offices / officers of the
Board personally and thus encouraging red-tapism.
To remove this red-tapism the entire process has been made transparent and smoother. Tracking of application status at all levels and obtaining decisions online without coming to any officer was made possible
due to this initiative. Due to this the average time for processing the permits is reduced by almost half. There was also reduction in consent rejection ratio benefitting the businesses as a whole towards
The basic objectives achieved were transparency, speed & ease in process which any businesses would expect in this era of IT.
(2) Platform for waste exchange – facilitating use of waste as fuel and / or raw material :
After the Kyoto Protocol and debates on Climate Change the global scenarios with respect to use of fuel, emissions due to it and greenhouse gas emissions have totally changed. Thus it is required that the
development meets the need of the present without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own need. It is the need of the hour that conservation of energy and reduction of greenhouse gas
emissions is taken care for the same. Hence it is of prime importance to manage waste, which is considered as the resource at wrong place.
India is an energy deficit country and imports crude, coal, natural gas to meet with energy demand and therefore any savings in consumption of fossil fuels is net saving in foreign exchange for the country.
GPCB has promoted this thinking by adopting reuse/recycle of wastes as an alternate to fuel and/or raw material wherever feasible. Here, energy in the waste is harnessed by co-processing it in cement, power
and steel industries. By co-processing, the bottom line of the businesses improves and the cost of environmental compliances is reduced.
Using the large database of different wastes generated by the businesses available on XGN a platform is provided for waste exchange. This has become instrumental for co-processing of wastes in cement
industry in a big way.
Module provided for co-processing facilitated cement industries to utilize data base generated by other businesses. Cement industry subsequently interacted with other businesses that generate such wastes
through XGN so as to use it as raw material or for co-processing at their facility. Thus the energy costs of the cement industry are thus reduced.
Also, the high cost of treatment induced the industries to discharge the waste by surreptitious way which affected the society. Now since the waste is utilised as raw material or fuel such risks are eliminated.
Cement industries in Gujarat have utilized this data base and since 2009-10, they have used 389423.44 MT either as alternate to fuel or alternate to raw material. In other words, it can also be said this waste that
would otherwise have gone to either incineration and / or TSDF facilities have gone to cement industries and have saved the energy and resources.
Thus, this approach has resulted into saving of energy that would be required not only for incineration of waste but also energy and raw materials required by the cement industry. Pollution footprint attributed to
these activities has also proportionately thereby substantially decreased.
(3) Benefits to the citizens in general
One of the most important stakeholders of the organization is the citizens in general and the organization is given mandate to resolve their complaints related to environmental degradation.
The citizens can file online application to lodge complaint simply by logging on the site, can track its status and get the action taken information through e-mail and SMS alerts. There is no need to visit the office
to file any complaint or make tedious correspondence like the earlier system.
The citizens do not have to pay anything for availing the online complaint module facility, and can save upon the correspondence charge. They save upon travel cost not only by e-filing of the complaints but also
getting the response for the same.
The e-governance has helped citizens know the statistics of the organization on day to day basis, involving the permissions granted to and legal actions against the industries which could otherwise be known only
through expensive and tedious modes of communications and RTI.
The e-governance has enabled reduction in overall paper consumption on the part of both, the organization and the citizens in general owing to the fact that all the correspondence is necessarily through the e-
mails and SMS
(4) Benefits to the Industries:
The industries are the most beneficiary stakeholders of the e-governance program.
Provides flexibility by multipoint access as it is web based software. Also it is operating 24x7 as against earlier system of time consuming and with single point access. There is no need on the part of the industry
to visit the office.
In availing the online facility the industries do not have to pay any charges. All important data, permissions, legal documents etc. can remain in the soft form in the database and can be retrieved by the industry
whenever needed, thus avoiding need to preserve physical data and direct or indirect expenditure involved in it.
Industries can print their own consent order, Bills, Payments Receipts, Assessment Orders and Results without visiting the office is also a ‘green way’ of communication associated with lot of tangible and
intangible benefits to the industry. Online generation of manifest system has removed botheration of multiple copy generation, record keeping etc. Facility of payment through RTGS has made life even simpler
for the industries.
The system provides Cleaner Technology options to several sectors of industries, which the industries can straight away adopt for better results in productivity and pollution control. Industry specific
environmental guidelines are made available through system for better compliances. Concept of well-defined Formats is recently introduced to enable industries to assess its position with regards to compliances
of various environmental attributes.
(5) Benefits to the Research Institutes:
The initiative has been a great benefit for the research institutes. Earlier since the data was lying in physical files and retrieval of the same was a huge challenge. With the introduction of this initiative, wherein
biggest flexibility of the system is its multipoint access as it is web based software, all data are preserved in digital form with utmost security in distant server(s) and are retrievable – less susceptible of loss of
data / willful action(s) for delay too. Thus this data is now used by various research organisations throughout the globe to work towards better environmental management and few of them are as under:
A. Data was used by Gujarat Ecological Education and Research (GEER) Foundation for estimating Green House Gas Emissions and modeling its future trends under its climate change project.
B. Data from the project is being used by International universities like Harvard and MIT to help GPCB in devising evidence based policy
C. Data is being used by NGOs like J-PAL to assist GPCB for formulating policy intervention tools
D. It has opened a new era of evidence based policy intervention for the organization
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The major limitations/issues in implementing the idea on ground were:
•No such successful model available in the regulatory domain for regulatory purpose. Therefore no precedence is available and hence a new path was to be charted.
•The initiative required many business processes re-engineering which is difficult in government process especially in regulatory set up like GPCB.
•Inherent internal resistance to bring transparency in a bureaucratic environment was a challenge in itself.
•Changing mindset of the stakeholders for the adoption of the novel tool was also a great challenge
•Practices followed at the time of implementation were fixed without much flexibility and new system was to be molded according to that which was causing many restraints.
•At the time of implementation of XGN, organization faced challenges due non-availability of infrastructure especially web connectivity
•Due to e-governance initiative being implemented, pending work surfaced out and to cope up with this enormous visible pending work and the increased workload subsequently posed a big challenge.
•Initially the staff was not computer savvy and huge capacity building exercise was required
•Initially there was resistance from Consultants and Businesses which were more accustomed with Manual system and also the fact that transparency of the system killed monopolistic practices
•GPCB has no in-house IT specialist staff
•Average age of the staff in the organization was around 50 at the time of implementation of initiative so that itself was a big challenge.