Handbook on Strategic Environmental Assessment
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Handbook on Strategic Environmental Assessment

Edited by Thomas B. Fischer and Ainhoa González

This comprehensive Handbook shows how Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), an important decision support tool for strategies, policies, plans and programmes, is applied globally. It reflects on SEA practices and the advancements made over the past three decades in the development of SEA.
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Chapter 25: Strategic environmental assessment in India: trends and prospects

Urmila Jha-Thakur and Asha Rajvanshi

Abstract

The Indian experience with Environmental Assessment (EA) at the project level, commonly referred to as Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), began over 25 years back. Strategic Environment Assessment (SEA), i.e. EA applied above the project level, on the other hand is yet to be made mandatory in the country. So far, India’s experience with SEA has been ad-hoc and the few examples that are available have been conducted as funder requirement or on a voluntary basis. This chapter aims at providing a consolidated overview of the SEA practices in the country to draw out the trends, challenges and lessons. There are currently nine SEA practice examples and six SEA related guidelines. Two SEA case studies (on hydropower and urban development) are introduced in this chapter in further detail. There are lessons to be learnt based on those SEAs conducted. However, currently, these are not communicated effectively. SEAs to date have been implemented with differing approaches and at different stages of development. The need for leadership and capacity development is imperative in order to steer India’s path towards more routine and effective application of SEA.

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