Group Discussion & Consultation : Draft Wetland Rules 2016
There was a group discussion and consultation regarding draft Wetland Rules 2016.
According to the National Wetland Atlas, India has over 2,00,000 wetlands greater than 2.5 hectares and 5,50,000 wetlands less than 2.5 hectares. The total wetlands area in India is over 15 million hectares, accounting for about 4.7 percent of the total geographic area of the country. The basic lacunae pointed out was that there is no enactment of any particular act to govern the wetlands in India apart from the rules 2010 and the same have also not been implemented in true letter and spirit by the Central Authority.
Every wetland has its own ecosystem, therefore standard parameters are required to be given in the rules 2016 in order to identify the wetland in India. The carbon Sequestration is a phenomenon which takes place in the wetland wherein the carbon is absorbed by the living organisms present in the wetland and helps in the succession of the aquatic life.
There is an immense ambiguity in the rule 7 of the 2016 rules. Various acts have been incorporated in the rule 7 for the purpose of governance of wetland if the wetlands come under their ambit but the same does not talk about any particular authority which would act as umbrella legislation to govern the wetland. For example - If the wetland is outside the protected area then the Forest Department would not exercise its power to protect and govern the wetland and likewise.
There should be independent wetland authority constituted to protect and conserve the wetlands. It was suggested that since Rajasthan Atlas 2011 depicts the total area of wetland to be around 3,67,000 Sq. Km. in Rajasthan itself then conserving and protecting all of such area would not be practically possible. The wetlands which are of bigger size should be primarily be identified and the same should be conserved on first instance.