The Environment Ministry has unveiled a draft Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF).
The draft is part of a World Bank-funded project.
The draft plan will dictate how prospective infrastructure projects situated along the coast ought to be assessed before they can apply for clearance.
It lays out guidelines out for coastal States to adopt when they approve and regulate projects in coastal zones.
The plan describes how “environmental and social aspects” ought to be integrated into the planning, design, implementation of projects.
It says, projects should strive to avoid or minimise impacts on cultural properties and natural habitats, compensate any loss of livelihood or assets, adopt higher work safety standards, occupational and community health and safety.
The project seeks to assist the Government of India in enhancing coastal resource efficiency and resilience, by building collective capacity (including communities and decentralised governance) for adopting and implementing integrated coastal management approaches.
So far three coastal States, namely Gujarat, Odisha and West Bengal, have prepared Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plans with support from the World Bank.
Such plans would be prepared for the selected coastal stretches in other States/UT, the project notes.
The key activities proposed for coastal zone development that consist of investments by States include:
Mangrove afforestation/shelter beds.
Habitat conservation activities such as restoration of sea-grass meadows.
Eco-restoration of sacred groves.
Development of hatcheries.
Rearing/rescue centres for turtles and other marine animals.
Creation of infrastructure for tourism.
Restoration and recharge of water bodies.
Beach cleaning and development.
Other small infrastructure facilities.
Livelihood improvement projects include:
Demonstration of climate resilient or salinity resistant agriculture.
Water harvesting and recharge/storage.
Creation of infrastructure and facilities to support eco-tourism.
Community-based small-scale mariculture.
Seaweed cultivation, aquaponics, and value addition to other livelihood activities.