New Delhi: Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar says his ministry has handed out 650 green clearances since the new government came to power in May, and this will fast-track projects worth thousands of crores.
"We are giving clearances without even looking at the faces of project promoters," Mr Javadekar said in an interview to NDTV.
There is a "drastic shift" from the policies of the previous Congress-led government when the environment ministry was seen as roadblock to projects, he said, adding, ""The entire functioning of the ministry has changed."
The previous government battled criticism for projects blocked over environmental approvals; Jayanthi Natrajan had stepped down as Environment Minister amid allegations that she had held back clearances. Taking digs at her while campaigning for the national election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had repeatedly alleged that a "Jayanthi Tax" had to be paid to push files.
Prakash Javadekar said under him, the ministry was working faster as there is no agenda.
"We have been able to fast track clearances as we have no personal agenda and we are no longer putting up impractical conditions," the minister said, adding that he was personally monitoring all the files.
"We have cleared projects that had been stuck for many years," he told NDTV.
Taking the example of the National Wildlife Board, he said, "The Board met after many years. But we took 130 decisions in a single day."
Mr Javadekar's ministry has recently been criticized for giving out too many clearances at the cost of the environment. "No compromise has been made in a single case. We are protecting the environment. Our philosophy is development without destruction," the minister said.
He shared that the government is preparing to put in place a new green architecture this year by making changes to environment laws and making the system of clearances transparent.