State to notify e-waste policy, proposes ₹1 crore in subsidies 

Gurugram : 28 Jan, 2020 (Hindustan Times) 

Future ready Policy ‘parallel initiative’ to manage e-waste generated by efforts to boost IT growth

Prayag Arora-Desai

Gurugram : The Haryana government is set to notify a state-wide policy on electronic waste management following orders from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) instructing all states to review their existing framework for the same. The draft policy, which has been released for public feedback, outlines responsibilities for various stakeholders, including consumers, recyclers and state bodies, and proposes subsidies between ₹30 lakh and ₹1 crore for recyclers, collectors and dismantlers of e-waste.

The Haryana e-Waste Management Policy 2019 (Draft Framework) describes itself as a “parallel environmentally sustainable initiative and intervention” to manage e-waste that will be generated as a result of the state’s concerted efforts to boost growth in the IT sector. After 2015’s Haryana Enterprise Promotion Policy, the state has also notified the Haryana IT ESDM Policy and the Haryana Cyber Security Policy in 2017.

“These policies are expected to yield economic gains in the IT industry, which will inevitably generate large amounts of electronic waste. The Centre’s E-Waste Management Rules, 2016, are already in force, but we need to be prepared at a state level as well, as instructed by the NGT,” said Kuldeep Singh, regional officer, HSPCB Gurugram.

In 2017-18, the draft policy states, Haryana generated close to 6,000 metric tonnes of e-waste. However, the HSPCB’s last available annual report on e-waste shows that between April 1, 2018 and March 1, 2019, Haryana generated at least 11,772 metric tonnes of e-waste, i.e. 981 metric tonnes per month. This number, HSPCB officials said, is likely to grow in the coming years.

“Despite policies being in place, a majority of e-waste generated is not officially recorded. The informal sector handles most of the waste. This poses health hazard for workers and has environmental risks too,” said an environment engineer with the HSPCB, seeking anonymity. The 2019 e-waste policy aims to bring the entire system of managing e-waste under regulatory monitoring and compliance, the official added.

To achieve high compliance, the HSPCB has proposed a subsidy of ₹1 crore for the first five e-waste recyclers who enrol themselves under the new policy (against a minimum capital investment of ₹5 crore).

For e-waste collectors, the subsidy stands at ₹30 lakh (against a minimum capital investment of ₹1 crore).

Additional benefits include a 25% subsidy on lease rentals for companies enrolled under the new policy. This subsidy will allow companies to avail reimbursements up to ₹5 lakh on lease rentals for the first three years of their operation. For larger projects of “strategic importance”, the draft policy states, “tailor-made packages of incentives shall be designed”.

In accordance with the NGT’s instructions (dated September 2, 2019, in the matter of Shailesh Singh vs State of UP & Others), Haryana has also instated a state-level committee to oversee implementation of the yet-to-be-notified policy. The committee will have representatives from the state environment department, urban local bodies department, HSPCB, the Haryana State Electronics Development Corporation (HARTRON) and the state industries and commerce department.

HSPCB’s member secretary, S Narayanan, who is part of the state-level committee, was unavailable to respond on Monday. Naveen Gulia, senior environmental engineer, HSPCB, who looks into issues related to e-waste management, did not respond to multiple calls and messages seeking comment on the issue.

Rakesh Kumar, former vice-president of one of Haryana’s 37 authorised e-waste refurbishers, said, “It is a positive policy as subsidies are being offered for the first time. But, just like other places across India, implementation of e-waste rules has always been a problem in Haryana,” Kumar said, adding that the informal sector’s hold over e-waste processing is primary reason for this.

“It’s one thing to provide incentives, but even in the past, many companies have not received support pledged by the government, such as provision of e-waste collection points,” Kumar said.