The penchant for having newer public institutions without augmenting & expanding the existing ones remains an imperative of India’s public policy climate.
Nonetheless, the Public Health Foundation of India and the Tata Institute of Social Science have come together to establish ‘Centre for Environmental Health’, which shall conduct research across a range of environmental health issues, including chemical exposure, water and hygiene. The Centre shall also assess the impact of environment-related problems like air pollution, climate change, pesticide use and sanitation on health. Its mandate also includes capacity-building, advocacy, outreach and remedial issues.
The centre will also establish a policy engagement platform with regular meetings with the government, civil society, academia and the private sector to develop pathways for better implementation of the eco-friendly policies.
Speaking at the launch ceremony, Union Health Minister J P Nadda said that “Evidence based research is very important as it gives us strength to sensitize people in that direction. The ministry is proactive on environmental issues, concentrating on preventive and promotive health and this comes in that ambit. This research and capacity-building will be very helpful to us. Whatever inputs we get from the centre we will go forward in that direction and certainly work towards making a difference”
Jairam Ramesh, former Minister for Environment who had initiated the work for the centre six years ago, said environment-related issues need to be looked upon from the public perspective. “If you look at environment as an environmental issue, it will come across as a regulatory burden. It will seem that environment is a constraint for ease of doing business. We need to look at the environment issues from public health perspective to get political support at the highest level. We need to create larger research community and bring this community into the mainstream of policy-making.”