Day 57 – Q 3. What is social impact assessment (SIA)? Why is it important? Discuss.
3. What is social impact assessment (SIA)? Why is it important? Discuss.
सामाजिक प्रभाव मूल्यांकन (SIA) क्या है? यह महत्वपूर्ण क्यों है? चर्चा करें।
Very frequently we find in newspaper headlines that somewhere people are protesting against any Industrial project or nuclear power plant or metro line construction, etc. They protest because they fear that this particular project will hamper their lives. To amicably solve such conflicts and for sustainable and inclusive development “Social Impact Assessment” is an effective tool.
What is social impact assessment (SIA)?
A Social Impact Assessment is a process of research, planning and the management of social change or consequences (positive and negative, intended and unintended) arising from policies, plans, developments and projects (UNEP, 2007).
The social impacts of a project are the direct and indirect impacts that affect people and their communities during all stages of the project lifecycle.
In preparing the SIA, the project owner is required to undertake community and stakeholder engagement to;
- Understand who is likely to be impacted and how
- Understand the affected communities
- Identify and assess potential social impacts
- Develop management measures to mitigate adverse impacts and enhance benefits
- Support monitoring and reporting
Significance of SIA:
The core focus of an SIA is on the important impacts of projects and developments beyond the impacts on natural resources. Examples of social impacts include:
- People’s ways of life – that is, how they live, work, play and interact with one another on day-to-day basis.
- Their cultures – that is their shared beliefs, customs, values and language or dialect.
- Their community – its cohesion, stability, character, services and facilities.
- Their political systems – the extent to which people are able to participate in decisions that affect their lives, the level of democratization that is taking place, and the resources provided for this purpose.
- Their health and well-being – health is a state of complete physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
From the listed examples above, it is clear that the SIA must look not only at social issues but also at the environmental impacts and their interactions.
Social Impact Assessments in India
- In India, SIAs were mandated in 2013 by The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act.
- According to the 2013 land acquisition law, any major project is required to conduct an SIA within six months of the project’s start date.
- By mandating SIA Government aims to decrease social unrest over uncompensated land acquisition and to speed up the execution of development projects, and to ensure that locals receive proper resettlement packages and those developers constructively engage with local communities.
- We have many examples of projects where government conducted SIA. One of the example is the recent Social Impact Assessment Study for Nuclear Power Projects in Andhra Pradesh.
- However, while SIAs may benefit some landowners affected by land acquisition, some have blamed SIAs for slowing down development projects by drawing out the land redistribution process.
- Many development projects remain stalled, often due to bureaucracy and complications involving land acquisition.
SIAs can be resource and time-intensive, which leads some business owners to view them as bureaucratic red tape. However, considering the ethnic diversity and Agriculture as dominant occupation, SIAs remain an important part of the investment process in India that cannot be overlooked.
Best Answer: Dazy Rani