coastal conflict

Drafted in secrecy, India’s new coastal rules enable more tourism, houses closer to shore

It took multiple RTI applications to get a preview of the draft notification, but the full details are yet to be revealed.

On March 22, leading national dailies reported that the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 2011 was being replaced with a new framework called the Marine Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 2017. It was clear that a new law was on the anvil, but its contents were not publicly available. The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change had only shared copies of “stakeholder” meetings on the Marine Coastal Regulation Zone, in response to a right-to-information application.

A copy of the proposed 2017 notification was accessed by Meenakshi Kapoor of the CPR-Namati Environment Justice Program following a file inspection on Tuesday. Yet again, the ministry failed to disclose suo moto the proposal to amend the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification despite directions from the Central Information Commission in 2008 and 2016 to do so and the government’s commitment to transparency.

The draft notification proposes significant changes to the manner in which coastal zones are to be managed and regulated for a variety of activities. The proposed changes are not only a change in nomenclature with the word “marine” appended to the law, but have far-reaching social and ecological implications:

  1. Temporary tourism facilities will be allowed in Ecologically Sensitive Areas (Marine Coastal Regulation Zone I). The Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 2011 does not allow temporary tourism facilities in Coastal Regulation Zone I areas.
  2. Development in urban areas (Marine Coastal Regulation Zone II) to be regulated as per prevailing local laws. The Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 2011 allows development in Coastal Regulation Zone II areas as per the town and country planning norms of 1991. This was done to acknowledge the need for the local town and country planning norms to be aligned with the Coastal Regulation Zone notification, which was issued for the first time in 1991.
  3. Housing and basic infrastructure for local inhabitants will be allowed 50 meters from the High Tide Line in rural areas (Marine Coastal Regulation Zone III). The Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 2011 permitted houses for coastal communities after the first 100 meters of Coastal Regulation Zone III areas.
  4. State and Union territory governments are to prepare tourism plans for their respective Marine Coastal Regulation Zone areas. No such tourism plans are mentioned in the 2011 notification (see detailed comparison between the current and proposed notifications here).
  5. Area under Marine Coastal Regulation Zone will depend only on tidal demarcations (High Tide Line and Low Tide Line). The 2011 notification links the Coastal Regulation Zone area with Hazard Line in addition to High Tide Line-Low Tide Line demarcations (see details here).

Under wraps

While the notification proposes changes to coastal regulation, the details of the new clauses lie in the 10 annexures that are to go with it. The proposed Marine Coastal Regulation Zone Notification that was accessed mentions these annexures, but they were not made available at the time of the file inspection.

Since 2014, the entire process of reviewing and revising the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 2011 has been a closed-door exercise. Instead of the ministry inviting suggestions and feedback from coastal communities, researchers, urban planners and legal experts on the implementation of the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification and proposals for reform, there has been reluctance to share the details of this review.

For over a year and a half, despite numerous applications under the Right to Information Act, the report of the committee that reviewed the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 2011 was not made public (the ministry disclosed the report only after an order from the Chief Information Commission). Four of the nine amendments made to the notification in the last three years were issued without seeking public comments on those (see details here).

The file inspection revealed that even ministries that were asked to provide comments on the draft notification on March 20 were not provided full information related to the Marine Coastal Regulation Zone, in particular the annexures. In April, the Ministry of Earth Sciences and the Ministry of Tourism requested the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to share copies of these annexures before they furnished their comments on the draft.

Researchers, activists, fishing unions and coastal communities have been persistent in their efforts to have an informed and participatory review of the primary law governing India’s coastline, the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 2011. Fishing groups across the country have written to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change based on what was revealed in the news reports, as there has been no attempt by the government to involve them. Such a participatory review is critical because changes in coastal regulation will have a direct bearing on over 3,200 marine fishing villages and several million residents living across India’s coastline.

This article first appeared on the website of the Centre for Policy Research.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Behind the garb of wealth and success, white collar criminals are hiding in plain sight

Understanding the forces that motivate leaders to become fraudsters.

Most con artists are very easy to like; the ones that belong to the corporate society, even more so. The Jordan Belforts of the world are confident, sharp and can smooth-talk their way into convincing people to bend at their will. For years, Harshad Mehta, a practiced con-artist, employed all-of-the-above to earn the sobriquet “big bull” on Dalaal Street. In 1992, the stockbroker used the pump and dump technique, explained later, to falsely inflate the Sensex from 1,194 points to 4,467. It was only after the scam that journalist Sucheta Dalal, acting on a tip-off, broke the story exposing how he fraudulently dipped into the banking system to finance a boom that manipulated the stock market.


In her book ‘The confidence game’, Maria Konnikova observes that con artists are expert storytellers - “When a story is plausible, we often assume it’s true.” Harshad Mehta’s story was an endearing rags-to-riches tale in which an insurance agent turned stockbroker flourished based on his skill and knowledge of the market. For years, he gave hope to marketmen that they too could one day live in a 15,000 sq.ft. posh apartment with a swimming pool in upmarket Worli.

One such marketman was Ketan Parekh who took over Dalaal Street after the arrest of Harshad Mehta. Ketan Parekh kept a low profile and broke character only to celebrate milestones such as reaching Rs. 100 crore in net worth, for which he threw a lavish bash with a star-studded guest-list to show off his wealth and connections. Ketan Parekh, a trainee in Harshad Mehta’s company, used the same infamous pump-and-dump scheme to make his riches. In that, he first used false bank documents to buy high stakes in shares that would inflate the stock prices of certain companies. The rise in stock prices lured in other institutional investors, further increasing the price of the stock. Once the price was high, Ketan dumped these stocks making huge profits and causing the stock market to take a tumble since it was propped up on misleading share prices. Ketan Parekh was later implicated in the 2001 securities scam and is serving a 14-years SEBI ban. The tactics employed by Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parekh were similar, in that they found a loophole in the system and took advantage of it to accumulate an obscene amount of wealth.


Call it greed, addiction or smarts, the 1992 and 2001 Securities Scams, for the first time, revealed the magnitude of white collar crimes in India. To fill the gaps exposed through these scams, the Securities Laws Act 1995 widened SEBI’s jurisdiction and allowed it to regulate depositories, FIIs, venture capital funds and credit-rating agencies. SEBI further received greater autonomy to penalise capital market violations with a fine of Rs 10 lakhs.

Despite an empowered regulatory body, the next white-collar crime struck India’s capital market with a massive blow. In a confession letter, Ramalinga Raju, ex-chairman of Satyam Computers convicted of criminal conspiracy and financial fraud, disclosed that Satyam’s balance sheets were cooked up to show an excess of revenues amounting to Rs. 7,000 crore. This accounting fraud allowed the chairman to keep the share prices of the company high. The deception, once revealed to unsuspecting board members and shareholders, made the company’s stock prices crash, with the investors losing as much as Rs. 14,000 crores. The crash of India’s fourth largest software services company is often likened to the bankruptcy of Enron - both companies achieved dizzying heights but collapsed to the ground taking their shareholders with them. Ramalinga Raju wrote in his letter “it was like riding a tiger, not knowing how to get off without being eaten”, implying that even after the realisation of consequences of the crime, it was impossible for him to rectify it.

It is theorised that white-collar crimes like these are highly rationalised. The motivation for the crime can be linked to the strain theory developed by Robert K Merton who stated that society puts pressure on individuals to achieve socially accepted goals (the importance of money, social status etc.). Not having the means to achieve those goals leads individuals to commit crimes.

Take the case of the executive who spent nine years in McKinsey as managing director and thereafter on the corporate and non-profit boards of Goldman Sachs, Procter & Gamble, American Airlines, and Harvard Business School. Rajat Gupta was a figure of success. Furthermore, his commitment to philanthropy added an additional layer of credibility to his image. He created the American India Foundation which brought in millions of dollars in philanthropic contributions from NRIs to development programs across the country. Rajat Gupta’s descent started during the investigation on Raj Rajaratnam, a Sri-Lankan hedge fund manager accused of insider trading. Convicted for leaking confidential information about Warren Buffet’s sizeable investment plans for Goldman Sachs to Raj Rajaratnam, Rajat Gupta was found guilty of conspiracy and three counts of securities fraud. Safe to say, Mr. Gupta’s philanthropic work did not sway the jury.


The people discussed above have one thing in common - each one of them was well respected and celebrated for their industry prowess and social standing, but got sucked down a path of non-violent crime. The question remains - Why are individuals at successful positions willing to risk it all? The book Why They Do It: Inside the mind of the White-Collar Criminal based on a research by Eugene Soltes reveals a startling insight. Soltes spoke to fifty white collar criminals to understand their motivations behind the crimes. Like most of us, Soltes expected the workings of a calculated and greedy mind behind the crimes, something that could separate them from regular people. However, the results were surprisingly unnerving. According to the research, most of the executives who committed crimes made decisions the way we all do–on the basis of their intuitions and gut feelings. They often didn’t realise the consequences of their action and got caught in the flow of making more money.


The arena of white collar crimes is full of commanding players with large and complex personalities. Billions, starring Damien Lewis and Paul Giamatti, captures the undercurrents of Wall Street and delivers a high-octane ‘ruthless attorney vs wealthy kingpin’ drama. The show looks at the fine line between success and fraud in the stock market. Bobby Axelrod, the hedge fund kingpin, skilfully walks on this fine line like a tightrope walker, making it difficult for Chuck Rhoades, a US attorney, to build a case against him.

If financial drama is your thing, then block your weekend for Billions. You can catch it on Hotstar Premium, a platform that offers a wide collection of popular and Emmy-winning shows such as Game of Thrones, Modern Family and This Is Us, in addition to live sports coverage, and movies. To subscribe, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Hotstar and not by the Scroll editorial team.