States have no rights in granting forest clearance: Government

Forests help mainitain the ecological balance of Earth (Source: IWP Flickr photos)
Forests help mainitain the ecological balance of Earth (Source: IWP Flickr photos)

Forest ministry solely in the hands of Centre: Environment Ministry

As per the latest notification of the Environment Ministry, a state government/UT administration will not impose any additional environmental or conservation directions for infrastructure projects in forest areas other than what has already been stipulated by the Centre while granting forest clearance to a project. However, in exceptional situations, state governments can enforce certain additional conditions with the permission of the central government.

According to the independent experts, the move will further centralise powers to monitor infrastructure projects and constrain state governments’s decision-making in issues related to forest and wildlife conservation.

(Hindustan Times)

Uranium mining project shelved in Telangana after protests from the public and experts

The project to drill boreholes in the Amrabad Tiger Reserve (ATR) to prospect for the yellowcake, a form of uranium ore, by the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD), Hyderabad under the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has been shelved.

The decision has been taken as the project was facing opposition from environmental groups, conservationists and NGOs while the Telangana government and the state wildlife board consistently rejected the project during the last two years. The project was a threat to the tigers and wildlife, water pollution, damage to the habitation where the Chenchu tribals reside and the long gestation period which was detrimental to the overall forest reserve.

(Mongabay India)

JJM introduces sensor-based IoT devices to monitor implementation

With an aim to monitor the implementation of its flagship programme in more than six lakh villages, the Jal Shakti Ministry has introduced sensor-based Internet of Things (Iot) devices. The new dimension would not only allow effective monitoring and management on-ground but also enable real-time visibility to state water supply/ PHED officials and citizens. The project which is in collaboration with the Tata Community Initiatives Trust (TCIT) and Tata Trusts, has recently completed pilot projects in several remote villages of five states, namely Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra. (The Tribune)

10 percent of water schemes in Himachal Pradesh hit because of drought-like conditions

The drought-like conditions in the state, owing to the dry weather spell this year, has hit around 900 water schemes in the state. Out of the 9,000 water supply schemes in the state, over 400 have been hit in Shimla zone, and over 220 in Mandi zone while in Hamirpur and Dharamshala zones 12 and over 73 drinking water schemes have been affected. The supply schemes have been hit to the extent of 5 to 30 percent and the situations are likely to get worse if the dry weather spell continues. The state has reported 70 percent less rainfall in January and February and fewer rains are expected in April and May but pre-monsoon showers in mid-June are likely to bring some respite. (The Times of India)

Government launches tribal health collaborative ‘Anamaya’

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan launched the Tribal Health Collaborative ‘Anamaya’ that will converge efforts of various government agencies and organisations to enhance the health and nutrition status of the tribal communities of India. In the past one year, Health Ministry along with the Tribal Affairs Ministry have made joint efforts to address the health gaps of the tribal communities. Recently the Tribal TB Initiative was launched. The ministry has also expressed hope that in the coming days, other critical diseases such as Malaria, Sickle Cell Disease, malnutrition, anaemia, which are widely prevalent among the tribal communities will also be addressed effectively. (Swachh India)

This is a roundup of important policy matters from April 1 - 15, 2021. Also, read news this week.