Identify farmers for income support scheme: NITI Aayog to states
NITI Aayog has ordered all states to identify small and marginal farmers who will receive Rs 2,000 as the first instalment by March-end under the Rs 75,000-crore income support package announced in the budget. Taking note of farmers' distress in the country, the budget provides Rs 6000 per year to farmers holding cultivable land of up to two hectares under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi. For the current fiscal, the government has already earmarked Rs 20,000 crore to an estimated 12 crore farmers. The process of digitisation of landholding has already been started so as to accelerate the disbursal of financial benefits to the farmers.
Drinking water projects worth Rs 3200 crore approved in Odisha
The Odisha government has approved five rural piped water supply projects worth Rs 3,200 crore. The projects, targeted for completion in two years, are aimed at benefiting over 15 lakh people residing in mining-hit and saline-affected areas in six districts. The cabinet has given a go-ahead to two water supply projects in coal-mining affected blocks in Angul district, Rs 979.82 crore pipe water supply project in mining-affected Keonjhar district, Rs 754 crore project for ensuring safe drinking water in salinity-hit blocks of Bhadrak district and another project in tribal-dominated blocks of Mayurbhanj district.
Draft national plan for wetland protection excludes Karnataka's water bodies
The draft national action plan for the protection of wetlands has identified 20 major wetlands and nine wetland clusters across the country that play host to migratory birds. The draft does not, however, include any of the major wetlands from Karnataka. As per a study by Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, the state has 622 wetlands bigger than 52.25 hectares but lack of documentation and ignorance by officials have led to them being unnoticed. Moreover, the experts have claimed that several enthusiasts, including those in official circles, have spent years to compile data on birds but it was due to lack of policy-level measure that a comprehensive statistics could not be prepared.
Assam government declares Deopahar a reserve forest
The Assam government has notified the 133.45-hectare area of Deopahar in Golaghat district as reserve forest. For several years, Deopahar has been at the centre of a legal battle over the boundary wall of Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) in the area and a proposed township. In 2016, the National Green Tribunal ordered the demolition of the wall. However, NRL filed a review application which was dismissed by both the NGT and the Supreme Court which finally led to legal recognition of Deopahar.
NGT fines Rajasthan government over pollution in Bandi river
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has slapped a fine of Rs 20 crore on the Rajasthan government for not being able to control pollution in the Bandi river by local textile industries. The state government and the agriculture secretary have been directed to assess the damages caused to the agricultural lands and the health of the farmers from using the contaminated water of the Bandi river and submit a report within a month suggesting compensation to the farmers. As per the tribunal, the state government has failed to ensure compliance of installed common effluent treatment plants and has taken no action against discharge of effluents into the Bandi river.
This is a roundup of important policy matters from January 29 - February 4, 2019. Also, read news this week.