Centre to provide 43-55 litre/day water per person to rural households by 2024
Under the Jal Jeevan Mission, the Centre plans to provide 43 to 55 litres of water per person per day to every rural Indian household by 2024, and to set up a dedicated fund called Rashtriya Jal Jeevan Kosh for the Jal Jeevan Mission on the lines of Swachh Bharat Kosh. The plan aims to provide tap water to an estimated over 15 crore of the 18.5 crore rural households, and will be launched soon. The scheme is likely to attract massive investments in the field of water and sanitation in the coming years.
(The Economic Times)
NGT orders Assam government to notify Deepor Beel as eco-sensitive zone
The National Green Tribunal has ordered the Assam government to notify the area around the Deepor Beel, a wetland near Guwahati, as an eco-sensitive zone. With a reserve forest nearby, Deepor Beel is an important bird area and a Ramsar site. No industrial or human activities will be allowed for 10 kilometres around the Beel, in a move to protect the wetland. Earlier the NGT had directed the Assam government to remove existing encroachment on the wetland, to prohibit any further encroachment and to manage a municipal solid waste dumping ground inside Deepor Beel’s system. (The Hindu)
Indian Railways bans single-use plastic on its premises
A day after single-use plastic was banned in the Parliament premises, the Indian Railways has also banned single-use plastic on its premises, including trains. The ban will be effective from October 2nd. In the first phase, the Railway Board has asked authorities to speed up the installation of 1,853 plastic water bottle crushing machines at 360 major stations. Along with this, in line with Extended Producer Responsibility, the board has also asked the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Development Corporation (IRCTC) to implement a return system for plastic drinking bottles. Also to reduce plastic usage, railway employees have been asked to reduce, reuse and refuse plastic products and to use reusable bags. (Business Today)
Rs. 47,436 crores transferred to 27 states for afforestation
The Environment Ministry has transferred Rs 47,436 crores worth of funds to 27 states for afforestation as part of the Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF). The funds are long pending dues that have been collected over nearly a decade as environmental compensation from industries, which have razed forest land for their business and commercial interests.
The CAF Act 2016, came into being more than a decade since it was devised, establishing an independent authority - the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) - to execute the fund. However the rules governing the management of the fund were only finalised last August. The funds will have to be used by the states as per provisions of the CAF Act and Rules and the Centre will use geographic tagging technology to keep a tab on whether states are using their allotted funds appropriately. (The Hindu)
Odisha, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh receive funds for flood relief, but Kerala left out
A high-level committee headed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah has approved additional funds of Rs 4,432 crore to Odisha, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh, all hit by natural disasters in the past year. Odisha has been given Rs 3338.22 crore for the damage caused by Cyclone Fani; Rs. 1029.39 crores has been assigned to Karnataka for drought relief and Rs. 64.49 crore has been allocated to Himachal Pradesh for avalanches and hailstorms.
However, Kerala which was hit by worst flood in almost a century last year, has not been allocated any additional aid. The Centre justified this by saying that Kerala was already given Rs. 2,904 crores in the wake of the floods last year. (India Times)
This is a roundup of important policy matters from August 22 - September 3, 2019. Also, read news this week.