Do not allow dam projects affecting environmental flows of rivers: Water Ministry to CWC

Policy matters this week
Ganga river at Kaudiyala Ganga river at Kaudiyala

Water Ministry restricts permission to dam projects hindering e-flow of rivers

The Water Resources Ministry has ordered the Central Water Commission (CWC) to not allow dam projects that will affect the environmental flow of the rivers. The Ministry has also announced that it will spend Rs 30,000 crore in the next four years to strengthen the livelihood of people living along the Ganga river under the Namami Gange programme. Along with this, the National Green Tribunal has also got stricter with offenders polluting the Ganga. Plastic has been completely banned in the pilgrimage towns of Haridwar and Rishikesh and any violations will impose a hefty fine of Rs 5,000. 

Centre clears the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, worth Rs 5,000 crore

The Government has given it approval for the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, which aims to provide irrigation facilities to every village in the country. With a total allocation of Rs 5,000 crore for the next five years under the scheme, the Government plans to reduce the dependence of the agriculture sector on the monsoon. Also, to make the agriculture market favourable to farmers, the Centre has agreed to set up an online national agriculture market that will allow farmers to sell and buy farm produce from across the country.

Centre sets yet another ambitious target to build 42 water harvesting structures/hour

Under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), the Government has planned to construct 1.8 million water harvesting structures by August (in about 75 days). However, completing such a huge target will require the construction of 23,900 structures in a day or 42 strucures/hour. It seems that the Government has picked the wrong time to achieve its target as the rainy season will pose a severe challenge to a scheme that entails soil work.

19 States launch online system for environmental clearance to Category 'B' projects

To streamline the process of environmental clearance, the Environment Ministry has launched a web portal for submitting the clearance applications of projects falling under Category 'B'. Category 'B' projects are the ones that are cleared by the State Environment Impact Assessment Authorities. The online application portal is expected to bring more transperancy to the system along with accelerating the clearance process.

Rajasthan's Man Sagar Lake is now a protected area

The Rajasthan Government has declared the Jal Mahal and Man Sagar Lake in Jaipur as a protected area, much to the dismay of the Jal Mahal Tourism Project. With this, the 372 acre area of the lake has come under the jurisdiction of the State Lake Development Authority which has now been granted the power to restrict activities in and around the water body. The Authority has granted a period of two months for any affected party to file their objections to its decision. 

This is a roundup of important policy matters from June 30 - July 6, 2015. Also read last week's news updates.

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