Improved sanitation can reduce diarrhoea cases by 47%: World Bank
A World Bank report released this month has found that improved sanitation can reduce cases of diarrhoea in children by 47%. The report "Sanitation and Externalities" analysed the data of 2,06,414 children under four years of age from the Government’s District Level Household Survey 2007-08 to estimate how many of them had access to sanitation. They compared the data with the ratio of people with sanitation facilities in their villages. The average prevalence of diarrhoea among the children with little access to sanitation was 12.1%. It reduced by 10% after their houses had access to improved sanitation.
Appoint Environment Regulator by March: SC
The Supreme Court has told the Central government to appoint a Regulator by March 31 with offices in States under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 for appraising projects, enforcing environmental conditions for approvals and imposing penalties on polluters. According to the SC Bench, the Environment Impact Assessment notification of 2006 is deficient in many aspects and therefore a regulator to keep a tab on all environment clearances is required at the national as well as the state level. The Bench rejected the Centre’s contention that the government alone was the Regulator as there is conflict of interest in its role as it is involved in both the appraisal and approval of projects.
Rural water supply and sanitation scheme for 4 states
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved a rural water supply and sanitation scheme for four low-income states- Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Assam. The scheme, to be partially funded by the State governments, will have several pilot projects like the 24/7 water supply provision and solar energy. The scheme, envisioned under the 12th Five-year plan, is expected to improve access and usage of piped drinking water supplied to individual homes.
Madras High Court slams NGT for overstepping its jurisdiction
The National Green Tribunal has been slammed recently for taking suo moto cogniscance of environmental matters and initiating proceedings. According to a PIL filed in the Court, the NGT is not allowed to issue suo moto notices. According to the NGT Act, there is no clear mention of the Tribunal's mandate to take up matters on its own. It only says that the tribunal should act on grievances brought before it by others. However, it does say that the Tribunal can adopt its own procedure.
NGT notice to NHPC over Subansiri dam
The NGT has issued notices to the Union Environment and Power Ministries, the Governments of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh and the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation on neglecting the downstream impact of the Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Power Project. According to a petition filed by an Assemese NGO, minimum flow should be released from the dam in the Subansiri river, a tributary of the Brahamaputra, for the sustenance of Gangetic dolphins which are a rare species. The NHPC planned to release only 6 cumecs of water from the dam for 20 hours in a day during lean season which is very low as there is 850 cumecs water in the river even during that time, the petition says.
This is a weekly roundup of policy matters from January 5-11, 2014. Also read last week's news updates.