Higher monetary incentives for toilet construction and delinking sanitation mission from MGNREGS
The Union Minister for Rural Development, Drinking Water and Sanitation has announced raising incentives for building toilets. The new subsidy amounts are as follows: from Rs 10,000 to 15,000 for building individual household toilets, from Rs 35,000 to Rs 54,000 for school toilets, from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 6 lakh for community sanitary complex and from Rs 8,000 to Rs 20,000 for anganwadi toilets. He has also said that the Sanitation Mission will be delinked from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
NGT gets strict with Delhi and Noida's groundwater exploiters
The National Green Tribunal has ordered the Delhi Jal Board to collect a groundwater extraction fee of Rs 50,000 from all the packaging units in Bawana and Narela. It has also ordered them to apply for borewell installation. Since December 2012, all these industries have been using the groundwater without paying the Water Cess. The Tribunal has also reprimanded Noida authorities for failing to stop builders in Noida and Greater Noida from withdrawing groundwater for construction purposes.
Supreme Court restrains the Wildlife Board under Modi Government from taking fresh decisions
The Supreme Court has questioned the legality of the formation of the National Board of Wildlife under the current Government. It has also barred the Board from taking any decision in relation to wildlife till the next date of hearing. The Centre has nominated only one non-profit organisation working for conservation instead of five, which is in voilation to the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Likewise, only two wildlife experts have been nominated instead of 10.
Government favours Kasturirangan Report on the Western Ghats over the Gadgil Report
The Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change has told the National Green Tribunal that it is only processing the Kasturirangan Committee Report on the Western Ghats, thereby rejecting the report prepared by the Madhav Gadgil Committee. Experts are unhappy with the decision since they feel that the Gadgil report's key recommendation of taking villagers' opinion on any proposed project in their region is ideal and practical.
Coal block allocations since 1993 are illegal: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has called all coal block allocations made by the Centre since 1993 as illegal, saying that the allocations were made in an unfair and arbitary manner. The order came following the petition filed in the Court questioning the legality of allocation of coal blocks to private companies. After the petition was filed, the Comptroller Auditor General (CAG) of India had also reported that the country incurred a loss of Rs 1.86 lakh crore because of the Government Screening Committee who has allocated coal blocks without considering the correct auction route.
This is a weekly roundup of policy matters from August 25-31, 2014. Also read last week's news roundup.