India and Germany join hands to rejuvenate the Ganga
The Water Resources Ministry and the German International Cooperation (GIZ) have signed an implementation agreement to rejuvenate the Ganga under the Namami Gange Programme. The Indian Government will use the vast experiences of the German Government in cleaning the Rhine, Elbe and Danube rivers for the revival of the Ganga. Along with this, the Ministry has also formed a multidisciplinary committee of 10 members that will act as a think tank and will provide inputs to the former on various aspects of the rejuvenation. Also, the launch of the Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies (CGRBMS) in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IITK) has been announced.
Water Ministry seeks status of water storage in all states
The Water Resources Ministry has asked the Central Water Commission to prepare a report on the status of water storage in all states. The aim behind this is to identify incomplete water projects in the states and urge them to complete it. Along with this, the Ministry is also preparing a scheme under which a Dalit-majority village facing acute water scarcity will be chosen in every district of the country for an integrated water security plan. Also, in the wake of the water crisis across the country, the Centre is laying down guidelines for states on efficient management of water resources. The model Bill for the same is likely to be finalised by May 15.
Shift IPL matches out of Maharashtra after April 30: HC to BCCI
The Bombay High Court has ordered the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to shift out of Maharashtra the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches scheduled to be played after April 30. The organisers have been given 15 days to make all arrangements to shift matches. However, prior to this order, besides agreeing to use treated sewage water, the BCCI had also agreed to supply 40 lakh litres of water to drought-affected areas in the state and also promised to contribute Rs 5 crore to the Chief Minister Relief fund for the same cause.
Thermal power plants asked to reduce water usage
Contemplating the possibility of dry summers and dwindling water levels in rivers in the coming years, the Environment Ministry has asked all the proposed thermal power plants across the country to reduce their water usage by atleast 30% while the operating ones are told to cut down their water usage by 10%. Along with this, the Ministry is mulling plans to draft new norms, that will have to be complied by December 2017 and would require all plants to put up cooling towers to reduce their power consumption.
CAG finds loopholes in Maharashtra's management of irrigation projects
Per the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report on Maharashtra’s finances for March 2015, the state has poorly managed its irrigation projects which has further added to its water woes. The state government needs Rs 97,101 crore to complete 515 ongoing irrigation projects. Out of this 515, 85 have been pending for more than three decades while 247 are pending for more than 15 years. Also, the CAG has slammed the state government over the shrinking of forests since 2009 and no creation of green funds mandated by the State Forest Policy over these last seven years.
This is a roundup of important policy matters from April 12 - 18, 2016. Also read last week's news roundup.