India announces its new climate plan
Ahead of the UN Conference of Parties on Climate Change, India has submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). India has pledged to improve the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33-35 percent by 2030, along with increasing the share of non-fossil fuels-based electricity to 40 percent. India has also agreed to enhance its forest cover to absorb 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Proposed changes in the Environment Protection Act reopened for debate
The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has directed the Environment Ministry to post the contents of the Cabinet note on Environmental Laws (Amendment) Bill on its website for public opinion. The proposed Bill that would allow polluting industries and persons to go scot free after paying a monetary penalty, has inserted new sub-sections for defining 'substantial damage to environment'.
NGT pulls up Maharashtra Government over decision to revoke river zone policy
The National Green Tribunal has sought a response from the Maharashtra Government's authority to take the decision to scrap the River Regulation Zone (RRZ) policy. Per the Tribunal, the State Government is not a competent authority to revise or revoke the RRZ policy that comes under the provision of the Environment Protection Act. In January, the BJP-Government issued a notification revoking the RRZ policy to facilitate the interests of the real estate sector.
NGT seeks Centre's response on plea challenging Lakhwar project
The National Green Tribunal has issued notice to the Central Government following a plea challenging the construction of the 300 MW Lakhwar multi-purpose project being built by Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (UJVNL). As per the plea of Bhim Singh Rawat and Manoj Kumar Misra, the environment nod granted by MoEF in 1987 was an administrative approval to the composite Lakhwar-Vyasi project, which was later bifurcated. The approval letter clearly indicates that there was no evaluation of the project in terms of its environmental costs and impacts.
Andhra to supply 24x7 water to industries
Andhra Pradesh Government has decided to provide 24x7 water supply to major industries in the state. For this purpose, the State Government has earmarked 30 Thousand Million Cubic (TMC) feet of river and canal water exclusively for industrial use. Along with this, the State has ordered the Irrigation Department to ensure uninterrupted supply of water to industries throughout the year.
This is a roundup of important policy matters from September 29-October 5, 2015. Also read last week's news updates.