Jal Shakti Ministry receives an allocation of Rs 86,189 crore in budget 2022-23
Policy matters this fortnight
16 Feb 2022
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Women fill water from a public tap in Karnataka (Image source: IWP Flickr photos)

Budget 2022-23: Allocation to the Jal Shakti Ministry increased to Rs 86,189 crore, from Rs 69,052 crore the previous year

The Finance Ministry has allocated a total of Rs 86,189 crore to the Jal Shakti Ministry. The Drinking Water and Sanitation Department has received Rs 67,221 crore in the Union Budget, whereas the Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation Department has been allocated Rs 18,967.88 crore. Under the Jal Jeevan Mission, Rs 60,000 crore has been allocated to provide tap water connections to 3.8 crore households in 2022-23.

In her budget speech, the finance minister has announced that the implementation of the Ken-Betwa river linking will be taken up. Furthermore, five detailed project reports, namely the Damanganga-Pinjal, Par-Tapi-Narmada, Krishna-Pennar, Krishna-Cauvery, and Pennar-Pennar, have been finalized, and funds will be provided after the beneficiary states have given approval.

With an allocation of Rs 3,030 crore to the Environment Ministry, the allocation has increased by 5.6 percent. However, the budget to control pollution shrank by Rs 10 crore(The Economic Times, The Times of India, The News Minute)

Ravi Chopra, chairman of the Char Dham Committee, resigns after being dissatisfied with the Centre for not listening to its recommendations

A High Powered Committee (HPC) was formed in 2019 by the Supreme Court, under the chairmanship of Ravi Chopra, to examine the effects of widening roads under the Char Dham Pariyojana on the Himalayan ecosystem. The project involves felling of trees, cutting of hills, and dumping excavated debris.

Ravi Chopra, the chairman of HPC has resigned saying that “his belief that the HPC could protect this fragile (Himalayan) ecology has been shattered”. He is disappointed that the Centre has not heeded most of the recommendations of the panel, including his recommendation on road width. To meet defense needs, a wider road configuration has been accepted instead of what the HPC had recommended. 

(The Dialogue)

NGT bans construction of permanent nature on Mahanadi river’s floodplains

The National Green Tribunal has ordered a ban on permanent construction on the floodplains of the Mahanadi river until further orders.

The order came following a petition filed that called the Baliyatra River Front Improvement (BRFI) project, under which the construction was being conducted, an attempt to monetise the river bed for commercial purposes. The plea further stated that the project will reduce the water-retention capacity of the river at Jobra Barrage at Cuttack and ruin the environment and riverine ecosystem.

By emphasizing its earlier order, the NGT stated that the Committee formed to develop norms for riverfront development could define the extent of the floodplain zone from the river's edge and the CPCB will be the nodal agency. (The Weather Channel)

Rs 31 crore allocated for integrated project for wetlands, biodiversity and ecosystem services

Funded by the Global Environment Facility Trust Fund (GEFTF), Rs 31.13 crore has been allocated for the Integrated Management of Wetland, Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services project for a period of 5 years.

Three wetlands are included in the project: Sasthamcotta Lake in Kerala, Harike Lake in Punjab, and Kabartal in Bihar. GEFTF will provide funds to the tune of Rs 19.02 crores, divided equally among the three wetlands.

Additionally, a project management unit (PMU) and a National Project Steering Committee have been established to oversee the progress of the project. A technical appraisal of the project plans submitted by the state governments have been conducted, analyzing the incorporation of ecosystem services and biodiversity values, mapping the interventions with the threats. (Livemint)

Indo-Bangla waterway project: Rs 24 crore sanctioned for dredging in Gomati river

The Ministry of Shipping has sanctioned over Rs 24 crore for dredging in the Gomati river and setting up 10 jetties for a waterway project. From Sonamura in Tripura's Sepahijala district to Daudkandi in Bangladesh, a 93 km waterway has been proposed for the Gomati, a transboundary river.

A nearly 15.5 km stretch of the proposed waterway needs dredging to operationalise the route, while only 1.5 km lies within India.

In addition, a permanent jetty will be built near Srimantapur Land Customs Station in Sonamura with an estimated cost of Rs 5.04 crore. (The Economic Times)

This is a roundup of important policy matters from February 1 – 15, 2022. Also, read the news this fortnight.

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