Opposition to the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill
The controversial Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill has met with opposition in the Rajya Sabha from Congress, Biju Janta Dal and Telangana Rashtra Samithi. However, the Lok Sabha has passed the Bill with nine amendments and two new clauses. The BJP-led Government wants to dilute the 'consent' clause and the mandatory social impact assessment in the existing Act, despite promising to make it more people and farmer friendly.
Maharahstra launches the ‘Jalyukta Shivar Abhiyan’ to become drought-free by 2019
With an objective to become a drought-free state by 2019, the Maharashtra Government has launched a new programme called the ‘Jalyukta Shivar Abhiyan’. The aim of the programme is to make 5,000 villages water secure every year by initiating permanent measures to combat drought, harvest rainwater and promote micro-irrigation systems. In addition to this, the State Government has decided to stop fund allocations to irrigation projects where less than 15% of work has been completed.
More polluting units along the Ganga to come under NGT's scanner
The Principal Committee appointed by the National Green Tribunal has revised its guidelines to also identify seriously polluting units in addition to grossly polluting industries along the Ganga river. The State Pollution Control Boards have been entitled to inspect seriously polluting units as against grossly polluting units, which are scrutinized by both the Central and State Pollution Control Boards. Under the revised guidelines, 33 sectors, which includes almost every category of industry, have been identified.
Government merges Green India Mission with MGNREGA
In a bid to increase and improve the country's forest cover, the Government has merged the National Mission for a Green India with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA). Under the National Mission for a Green India, the Environment Ministry aims to increase 10 million hectares of forest cover over the next decade. With this merger between the Environment and Rural Development Ministries, the Government plans to strengthen field-level efforts to develop forest cover and improve forest-based livelihoods.
Hydel project in Arunachal's Dibang Basin stalled
The Expert Committee of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has stalled the 3,097 MW hydropower project, worth Rs 25,000 crore, in the Dibang basin of Arunachal Pradesh, until the environment impact assessment study is completed. Per MoEF the impact study, which is yet to start, will take at least two years to complete. The Central Water Commission which had been issued terms of reference, is still in the process of awarding the study.
This is a roundup of important policy matters from March 9 - 16, 2015. Also read last week's news updates.