Acts, Policies and Bodies – India

ACTS, POLICIES AND BODIES-INDIA

To prepare for ENVIRONMENT  for any competitive exam, aspirants have to know about Acts, Policies and Bodies – India.  Here we will study Acts, Policies and Bodies – India in details. It gives an idea of all the important topics for the IAS Exam and the Governance syllabus (GS-II.). Acts, Policies and Bodies – India terms are important from Environmental perspectives in the UPSC exam. IAS aspirants should thoroughly understand their meaning and application, as questions can be asked from this static portion of the IAS Syllabus in both the UPSC Prelims and the UPSC Mains exams. Even these topics are also highly linked with current affairs. Almost every question asked from them is related to current events. So, apart from standard textbooks, you should rely on newspapers and news analyses as well for these sections.

Provisions in the constitution:

  • Under Part IVA of the Constitution (Article 51A- Fundamental Duties), the Constitution casts a duty on every citizen to improve and protect nature and have compassion for all living beings.
  • Furthermore, the Constitution under Part IV (Article 48A- Directive Principles of State Policies) stipulates that the State shall try to improve and protect the environment and safeguard forests and wildlife of the country.
  • Supreme Court in the case of Subhash Kumar v. State of Bihar and Others, observed that right to live is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution and it includes the right of enjoyment of pollution free water and air for full enjoyment of life.

Some if the principles and doctrines propounded by courts in India are:

 

Rule of Absolute Liability

  • C. Mehta v. Union of India, the Supreme Court introduced the doctrine of ‘absolute liability’.
  • The Court introduced the doctrine of ‘absolute liability’ on the user of hazardous material and said that the enterprise must be absolutely liable to compensate for such harm and it should be no answer to the enterprise to say that it had taken all reasonable care and that the harm occurred without any negligence on its part.

 

Sustainable Development

  • The Supreme Court in the case of Vellore Citizens’ Welfare Forum v. Union of India and Others, observed that the traditional concept that development and ecology are opposed to each other is no longer acceptable and “Sustainable Development” is the answer.
  • In C. Mehta v. Union of India, the Supreme Court held that one of the principles underlying environmental law is sustainable development.
  • The two essentials of sustainable development are: (i) the Precautionary Principle and (ii) the Principle of Polluter Pays.

 

Principle of Polluter Pays and Precautionary Principle

  • The Supreme Court in the case of Vellore Citizen Welfare Forum v. Union of India and others,. According to the “Polluter Pays Principle” the polluter industries are liable not only to compensate the victims of pollution but also the cost of restoring the environmental degradation.
  • Under the “Precautionary Principle” measures must be taken by the State Government and the statutory authorities to anticipate and prevent the causes of environmental degradation and where there are threats of serious and irreversible damage lack of scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation.

 

Doctrine of Public Trust

  • The Supreme Court in the case ofC. Mehta v. Kamal Nath and Others, held that public trust doctrine is a part of Indian law.
  • The Public Trust Doctrine primarily rests on the principle that certain resources like air, sea, waters and the forests have a great importance to the people as a whole and that it would be wholly unjustified to make them a subject of private ownership.
  • The said resources being a gift of nature should be made freely available to everyone irrespective of the status in life.
  • This doctrine enjoins upon the Government to protect the resources for the enjoyment of the general public rather than to permit their use for private ownership or commercial purposes.

 

Legislative History In India

  • The Wildlife laws have a long history.
    • The earliest concern for wildlife could be traced to 3rd Century BC when King Ashoka enacted the law of preservation of wildlife and environment.
    • Under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 the term “animal” is defined and it declares maiming and killing of animals as an offence punishable under various sections.
    • The Indian Forest Act, 1927, thereafter consolidated the law relating to forests and the transit of forest produce.
    • The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 was enacted to further check deforestation.
    • The Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and The Wildlife Protection act, 1972 were passed to protect, preserve and improve Wild Life.

 

WILDLIFE PROTECTION ACT (WPA), 1972:
  • The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 was passed by the Parliament under Article 252 of the Constitution, it was intended to provide a comprehensive National framework for wildlife protection and to adopt a conservation strategy for specified endangered species and provide for protection of all species in specified areas.
  • This act prohibits the capturing, killing, poisoning or trapping of wild animals.
  • Jurisdiction: Act has been accepted by all the states and it is applicable to the whole of India.
  • Need for the protection of wildlife:
  • India is a country which is very rich in flora and fauna. It is land consisting of 10% of the world’s species. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, India constitutes 7-8% of all species, including plants and animals. The statistics is given below-

 

Objectives of WPA, 1972:

  • The Government of India has enacted the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 with the various objectives.
  • Prohibition of hunting: The act provides for prohibition of hunting of wild animals, birds etc. and impose punishment for violating the same. This act gives absolute protection to certain species and these cannot be infringed at any cost.
  • Protection and management of wildlife habitats: It aims to plant trees and build protected animal parks so that such animals are protected in environment-friendly and natural areas.
  • Establishment of protected areas: The act empowers the Central Govt. and State Govt. to declare certain areas as Sanctuaries or National Parks.
  • Regulation and control of trade in parts and products derived from wildlife: It gives sweeping powers to law enforcement authorities to punish anybody guilty under the Act.
  • Management of zoos: To provide shelter and protect the animals which are not in danger but need protection and security.
  • To support the launching of the National component of UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Programme, 1971.
  • To support the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES 1976).

 

Schedules:

  • The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 has been divided into six schedules. Each schedule gives a varied form of protection.
  • Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 provide absolute protection to the wild animals and for the violation of such provisions the penalty charged is very high.
  • While in Schedule 3 and Schedule 4, animals are protected here but the penalty charged is low.
  • Schedule 5 states the list of animals which can be hunted and Schedule 6 states the list of specified endemic plants which are prohibited for cultivation and planting.

 

Hunting of Wild Animals to be permitted in certain cases (Section 11)

  •          The Chief Wildlife Warden may, if he/she is satisfied that any wild animal specified in Sch. 1 has become dangerous to human life or is so disabled or diseased as to be beyond recovery, by order in writing and stating the reasons therefore, permit any person to hunt such animal or cause animal to be hunted; Provided that no wild animal shall be ordered to be killed unless the Chief Wild Life Warden is satisfied that such animal cannot be captured, tranquilized or translocate:

  

Salient features of the wild life protection act:

  • It defines wildlife-related terminology.
  • It provides for the appointment of wildlife advisory Board, Wildlife Warden, their powers, duties, etc.
  • It imposes a ban on the trade or commerce in scheduled animals.
  • It provides for legal powers to officers and punishment to offenders.
  • Offence committed to in relation to any animal specified in Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year but may extend to 6 year and also fine which shall not be less than five thousand rupees
  • The Act contains 66 Sections and six schedules.
  • It helped in becoming a party to the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES 1976).
  • It supported launching a national component of UNESCO’s ‘Man and Biosphere Programme’ (1971).
  • The Act made a comprehensive list of endangered wildlife species for the first time and prohibition of hunting of the endangered species was mentioned.
  • It also provides for the protection of some endangered plants.
  • It provides for setting up of National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, etc.
  • It provides for the constitution of Central Zoo Authority.
  • It provides for trade and commerce in some wildlife species with a license for sale, possession, transfer, etc.

 

IMPORTANT BODIES CONSTITUTED UNDER WILDLIFE PROTECTION ACT 1972:

 

National Board for Wildlife:

  • The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) is a statutory body created under India’s Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • It is a 47 member committee headed by the Prime Minister of the country and is tasked with promoting conservation and development of wildlife and forests.
  • In addition to framing policies and advising Central Government on matters related to conservation, it is responsible for regulating activities within India’s Protected Areas i.e. National Parks (NPs), Wildlife Sanctuaries (WLSs) and Conservation Reserves (CRs) and Community Reserves (CMRs).
  • The law mandates the NBWL to constitute a Standing Committee for carrying out its various duties and functions. Having been delegated the powers of the NBWL, the standing committee is required to consider proposals which involve use of land from protected areas (NPs, WLSs and CRs) for activities such as mining, irrigation, roads, highways etc.
  • Prior approval from Standing Committee of National Board for Wildlife is also mandatory for proposals involving alteration of boundaries of WLS and NPs.
  • Further, as per the amendment made to the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 in 2006, approval from Standing Committee of NBWL is mandatory for projects which involve diversion of Tiger Reserves and areas which link one Protected Area or Tiger Reserve with another Protected Area or Tiger Reserve.

 

Wildlife Advisory Board:

  • The Act enforces and enables the state governments and the administrators of the Union Territories to constitute a Wildlife Advisory Board in each states and union territories.
  • The members of the Wildlife Advisory Board: It shall consist of the Minister in charge of Forests in the State or Union territory as the Chairman. If there is no such minister, then the Chief Secretary will be the Chairman of the Board.
  • Duties of Wildlife Advisory Board: The Wildlife Advisory Board mainly constituted to advise the state government in the following matters.
  • In the selection of areas to be declared as Sanctuaries, National Parks and Closed areas and the administration thereof;
  • In formulation of the policy for protection and conservation of wildlife and specified plants;
  • In any matter relating to the amendment of any schedule;
  • In relation to the measure to be taken for harmonizing the needs of the tribals and other dwellers of the forests with the protection and conservation of wildlife;

 

Protected Areas under WPA, 1972:
  • Protected Area (PA) has been defined in the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. “Protected Area” means a National Park, Sanctuary, Conservation / Community Reserve. These are notified under Chapter IV titled “Protected Areas”. It does not include Reserved Forests.
  • Reserved Forests (RFs) are areas notified under the Indian Forest Act, 1927. There is another category called as State Forests (SFs) which are areas notified under State Forest Acts. Both these categories have the same legal status. The total area of RFs is 4,34,853 sq km or 25% of India’s land area.
  • Typically, two or more contiguous Reserved or State Forests are amalgamated and notified as either a Sanctuary or National Park. Even a single RF can be notified. Only such notified RFs/SFs will be part of a PA.

 

  1. Sanctuaries:
  • Any area other than area comprised with any reserve forest or the territorial waters can be notified by the State Government to constitute as a sanctuary
  • Some restricted human activities are allowed inside the Sanctuary area.
  • Boundaries of sanctuaries are not generally fixed and defined.
  • The Chief Wildlife Warden (who is the authority to control, manage and maintain all sanctuaries) may grant permission to persons for entry or residence in the sanctuary for the study of wildlife, scientific research, photography, the transaction of any lawful business with persons residing inside, and tourism.
  • Sanctuaries can be upgraded to the status of a ‘National Park’.
  • Examples: Achanakmar sanctuary in Chhattisgarh; Arial Island in Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

 

  1. National Parks:
  • An area, whether within a sanctuary or not, can be notified by the state government to be constituted as a National Park
  • No human activity is permitted inside the national park except for the ones permitted by the Chief Wildlife Warden of the state under the conditions given in WPA 1972.
  • The State Government cannot alter the boundaries of a national park except on the recommendation of the National Board for
  • No grazing is allowed inside a national park.
  • All provisions applicable to a sanctuary are also applicable to a national park.

 

  1. Conservation Reserves:
  • The State Government after consultations with local communities can declare any area owned by the Government, particularly areas adjacent to national parks or sanctuaries, as conservation reserves.
  • The government constitutes a Conservation Reserve Management Committee to manage and conserve the conservation reserve.

 

  1. Community Reserves:
  • The State Government can, in consultation with the community or an individual who have volunteered to conserve wildlife, declare any private or community land as community reserve.
  • A Community Reserve Management Committee shall be constituted by State Government for conserving and managing the reserve.

 

  1. Tiger Reserve:
  • These areas were reserved for protection tiger in the country. The State Government on the recommendation of the National Tiger Conservation Authority may notify an area as a tiger reserve, for which it has to prepare a Tiger Conservation Plan.
  • Tiger Reserves are managed by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
  • No alternation of boundary can be done without the recommendation of National Board for Wild Life and without the advice of the Tiger Conservation Authority.

 

Wildlife Protection Amendment Act 2002:

  • This amendment for this act was made in 2002 but came into force in January 2003 and under it, the punishment for defaulters is harsher.

Wildlife Protection Amendment Act 2006:

  • The act was amended in the year 2006 and its purpose is to strengthen the conservation of tigers and other endangered species by combating crimes against them through the special Crime Control Bureau.

 

Question:

According to the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, which of the following animals cannot be hunted by any person except under some provisions provided by law?

  1.  Gharial
  2. Indian wild ass
  3.  Wild buffalo

Select the correct answer using the code given below

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1,2 and 3

Answer: D

 

In India, if a species of tortoise is declared protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, what does it imply?

  1. It enjoys the same level of protection as the tiger.
  2. It no longer exists in the wild, a few individuals are under captive protection; and now it is impossible to prevent its extinction.
  3. It is endemic to a particular region of India.
  4. Both (b) and (c) stated above are correct in this context.

Answer: A

 

ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION ACT, 1986
  • The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 authorizes the central government to protect and improve environmental quality, control and reduce pollution from all sources, and prohibit or restrict the setting and /or operation of any industrial facility on environmental grounds.
  • The Environment (Protection) Act was enacted in 1986 with the objective of providing for the protection and improvement of the environment.
  • It empowers the Central Government to establish authorities charged with the mandate of preventing environmental pollution in all its forms and to tackle specific environmental problems that are peculiar to different parts of the country. The Act was last amended in 1991.
  • Jurisdiction: This Act has been accepted by all the states and it is applicable to the whole of India.

 

Background:

  • Act was general legislation enacted under Article 253 of the Constitution, pursuant to the international obligations of India.
  • India was a signatory to the Stockholm Conference of 1972 where the world community had resolved to protect and enhance the environment.
  • While several legislations such as The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 were enacted after the Conference, the need for general legislation had become increasingly evident. The EPA was enacted so as to overcome this deficiency.

 

Definitions:

  • The Section 2 of EPA deals with definitions. Some important definitions provided in the Section are:
  • Environment” includes water, air and land and the inter-relationship which exists among and between water, air and land, and human beings, other living creatures, plants, micro-organism and property;
  • Environmental pollutant” means any solid, liquid or gaseous substance present in such concentration as may be, or tend to be, injurious to environment;
  • Environmental pollution” means the presence in the environment of any environmental pollutant;
  • Handling” in relation to any substance, means the manufacture, processing, treatment, package, storage, transportation, use, collection, destruction, conversion, offering for sale, transfer or the like of such substance;
  • Hazardous substance” means any substance or preparation which, by reason of its chemical or physico -chemical properties or handling, is liable to cause harm to human beings, other living creatures, plants, micro-organism, property or the environment;

 

Important Facts

  •          The act doesn’t mention about requirement of public participation.
  •          Section 3: Central Government shall have the power to take all such measures as it deems necessary or expedient for the purpose of protecting and improving the quality of the environment and preventing, controlling and abating environmental pollution.

 

 

Provisions

  • The Environment (Protection) Act was the first environmental legislation to give the Central Government authority to issue direct orders, included orders to close, prohibit or regulate any industry, operation or process or to stop or regulate the supply of
  • Act empowers the centre to “take all such measures as it deems necessary or expedient for the purpose of protecting and improving the quality of the environment and preventing, controlling and abating environmental pollution”.
  • Specifically, the Central Government is authorized to set new national standards for the quality of the environment (ambient standards) as well as standards for controlling emissions and effluent discharges; to regulate industrial locations, to prescribe procedures for managing hazardous substances; to establish safeguards preventing accidents, and to collect and dismantle information regarding environmental pollution.

 

Questions:

  • Consider the following statements:

The Environment Protection Act, 1986 empowers the Government of India to

  1. State the requirement of public participation in the process of environmental protection, and the procedure and manner in which it is sought.
  2. Lay down the standards for emission or discharge of environmental pollutants from various sources.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1.  1 only
  2. 2 only
  3.  Both 1 and 2
  4.  Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: B

 

The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act of 1974
  • (Under the Indian Constitution, Water is a state subject)
  • After the Stockholm conference on Human Environment in June, 1972, it was considered appropriate to have uniform law all over country for broad Environment problems endangering the health and safety of our people as well as of our flora and fauna
  • The Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 is the first enactment by the Parliament in this direction. This is also the first specific and comprehensive legislation institutionalizing simultaneously the regulatory agencies for controlling water pollution. The Pollution Control Board at the Centre and in the State came into being in terms of this Act.
  • AIM: Water Act 1974 aims to prevent and control water pollution.

 

Important Provisions Under The Act Are:

  • The Act vests regulatory authority in State Pollution Control Boards and empowers these Boards to establish and enforce effluent standards for factories discharging pollutants into water bodies.
  • A Central Pollution Control Board performs the same functions for Union Territories and formulate policies and coordinates activities of different State Boards.
  • The State Pollution Control Boards control sewage and industrial effluent discharges by approving, rejecting or impose conditions while granting consent to discharge.
  • The Act grants power to the Board to ensure compliance with the Act by including the power of entry for examination, testing of equipment and other purposes and power to take the sample for the purpose of analysis of water from any stream or well or sample of any sewage or trade effluents.
  • Prior to its amendment in 1988, enforcement under the Water Act was achieved through criminal prosecutions initiated by the Boards, and through applications to magistrates for injunctions to restrain polluters.
  • The 1988 amendment strengthened the Act’s implementation the pollution provisions.
  • Board may close a defaulting industrial plant or withdraw its supply of power or water by an administrative order; the penalties are more stringent, and a citizen’s suit provision supports the enforcement machinery.

 

AIR (PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF POLLUTION) ACT, 1981
  • The Act provides for the prevention, control and abatement of air pollution. It reflects the outcome of the Stockholm Conference on Human Environment, 1972, in which India played a significant part.
  • Jurisdiction: It extends to the whole of India.
  • Aim: To improve the quality of air and to prevent, control and abate air pollution in the country.

 

MAJOR PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT:

  • To enable an integrated approach to environmental problems, the Air Act expanded the authority of the central and state boards established under the Water Act, to include air pollution control.
  • States not having water pollution boards were required to set up air pollution boards.
  • Under the Air Act, all industries operating within designated air pollution control areas must obtain a “consent” (permit) from the State Boards.
  • The states are required to prescribe emission standards for industry and automobiles after consulting the central board and noting its ambient air quality standards.
  • Act granted power to the Board to ensure compliance with the Act including the power of entry for examination, testing of equipment and other purposes and power to take the sample for the purpose of analysis of air or emission from any chimney, fly ash or dust or any other outlet in such a manner as may be prescribed.
  • Prior to its amendment in 1987, the Air Act was enforced through mild court administered penalties on violations.
  • The 1987 amendment strengthened the enforcement machinery and introduced stiffer penalties. Now, the boards may close down a defaulting industrial plant or may stop its supply of electricity or water.
  • A board may also apply to the court to restrain emissions that exceed prescribed limits. Notably, the 1987 amendment introduced a citizen’s suit provision into the Air Act and extended the Act to include noise pollution
  • BIODIVERSITY ACT (also called Biological Diversity (BDA), 2002
  • On June 5, 1992, India signed the Convention on Biological Diversity at Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) which provides a framework for the sustainable management and conservation of our country’s natural resources.
  • Ten years later, the Biological Diversity Act was enacted in 2002 in order to conserve biodiversity, manage its sustainable use and enable fair and equitable sharing benefits arising out of the use of biological resources with the local communities.
  • Jurisdiction: It extends to the whole of India.

 

Functions and Powers of the National Biodiversity Authority

  • It shall be the duty of the National Biodiversity Authority to regulate activities by regulations and issue of guidelines for access to biological resources and for fair and equitable benefit sharing. The National Biodiversity Authority may-
  • Advise the Central Government on matters relating to the conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of its components and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of biological resources;
  • Advise the State Governments in the selection of areas of biodiversity importance to be notified as heritage sites and measures for the management of such heritage sites;
  • Perform such other functions as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act.
  • The National Biodiversity Authority may, on behalf of the Central Government, take any measures necessary to oppose the grant of intellectual property rights in any country outside India on any biological resource obtained from India or knowledge associated with such biological resource which is derived from India.

 

State Biodiversity Board:

  • The Biodiversity Act 2002 mandates each state to notify its State Biodiversity Board. We note here that there is no provision for a Biodiversity Board for a Union Territory because Union Territories have been placed under National Biodiversity Authority. Functions of State Biodiversity Board include:
  • To advise state governments on matters of biodiversity conservation
  • Regulate commercial use of bio-resources in the state by Indians.
  • Local People, who use the bioresources for local use.

 

Biodiversity Management Committee:

  • Biodiversity Management Committee is constituted by a local body within its area for the purpose of promoting conservation, sustainable use and documentation of biological diversity including preservation of habitats, conservation of land races, folk varieties and cultivars, domesticated stocks and breeds of animals and microorganisms and chronicling of knowledge relating to biological diversity.
  • The National Biodiversity Authority and the State Biodiversity Boards need to consult the Biodiversity Management Committees while taking any decision relating to the use of biological resources and knowledge within jurisdiction of the Biodiversity Management Committee.
  • The Biodiversity Management Committees may levy charges by way of collection fees from any person for accessing or collecting any biological resource for commercial purposes from areas falling within its territorial jurisdiction.

 

Biodiversity Heritage Sites:

  • Under Section 37 of Biological Diversity Act, 2002 the State Government in consultation with local bodies may notify in the official gazette, areas of biodiversity importance as Biodiversity Heritage Sites (BHS).
  • “Biodiversity Heritage Sites” (BHS) are well defined areas that are unique, ecologically fragile ecosystems – terrestrial, coastal and inland waters and marine having rich biodiversity comprising of any one or more of the following components:
  • richness of wild as well as domesticated species or intra-specific categories
  • high endemism
  • presence of rare and threatened species
  • keystone species
  • species of evolutionary significance
  • wild ancestors of domestic/cultivated species or their varieties
  • past pre-eminence of biological components represented by fossil beds and
  • Having significant cultural, ethical or aesthetic values and are important for the maintenance of cultural diversity, with or without a long history of human association with them.

Question:

How does biodiversity vary in India? How is the Biological Diversity Act,2002 helpful in conservation of flora and fauna? 2018

 

NATIONAL FOREST POLICY, 1988
  • The National Forest Policy 1988 aimed at the protection, conservation, regeneration and development of forests. The basic objectives that govern the National Forest Policy are the following:-
  • Maintenance of environmental stability through preservation and, where necessary, restoration of the ecological balance that has been adversely disturbed by serious depletion of the forests of the country.
  • Conserving the natural heritage of the country by preserving the remaining natural forests with the vast variety of flora and fauna, which represent the remarkable biological diversity and genetic resources of the country.
  • Checking soil erosion and denudation in the catchment areas of rivers, lakes, reservoirs in the interest of soil and water conservation, for mitigating food and droughts and for the retardation of siltation of reservoirs.
  • Checking the extension of sand-dunes in the desert areas of Rajasthan and along the coastal tracts.
  • Increasing substantially the forests/tree cover in the country through massive afforestation and social forestry programmes, especially on all denuded, degraded and unproductive lands.
  • Meeting the requirements of fuelwood, fodder, minor forest produce and small timber of the rural and tribal population.
  • Increasing the productivity of forests to meet essential national needs.
  • Encouraging efficient utilisation of forests produce and maximising substitution of wood.
  • Creating a massive people’s movement with the involvement of women, for achieving these objectives and to minimise pressure on existing forests.

 

Draft National Forest Policy, 2018:
  • The Ministry of Environment released the draft National Forest Policy in the year 2018. The basic thrust of the draft Policy is for conservation, protection, and management of forests along with addressing other issues associated with forest and forest management. The main provisions of the draft national forest policy, 2018 are:
  • The policy proposes to restrict schemes and projects which interfere with forests that cover steep slopes, catchments of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs, geologically unstable terrain and such other ecologically sensitive areas.
  • It also suggests setting up of two national-level bodies—National Community Forest Management Mission (CFM) and National Board of Forestry (NBF)—for better management of the country’s forests.
  • Public-Private Participation: The Draft policy stated that Public-private participation models will be developed for undertaking afforestation and reforestation activities in degraded forest areas and forest areas available with forest development corporations and outside forests
  • Harmonization of policies and Laws: The new draft also says efforts will be made to achieve harmonization between policies and laws like the Forest Rights Act (FRA) 2006
  • It also suggested for the strengthening of the participatory forest management approach for which a National Community Forest Management (CFM) Mission will be launched.
  • The Policy continues with the target of having 33% of India’s geographical area under forest and tree cover and in the hills and mountainous regions, the aim will be to maintain two-thirds of the area under forest and tree cover.
  • The policy also calls for “promotion of trees outside forests and urban greens”, while stating that it will be taken up in “mission mode”.
  • It emphasized on integrating climate change concerns into forest management while noting that forests acts as a natural sink of carbon dioxide thereby assisting in climate change mitigation.
  • Human-Wildlife Conflict: To tackle rising human-wildlife conflict, the draft outlined short-term and long-term actions.
  • Monitoring and management of the population of wildlife would be adopted on a long-term basis within and outside forests for maintaining the balance.

 

FORESTS RIGHTS ACT, 2006
  • The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, is a key piece of forest legislation passed in India on 18 December 2006.
  • It has also been called the Forest Rights Act, the Tribal Rights Act, the Tribal Bill, and the Tribal Land Act.

 

Genesis:

  • In the colonial era, the British diverted abundant forest wealth of the nation to meet their economic needs. While procedure for settlement of rights was provided under statutes such as the Indian Forest Act, 1927 these were hardly followed.
  • As a result, tribal and forest-dwelling communities, who had been living within the forests in harmony with the environment and the ecosystem, continued to live inside the forests in tenurial insecurity.

 

Importance of the Act:

  • The symbiotic relationship between forests and forest-dwelling communities found recognition in the National Forest Policy, 1988.
  • The policy called for the need to associate tribal people in the protection, regeneration and development of forests.
  • The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, was enacted to protect the marginalised socio-economic class of citizens and balance the right to environment with their right to life and livelihood.

 

Salient Features of the Act:

  • The act recognize and vest the forest rights and occupation in Forest land in forest Dwelling Scheduled Tribes (FDST) and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFD) who have been residing in such forests for generations.
  • The act also establishes the responsibilities and authority for sustainable use, conservation of biodiversity and maintenance of ecological balance of FDST and OTFD.
  • It strengthens the conservation regime of the forests while ensuring livelihood and food security of the FDST and OTFD.
  • It seeks to rectify colonial injustice to the FDST and OTFD who are integral to the very survival and sustainability of the forest ecosystem.

The act identify four types of rights:

Title rights:

  • It gives FDST and OTFD the right to ownership to land farmed by tribals or forest dwellers subject to a maximum of 4 hectares.
  • Ownership is only for land that is actually being cultivated by the concerned family and no new lands will be granted.

Forest management rights

  • It includes the right to protect, regenerate or conserve or manage any community forest resource which they have been traditionally protecting and conserving for sustainable use.

Use rights

  • The rights of the dwellers extend to extracting Minor Forest Produce, grazing areas, to pastoralist routes, etc.

Relief and development rights

  • To rehabilitation in case of illegal eviction or forced displacement and to basic amenities, subject to restrictions for forest protection.

 

Challenges

  • There is lack of coordination between the tribal, revenue and forest department on implementation of the Act.
  • Moreover, there is lack of recognition of Community Forest Resource rights. There is a huge resistance from the forest department to recognize CFR Rights and sharing of power with Gram Sabha for conservation and management of forest resources.
  • The Government approach towards forest is clearly reflected in the recently developed draft forest policy which is heavily tilted towards forest commercialisation,
  • The Forest Right act in conflict with other legislation like provision of Panchayats Extention to the schedule Area Act,1996 (PESA) and also with the Joint Forest Management practices.

 

Question

  • Under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, who shall be the authority to initiate the process for determining the nature and extent of individual or community forest rights or both?
    1. State Forest Department
    2. District Collector/Deputy Commissioner
    3. Tahsildar/Block Development Officer /Mandal Revenue Officer
    4. Gram Sabha

Answer: D

 

  • Consider the following statements:
    1. The definition of “Critical Wildlife Habitat” is incorporated in the Forest Rights Act, 2006.
    2. For the first time in India, Biogas has been given Habitat Rights.
    3. Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change officially decides and declares Habitat Rights for Primitive and Vulnerable Tribal Groups in any part of India.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Answer:A

 

  • Consider the following statements:
    1.  As per recent amendment to the Indian Forest Act, 1927, forest dwellers have the right to fell the bamboos grown on the forest areas.
    2.  As per the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, bamboo is a minor forest produce.
    3.  The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2003 allows ownership of minor forest produce to forest dwellers.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Answer: B

 

COASTAL REGULATION ZONE:
  • Under the Environment Protection Act, 1986 a notification was issued in February, 1991, for regulation of activities in the coastal area by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
  • As per the notification, the coastal land up to 500m from the High Tide Line (HTL) and a stage of 100m along banks of creeks, estuaries, backwater and rivers subject to tidal fluctuations, is called the Coastal Regulation Zone(CRZ).
  • Coastal Regulation Zones (CRZ) are the areas along the 7,500 km-long coastal stretch of India. Development of buildings, tourism infrastructure and other facilities is regulated in these areas by the Government of India.

 

Classification of Coastal Regulation Zones:

In 1991 Notification:

  • CRZ has four zones: CRZ- I (ecological sensitive), CRZ- II (built-up area), CRZ- III (Rural area), CRZ- IV (water area).
  • CRZ-1: These are ecologically sensitive areas which are essential in maintaining the ecosystem of the coasts. These include national parks/marine parks, sanctuaries, reserve forests, wildlife habitats, mangroves and corals/coral reefs. These areas are situated between the high and low tide lines.
  • CRZ-2: The areas that have already developed up till the shoreline of the coast are included in this zone. Construction of unauthorised structures is prohibited in this zone.
  • CRZ-3: Rural and urban localities that are relatively undisturbed and do not belong to the first two categories are included under CRZ-3. Only specific activities related to agriculture or some public facilities are allowed in this zone. It includes areas within municipal limits or in legally designated urban areas that are not substantially built-up.
  • CRZ-4: These areas include the coastal stretches in Lakshadweep, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and some other small islands, except those termed as CRZ-I, CRZ-II, or CRZ-III. These areas reside in the aquatic region up to the territorial limits. Activities such as fishing and other allied services are permitted in this zone. Releasing solid waste is prohibited on such land.

 

CRZ Notification 2011:

  • It widens the definition of CRZ to include the land area from HTL to 500 m on the landward side, as well as the land area between HTL to 100 m or width of the creek, whichever is less, on the landward side along tidal influenced water bodies connected to the sea.
  • The CRZ also includes, for the first time, water area up to 12 nautical miles in the sea and the entire water area of a tidal water body such as creek, river, estuary without imposing any restrictions of fishing activities.
  • The concept of a ‘hazard line’ has been introduced. While the notification stated that the hazard line will be demarcated by the MoEFCC through the Survey of India, by taking into account tides, waves, sea level rise and shoreline changes, this concept owes its introduction to the realisation of natural disasters such as tsunami and floods that may take place in this zone.
  • The concept of classification of CRZ into four zones has continued in the 2011 notification with the following delineation:
  • CRZ I- ecologically sensitive areas such as mangroves, coral reefs, salt marshes, turtle nesting ground and the inter-tidal zone.
  • CRZ II- areas close to the shoreline, and which have been developed.
  • CRZ III- Coastal areas that are not substantially built up, including rural coastal areas.
  • CRZ IV- water area from LTL to the limit of territorial waters of India
  • CRZ IV has been changed from the 1991 notification, which covered coastal stretches in the islands of Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshwadeep. The MOEF has issued a separate notification titled Island Protection Zone 2011 in relation to these areas.
  • A new category called areas requiring special consideration has been created which consists of (i) CRZ areas of Greater Mumbai, Kerala and Goa, and (ii) Critically vulnerable coastal areas such as Sunderbans.
  • Clearances for obtaining CRZ approval have been made time-bound. Further, for the first time, post-clearance monitoring of projects has been introduced in the form of the requirement to submit half-yearly compliance reports, which are to be displayed on the Ministry’s website.
  • With respect to the list of prohibited activities, one of the most important changes has been that of expanding the list of exceptions to the rule prohibiting setting up of new industries and expansion of existing industries. While the earlier exception was limited to those activities which required access to the water front, four other exceptions have been now incorporated which include:
  • Projects of Department of Atomic Energy;
  • Facilities for generating non-conventional energy sources and desalination plans, except for CRZ-I zones on a case-by-case basis after doing an impact assessment study;
  • Development of greenfield airport permitted only at Navi Mumbai; and
  • Reconstruction, repair works of dwelling units of local communities including fishers in accordance with local town and country planning regulations.
  • Another important aspect is the introduction of the Coastal Zone Management Plans, which will regulate coastal development activity and which are to be formulated by the State Governments or the administration of Union Territories.
  • The 2011 Notification also lists out certain measures that have to be taken to prevent pollution in the coastal areas/coastal waters.

 

Drawbacks of CRZ, 2011:

  • While the CRZ Notification 2011 has introduced several positive concepts seeking to protect the interest of the local traditional communities, it does have a few drawbacks namely:
  • Although the no-development zone of 200 metres from the HTL is reduced to 100 metres, the pro­vision has been made applicable to “traditional coastal communities, including fisher-folk”, thereby giving the chance for increased construction on the coast and higher pressure on coastal resources.
  • Disallowing Special Economic Zone (SEZ) projects in the CRZ.
  • There are no restrictions for expansion of housing for rural communities in CRZ III.

 

CRZ Notification, 2018:

Salient Features:

(i) Allowing FSI as per current norms in CRZ areas: As per CRZ, 2011 Notification, for CRZ-II (Urban) areas, Floor Space Index (FSI) or the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) had been frozen as per 1991 Development Control Regulation (DCR) levels. In the CRZ, 2018 Notification, it has been decided to de-freeze the same and permit FSI for construction projects, as prevailing on the date of the new Notification. This will enable redevelopment of these areas to meet the emerging needs.

(ii) Densely populated rural areas to be afforded greater opportunity for development: For CRZ-III (Rural) areas, two separate categories have now been stipulated as below:

(a) CRZ-III A – These are densely populated rural areas with a population density of 2161 per square kilometre as per 2011 Census. Such areas shall have a No Development Zone (NDZ) of 50 meters from the HTL as against 200 meters from the High Tide Line stipulated in the CRZ Notification, 2011 since such areas have similar characteristics as urban areas.

(b) CRZ-III B – Rural areas with population density of below 2161 per square kilometre as per 2011 Census. Such areas shall continue to have an NDZ of 200 meters from the HTL.

(iii) Tourism infrastructure for basic amenities to be promoted: Temporary tourism facilities such as shacks, toilet blocks, change rooms, drinking water facilities etc. have now been permitted in Beaches. Such temporary tourism facilities are also now permissible in the “No Development Zone” (NDZ) of the CRZ-III areas as per the Notification. However, a minimum distance of 10 m from HTL should be maintained for setting up of such facilities.

(iv) CRZ Clearances streamlined: The procedure for CRZ clearances has been streamlined. Only such projects/activities, which are located in the CRZ-I (Ecologically Sensitive Areas) and CRZ IV (area covered between Low Tide Line and 12 Nautical Miles seaward) shall be dealt with for CRZ clearance by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The powers for clearances with respect to CRZ-II and III have been delegated at the State level with necessary guidance.

(v) A No Development Zone (NDZ) of 20 meters has been stipulated for all Islands: For islands close to the main land coast and for all Backwater Islands in the main land, in wake of space limitations and unique geography of such regions, bringing uniformity in treatment of such regions, NDZ of 20 m has been stipulated.

(vi) All Ecologically Sensitive Areas have been accorded special importance: Specific guidelines related to their conservation and management plans have been drawn up as a part of the CRZ Notification.

(vii) Pollution abatement has been accorded special focus: In order to address pollution in Coastal areas treatment facilities have been made permissible activities in CRZ-I B area subject to necessary safeguards.

(viii) Defence and strategic projects have been accorded necessary dispensation.

 

COMPARISON OF CRZ RULES 2011 AND CRZ RULES 2018

 

CRZ 2011 CRZ 2018
CRZ III- Coastal areas that are not substantially built up, including rural coastal areas.- No Development Area upto 200 metres from High Tide Lane(HTL) Densely populated rural areas to be afforded greater opportunity for development: For CRZ-III (Rural) areas, two separate categories

1. CRZ-III(A) with population density of more than 2161, the NDZ is reduced to 50 meters from 200 metres from HTL

2. CRZ-III(B) with less than 2161, the NDZ is 200 meters from High Tide Line(HTL)

CRZ IV- water area from Low Tide Line(LTL) to the limit of territorial waters of India. Temporary tourism facilities have now been permitted in Beaches in the “No Development Zone” (NDZ) of the CRZ-III areas
As per CRZ, 2011 Notification, for CRZ-II (Urban) areas, Floor Space Index (FSI) or the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) had been frozen as per 1991 Development Control Regulation (DCR) levels. No Development Zone was free of any infrastructure development A No Development Zone (NDZ) of 20 meters has been stipulated for all Islands

 

Blue Flag Certification
  • Blue Flag Certification is accorded by an international agency “Foundation for Environment Education, Denmark” based on 33 stringent criteria in four major heads i.e.
  • Environmental Education and Information,
  • Bathing Water Quality,
  • Environment Management and Conservation and
  • Safety and Services on the beaches.
  • Note- Japan and South Korea are the only countries in South and southeastern Asia to have Blue Flag beaches.
  • News- Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has announced the first time eight beaches of India are recommended for the coveted International eco-label, the Blue flag certification.

 

ISLAND PROTECTION ZONE NOTIFICATION, 2011
  • There are about 500 islands in Andaman & Nicobar and about 30 in Lakshadweep. These two groups of islands are home to some of the country’s most thriving biodiversity hotspots.
  • The Andaman & Nicobar are known for their terrestrial and marine biodiversity including forest area which covers 85% of the Andaman & Nicobar geographical area, while, Lakshadweep is a coral island.
  • The geographical areas of these islands are so small that in most of the cases the 500 metres Coastal Regulation Zone regulations overlap.
  • Hence, a separate notification is being issued which takes into account the management of the entire island (except for four islands of A&N which include North Andaman, Middle Andaman, South Andaman and Great Nicobar).

 

The main objectives of the IPZ notification, 2011 are:

  • To ensure livelihood security to the fishing communities, tribals and other local communities living in the coastal areas.
  • To conserve and protect coastal stretches and
  • To promote development in a sustainable manner based on scientific principles, taking into account the dangers of natural hazards in the coastal areas and sea level rise due to global warming.

 

WETLANDS CONSERVATION & MANAGMENTS RULES
  • WETLANDS: According to the wetlands international, Wetlands occur where water meets land.
  • A wetland is a place where the land is covered by water, either salt, fresh water or somewhere in between Marshes and ponds, the edge of a lake or ocean, the delta at the mouth of a river, low-lying areas that frequently flood—all of these are wetlands.
  • Examples: mangroves, peatlands and marshes, rivers and lakes, deltas, floodplains and flooded forests, rice-fields, and even coral reefs.
  • Wetlands exist in every country and in every climatic zone, from the Polar Regions to the tropics, and from high altitudes to dry regions.
  • World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on 2nd February. This day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in Ramsar, Iran.

 

Wetlands Conservation Rules, 2010:

  • The Ministry of Environment and Forests has notified the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010. These Rules have been drafted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests to ensure better conservation and management and to prevent degradation of existing wetlands in India.
  • Wetlands are critical for human development and wellbeing, especially in India where a large number of people are dependent on them for drinking water, food and livelihood. Despite their immense importance, wetlands are one of the most degraded ecosystems globally.
  • Research suggests that over-exploitation of fish resources, discharge of industrial effluents, fertilizers and pesticides and uncontrolled siltation and weed infestation, among other reasons, have wiped out or severely damaged over 1/3rd of India’s wetlands.
  • Wetland conservation has been accorded a high priority in India. Since 1987, the National Wetlands Conservation Programme of India has been financially supporting wetland conservation activities all over India. Under the Programme 115 wetlands have been identified for conservation and management till date.
  • India is also a party to the Ramsar Convention under which 37 wetlands from India are included in the list of wetlands of international importance.
  • The Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010 is a positive step towards conservation of wetlands in India. This is the first time that legally enforceable Rules are being notified for such eco sensitive areas in our country.
  • Under the Rules, wetlands have been classified for better management and easier identification. Central Wetland Regulatory Authority has been set up to ensure proper implementation of the Rules and perform all functions for management of wetlands in India. Apart from necessary government representatives, the Authority shall have a number of expert members to ensure that wetland conservation is carried out in the best possible manner.

 

Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2019:

  • The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change notified guidelines for implementing the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2019.
  • The guidelines support the state/Union Territory (UT) administrations in the implementation of the Rules by providing guidance on various management and administrative matters for wetlands. The salient features of the guidelines are as follows:
  • Role of the Wetlands Authority: According to the Wetlands Rules, the Wetlands Authority within a state is the nodal authority for all wetland-specific authorities in a state/UT. Functions of this Authority include: (i) preparing a list of all wetlands in the state/UT and recommending wetlands for regulation under the Rules, (ii) developing a comprehensive list of activities to be regulated and permitted within the notified wetlands, and (iii) issuing necessary directions for the conservation and sustainable management of wetlands to the respective implementing agencies.
  • Prohibited activities: The guidelines provide a list of activities which are prohibited on wetlands. These include: (i) setting up any industry and expansion of existing industries, (ii) dumping solid waste or discharge of untreated wastes and effluents from industries and any human settlements, and (iii) encroachment or conversion for non-wetlands uses.
  • Integrated Management Plan: The guidelines recommend the state/UT administration to prepare a plan for the management of each notified wetland. The plan refers to a document which: (i) describes strategies and actions for use of the wetland, (ii) gives monitoring requirements for detecting changes in the ecological character of the wetland, and (iii) ensures compliance with regulatory frameworks and policy commitments.
  • Violations: The Wetlands Authorities are responsible for ensuring the enforcement of the Wetlands Rules and other relevant acts, rules and regulations. Undertaking any prohibited or regulated activities beyond the thresholds (defined by the state/UT administration) in the wetlands or its zone of influence will be deemed violations under the Wetlands Rules. Violation of the Rules will attract penalties as per the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

 

RAMSAR CONVENTION:

  • The Convention was signed on 2nd February 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar. This is where it gets its name from-The Ramsar Convention.
  • It is an intergovernmental environmental treaty that calls for international cooperation and national action to safeguard and sustainably use wetlands.
  • The official name for the convention is the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, especially as Waterfowl Habitat. It is the first and only global treaty for the conservation of a particular ecosystem.
  • 2nd February is celebrated as World Wetlands Day every year.
  • The Convention entered into force in 1975. As of 2019, it has 171 member states including India.
  • It is important to note that the Ramsar Convention is not legally bindinge. it has no punitive sanctions for violations upon treaty commitments. It is also not part of the United Nations and UNESCO system of environmental conventions and agreements.

 

NATIONAL ACTION PLAN ON CLIMATE CHANGE

 

Introduction:

  • Climate change is one of the most critical global challenges of our times. Recent events have emphatically demonstrated our growing vulnerability to climate change.
  • Climate change impacts will range from affecting agriculture – further endangering food security – to sea-level rise and the accelerated erosion of coastal zones, increasing intensity of natural disasters, species extinction, and the spread of vector-borne diseases.
  • The Action Plan was released on 30th June 2008. It effectively pulls together a number of the government’s existing national plans on water, renewable energy, energy efficiency agriculture and others – bundled with additional ones – into a set of eight missions.
  • The Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change is in charge of the overall implementation of the plan. The plan document elaborates on a unique approach to reduce the stress of climate change and uses the poverty-growth linkage to make its point.
  • Emphasizing the overriding priority of maintaining high economic growth rates to raise living standards, the plan “identifies measures that promote development objectives while also yielding co-benefits for addressing climate change effectively.

 

Principles of NAPCC:

  • Inclusive and sustainable development strategy to protect the poor.
  • Qualitative change in the method through which the national growth objectives will be achieved i.e. by enhancing ecological sustainability leading to further mitigation.
  • Cost effective strategies for end use demand side management.
  • Deployment of appropriate technologies for extensive and accelerated adaptation, and mitigation of green house gases.
  • Innovative market, regulatory and voluntary mechanisms to promote Sustainable Development.
  • Implementation through linkages with civil society, local governments and public-private partnerships.
  • International cooperation, transfer of technology and funding.
  • The core of the implementation of the Action plan are constituted by the following eight missions, that will be responsible for achieving the broad goals of adaptation and mitigation, as applicable.

 

Eight missions under National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC):

  • The NAPCC, prepared in 2008, was intended to serve as a road map on how India plans to combat climate change, uniting it with the country’s development concerns and the need to sustain economic growth.
  • There are 8 national missions forming the core of the NAPCC which represent multi-pronged, long term and integrated strategies for achieving key goals in climate change. These are-
  • National Solar Mission
  • National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency
  • National Mission on Sustainable Habitat
  • National Water Mission
  • National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem
  • National Mission for A Green India
  • National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture
  • National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change

 

Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM):

  • The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), or the National Solar Mission, is an initiative of the Government of India and State Governments to promote solar power in India. Inaugurated in January 2010, the JNNSM has been revised twice and now boasts a target of 100 GW of solar PV by 2022. It is governed by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
  • The objective of JNNSM is to establish India as a global leader in solar energy by creating the policy conditions for its deployment across the country. Each Phase is supported by differing key policies and targets.
  • Phase I (2010 – 2013):
  • Target for grid-connected PV (including rooftop) target: 1000 MW
  • Target for off-grid solar PV applications: 200 MW
  • Phase II (2014 – 2017):
  • Cumulative target for grid-connected solar PV (including rooftop): 4000 – 10000 MW
  • Target for off-grid solar PV applications: 1000 MW
  • Scheme for at least 25 solar parks (34 approved currently under Government) and the Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects to target 40 GW solar PV
  • 13th Plan (Phase III (2017 – 2022)):
  • Cumulative target for grid-connected solar PV (including rooftop): 100000 MW
  • Target for off-grid solar PV applications (as share of cumulative): 2000MW.

 

National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE):

 

  • The National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE) is one of the eight national missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC).
  • NMEEE aims to strengthen the market for energy efficiency through implementation of innovative business models in the energy efficiency sector.
  • NMEEE consist of four initiatives to enhance energy efficiency in energy intensive industries which are as follows:

 

National Mission For Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA):

  • The National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), which is one of the eight Missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) seeks to address issues regarding ‘Sustainable Agriculture’ in the context of risks associated with climate change by devising appropriate adaptation and mitigation strategies for ensuring food security, equitable access to food resources, enhancing livelihood opportunities and contributing to economic stability at the national level.
  • National Mission on Sustainable Habitat:
  • It plans to make urban areas more climate-friendly and less susceptible to climate change by a multi-pronged approach to mitigate and adapt to it.
  • It is governed by the Ministry of Urban Development.

 

Functions:

  • To create and adopt a more holistic approach for solid and liquid waste management, ensuring their full potential for energy generation (conversion of solid waste into energy), recycling, reusing and composting.
  • To encourage alternative transport systems and establish fuel efficiency standards and reduce fuel consumed per passenger travel by the provision of pedestrian pathways.
  • To provide for adoption and creation of alternative technologies mitigating climate change and to encourage community involvement for it.

 

National Water Mission:

  • It is governed by the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
  • It ensures better integrated water resource management leading to water conservation, less wastage, equitable distribution forming better policies.
  • It looks into the issues of groundwater and surface water management, domestic and industrial water management, improvement of water storage capacities and protection of wetlands.

 

National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem:

The National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem (NMSHE) is one of the eight missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC).

NMSHE is a multi-pronged, cross-cutting mission across various sectors. It contributes to the sustainable development of the country by enhancing the understanding of climate change, its likely impacts and adaptation actions required for the Himalayas- a region on which a significant proportion of India’s population depends for sustenance.

NMSHE seeks to facilitate formulation of appropriate policy measures and time-bound action programmes to sustain ecological resilience and ensure the continued provisions of key ecosystem services in the Himalayas.

NMSHE intends to evolve suitable management and policy measures for sustaining and safeguarding the Himalayan ecosystem along with developing capacities at the national level to continuously assess its health status.

 

National Mission for Green India:

  • Mission Objectives
  • Increased forest/tree cover on 5 m ha of forest/non-forest lands and improved quality of forest cover on another 5 m ha (a total of 10 m ha)
  • Improved ecosystem services including biodiversity, hydrological services, and carbon sequestration as a result of treatment of 10 m ha.
  • Increased forest-based livelihood income for 3 million forest-dependent households
  • Enhanced annual CO2 sequestration of 50-60 million tonnes by the year 2020

 

National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change:

  • National Mission for Strategic Knowledge on Climate Change is one of the eight missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change.
  • The Mission Aims to create a comprehensive knowledge system that informs and supports climate change action in India with the help of research and communication-based actions.

Objectives of the mission:

  • Formation of knowledge networks among the existing knowledge institutions engaged in research and development relating to climate science and facilitate data sharing and exchange through a suitable policy framework and institutional support
  • Establishment of global technology watch groups with institutional capacities to carry out research on risk minimized technology selection for developmental choices
  • Development of national capacity for modeling the regional impact of climate change on different ecological zones within the country for different seasons and living standards

 

NATIONAL WILDLIFE ACTION PLAN:
  • The first National Wildlife Action Plan (NWAP) was adopted in 1983, based upon the decision taken in the XV meeting of the Indian Board for Wildlife held in 1982.
  • The plan had outlined the strategies and action points for wildlife conservation which are still relevant.
  • In the meanwhile, however, some problems have become more acute and new concerns have become apparent, requiring a change in priorities.
  • Increased commercial use of natural resources, continued growth of human and livestock populations and changes in consumption patterns are causing greater demographic impacts. Biodiversity conservation has thus become a focus of interest.
  • The National Forest Policy was also formulated in 1988, giving primacy to conservation.
  • The first National Wildlife Action Plan (NWAP) of 1983 has been revised and the Wildlife Action Plan (2002-2016) has been adopted.

Key focus areas of this plan:

  • Wildlife health,
  • Conservation of the marine ecosystem,
  • Reduction of human-wildlife conflict,
  • Conservation of coastal ecosystem, and
  • Integration of climate change into wildlife planning.

 

3rd National Wildlife Action Plan:

 

  • The Third Wildlife Action Plan was drafted by a 12 member committee headed by JC Kala, a former secretary to MoEFCC.
  • The plan contains detailed recommendations to be practiced in protected areas.
  • The key focus areas of this plan are wildlife health, conservation of the marine ecosystem, reduction of human-wildlife conflict, conservation of coastal ecosystem, and integration of climate change into wildlife planning.
  • This is the first time that an action plan on wildlife is recognizing the impact of climate change on wildlife.
  • The plan focuses on integrating climate change mitigation actions into the wildlife management planning process.
  • It suggests planting along ecological gradients and assisted wildlife migration because climate change has caused the death of certain flora.
  • Special focus on habitat conservation in coastal, marine, and inland aquatic ecosystems and also the recovery of threatened species.
  • The plan talks about the issue of animal-human conflict and its impact on wildlife habitats such as its shrinkage, deterioration, and fragmentation.
  • Highlighting the importance of people’s participation in this regard, the plan encourages awareness of conservation, eco-development, education, training, and outreach programs for people.
  • It also suggests private sector participation in the wildlife conservation process.

 

GENETIC ENGINEERING APPRAISAL COMMITTE

 

  • Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) functions in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
  • The GEAC is the APEX BIOTECH REGULATORY BODY in India.
  • It is a STATUTORY BODY.
  • It is under the aegis of ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION ACT 1986.
  • As per Rules, 1989, it is responsible for appraisal of activities involving large scale use of hazardous microorganisms and recombinants in research and industrial production from the environmental angle.
  • The committee is also responsible for appraisal of proposals relating to release of genetically engineered (GE) organisms and products into the environment including experimental field trials.

 

FUNCTIONS OF GEAC:

  • The functions of GEAC as prescribed in the Rules 1989 are as follows:
  • To appraise activities involving large scale use of hazardous microorganisms and recombinants in research and industrial production from the environmental angle.
  • To appraise proposals relating to release of genetically engineered organisms and products into the environment including experimental field trials.
  • The committee or any persons authorized by it has powers to take punitive action under the Environment Protection Act.

 

COMPOSITION OF THE GEAC HAS BEEN PRESCRIBED IN RULES 1989

  • Chairman- Special Secretary/Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC); Co-Chairman – Representative of Department of Biotechnology.
  • Members: Representative of concerned Agencies and Departments, namely, Ministry of Industrial Development, Department of Biotechnology and the Department of Atomic Energy.
  • Expert members: Director General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research, Director General of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Director General of Health Services, Plant Protection Adviser, Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine and storage, Chairman, Central Pollution Control Board and three outside experts in individual capacity.
  • Member Secretary: An official of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC). The committee may co-opt other members/experts as necessary.

 

Question

  • The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee is constituted under the
  1.  Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006
  2.  Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999
  3.  Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
  4.  Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972

Answer: C

 

NATIONAL BAMBOO MISSION:
  • Bamboo is a versatile group of plants which is capable of providing ecological, economic and livelihood security to the people.
  • Bamboo is an integral part of our life and culture, as it is used in religious ceremonies, art and music.
  • Mizoram is said to be the Bamboo Queen of the country.
  • Till recently, it has remained confined to the forests (12.8% of forest cover); two third of the growing stock located in the North-Eastern States. Importance of the crop as a source of raw material for industrial and domestic use with its growing demand all over the country necessitated its cultivation in farm lands as well.
  • With a view to harness the potential of bamboo crop, Department of Agriculture & Cooperation (DAC), Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare is implementing a 100% Centrally Sponsored Scheme called Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) in which National Bamboo Mission (NBM) is being implemented as a sub scheme.
  • The Mission envisages promoting holistic growth of bamboo sector by adopting area-based, regionally differentiated strategy and to increase the area under bamboo cultivation and marketing.
  • Under the Mission, steps have been taken to increase the availability of quality planting material by supporting the setting up of new nurseries and strengthening of existing ones.
  • To address forward integration, the Mission is taking steps to strengthen marketing of bamboo products, especially those of handicraft items.

 

OBJECTIVES:

  • To promote the growth of the bamboo sector through as an area based regionally differentiated strategy;
  • To increase the coverage of area under bamboo in potential areas, with improved varieties to enhance yields;
  • To promote marketing of bamboo and bamboo based handicrafts;
  • To establish convergence and synergy among stake-holders for the development of bamboo;
  • To promote, develop and disseminate technologies through a seamless blend of traditional wisdom and modern scientific knowledge.
  • To generate employment opportunities for skilled and unskilled persons, especially unemployed youths.

 

Present scenario:

  • The NBM has now been extended till 2019-20. This extended mission aims at ensuring holistic development of the Bamboo Sector.
  • It aims at establishing an effective linkage between the industry and the producer. Approval has been granted by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) to set up an executive committee for the enlisting the guidelines of the National Bamboo Mission, including the norms for different interventions at certain intervals according to the needs and recommendations of the states, with the Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare Ministry’s approval.

 

Conclusion:

  • National Bamboo Mission was developed to promote the holistic growth of bamboo through adoption of the area-based regionally differentiated strategy.
  • It also aimed at increasing the bamboo cultivation in an area.
  • Under the NBM, several steps were taken to increase the availability of quality planting material. This initiative was taken through setting up of new nurseries and strengthening of the existing ones.
  • The National Bamboo Mission is also helping for strengthening the marketing of bamboo products, especially those of handicraft items.

 

KEY ELEMENTS OF NATIONAL BAMBOO MISSION:

  • Research and Development
  • Plantation infrastructure development
  • Production of Planting Material
  • Area expansion under Bamboo
  • Improvement of Existing Stock
  • Technology Transfer & HRD
  • Pest and disease management of bamboo
  • Creation of Water resources
  • Innovative Interventions
  • Post harvest storage and treatment facilities for bamboo
  • Establishment of marketing infrastructure

 

BENEFITS OF NATIONAL BAMBOO MISSION:

 

  • The scheme would, directly and indirectly, benefit the farmers, local artisans and associated people engaged in the bamboo sector, inclusive of the associated industries.
  • The scheme proposes to bring about one lakh hectares under plantation. Thereby benefiting close to one lakh farmers directly, in terms of the plantation.
  • The scheme would help in cutting down on the import of bamboo products and in enhancing the income of the farmers.
  • It creates a complete value chain for the growth of the bamboo sector.
  • Restructured National Bamboo Mission launched by the Government envisages promoting holistic growth of bamboo sector by adopting area-based, regionally differentiated strategy and to increase the area under bamboo cultivation and marketing.

 

FACTS:

  • World Bamboo Day (September 18) was celebrated to create awareness about the importance of bamboo as a versatile material for sustainable lifestyle.
  • The theme of World Bamboo Day 2018 is: bamboo as a tool for achieving economic and social sustainability.
  • It is also called ‘poor man’s timber’.
  • Though Madhya Pradesh has the largest area under bamboo forests, bamboo culture thrives in the North Eastern region.

 

ECOMARK:

 

  • Eco mark is a certification mark issued by the Bureau of Indian Standards to products conforming to a set of standards aimed at the least impact on the ecosystem. The marking scheme was started in 1991.
  • It is issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.
  • Products that meet the prescribed environmental criteria, as well as quality standards set by BIS, will be issued the ECOMARK label.
  • A national standard body BIS has been established under the BIS Act 2016 for the harmonious development of the activities of standardization, marking and quality certification of goods and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
  • JURISDICTION/EFFECTIVE: Whole of India.

 

FUNCTIONS OF ECOMARKS:

  • It provides safe reliable quality goods
  • It minimizes health hazards to consumers
  • It promotes exports and imports substitute
  • It controls over proliferation of varieties through:
  • Standardization
  • Certification and
  • Testing

 

NATIONAL CLEAN ENERGY FUND (NCEF):
  • It is a fund created in 2010-11 using the carbon tax – clean energy cess – for funding research and innovative projects in clean energy technologies of public sector or private sector entities, upto the extent of 40% of the total project cost.
  • Assistance is available as a loan or as a viability gap funding, as deemed fit by the Inter-Ministerial group, which decides on the merits of such projects.
  • The Fund is designed as a NON LAPSABLE FUND under Public Accounts.
  • The Fund has its secretariat in Department of Expenditure.
  • NCEF was created for funding research and innovative projects in clean energy.
  • MNRE schemes now can be funded if balances are available with the NCEF after financing projects approved by Inter Ministerial group. This may be done with the approval of Finance Minister.
  • FUNDING OF NCEF: The Fund has been created out of cess on coal produced / imported under the “polluter pays” principle.
  • USAGE OF FUND: For funding research and innovative projects in clean energy technologies of public sector or private sector entities, upto the extent of 40% of the total project cost.
  • FEATURES: Any project/scheme relating to Innovative methods to adapt to Clean Energy technology and Research & Development are eligible for funding under the NCEF.

 

 

COMPREHENSIVE ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION INDEX (CEPI):
  • Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) method, has been formulated in order to measure, understand, and take action on the polluters.
  • CEPI bridges the perceptive gap between experts, public, and government departments by simplifying the complexity of environmental issues.
  • It aims at categorising critically polluted industrial areas based on scientific criteria, so as to ascertain various dimensions of pollution.
  • This is a combined framework used to evaluate the impacts caused by industrial clusters on the nearby environment, as a numerical value.
  • CEPI was first developed by Central Pollution Control Board in collaboration with IIT Delhi in December 2009 and was later revised as CEPI 2016 by abolishing few subjective factorials.
  • The evaluated CEPI score reflects the environmental quality of the identified industrial clusters and is a yardstick to assess the progress achieved in the implementation of pollution mitigation measures.

 

GENESIS:

  • In 1989, CPCB for the first time identified 24 critically polluting areas (CPAS). It then rolled out a slew of measures to arrest the pollution levels.
  • In 2009, it came up with another CPA list, using the CEPI formula. By then, the number of industrial areas in the list had gone up to 43.
  • The new list also had 18 of the CPAs identified in 1989, suggesting things had worsened in the 20 years despite the anti-pollution measures.

 

NATIONAL ELECTRIC MOBILITY MISSION PLAN (NEMMP) 2020:
  • It is a National Mission document by Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises providing the vision and the roadmap for the faster adoption of electric vehicles and their manufacturing in the country.
  • This plan has been designed to enhance national fuel security, to provide affordable and environmentally friendly transportation and to enable the Indian automotive industry to achieve global manufacturing leadership.
  • As part of the NEMMP 2020, Department of Heavy Industry formulated a Scheme viz. Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India) Scheme in the year 2015 to promote manufacturing of electric and hybrid vehicle technology and to ensure sustainable growth of the same.
  • Target: There is an ambitious target to achieve 6-7 million sales of hybrid and electric vehicles year on year from 2020 onwards. Government aims to provide fiscal and monetary incentives to kick start this nascent technology.
  • The Phase-I of this Scheme (FAME I) was initially launched for a period of 2 years and was implemented through four focus areas:
    1. Demand Creation,
    2. Technology Platform,
    3.  Pilot Project and
    4. Charging Infrastructure.
  • FAME II o It was launched in March 2019 for a period of 3 years.The main objective of the scheme is to encourage faster adoption of electric and hybrid vehicle by way of offering upfront incentive on purchase of electric vehicles and also by establishing the necessary charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.
  • With the support from the Government, the cumulative sale is expected to reach 15-16 Million by 2020.

 

Other taken by the Government to promote electric mobility in the country are:

  • Under new GST regime, the rates of GST on Electric Vehicles has been kept in the lower bracket of 12% (with no Cess) as against the 28% GST rate with Cess up to 22% for conventional vehicles.
  • Ministry of Power has allowed sale of electricity as ‘service’ for charging of electric vehicles. This would provide a huge incentive to attract investments into charging infrastructure.
  • Ministry of Road Transport Highways issued notification regarding exemption of permit in case of battery operated vehicles.
  • Issue of Expression of Interest (EoI) for deployment of 5000 electric buses by State Transport Departments/Undertakings etc.
  • Policy has been proposed providing incentives for companies setting up recycling facilities for lithium ion batteries and makes it incumbent on producers to collect used batteries.

 

NATIONAL GREEN CORPS:
  • National Green Corps (NGC) popularly known as a programme of Ecoclubs is a nationwide initiative of the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India.
  • Motto: “Where there is Green, there is Prosperity”.
  • It was launched under the Environment Education Awareness and Training (EEAT).

 

OBJECTIVES:

  • To impart knowledge to school children, through hands-on experience, about their immediate environment, interactions within it and the problems therein.
  • To sensitize children to issues related to environment and development through field visits and demonstrations.
  • To promote logical and independent thinking among children so that they are able to make the right choices in a spirit of scientific inquiry.
  • To develop requisite skills of observation, experimentation, survey, recording, analysis and reasoning for conserving the environment through various activities.
  • To inculcate the proper attitude towards the environment and its conservation through community interactions.
  • To motivate and stimulate young minds by involving them in action projects related to environmental conservation.

 

METHODOLOGY:

  • The scheme is being operated through Eco-clubs of 50-60 students having interest in environment related issues, formed in member schools.
  • Eco clubs are supervised by a Teacher In-charge, who is selected from among the teachers of the member school.
  • State Steering Committee: For guidance, direction and to oversee the implementation of the scheme.
  • State Nodal Agency coordinates the implementation of the scheme in the State and organise related activities like training to Master Trainers.
  • District Implementation and Monitoring Committee: To supervise, organise training for In-charge teachers, and monitor periodically the implementation of scheme at the District level.
  • National Steering Committee will give overall direction to the programme and ensure linkages at all levels.

 

BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION AND RURAL LIVELIHOODS IMPROVEMENT PROJECT (BCRLIP):
  • It aims at conserving Biodiversity in selected landscapes, including wildlife protected areas/critical conservation areas while improving rural livelihoods through participatory approaches.
  • IMPLEMENTED BY: Forest/Wildlife Department of the respective State Government.
  • Project was negotiated with the World Bank on 2011.
  • Conservation and Survey Division in the Ministry of Environment & Forest would be overseeing and coordinating the Project at the country level.
  • PROJECT SCALE: Meghalaya, Gujarat, Uttaranchal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Ladakh.

 

OBJECTIVE:

  • BCRLIP is a project directed at strengthening conservation of biodiversity in six high-priority landscape sites of India. Enhancement of livelihoods for the marginalized sections of the inhabitant communities is seen a major plank of the strategy to aid biodiversity conservation.
  • The project is the first national level attempt at linking conservation and local livelihoods on landscape scale.
  • These landscapes encompass from high productivity and species-rich tropical evergreen forests to relatively low potential productivity and lower species-rich Rann and trans-Himalayan cold deserts.
  • Development of Joint Forest Management (JFM) and eco-development in some states are models of new approaches to provide benefits to both conservation and local communities
  • The project intends to build on these models and expand lessons to other globally significant sites in the country.
  • It will strengthen linkages between conservation and improving livelihoods of local communities that live in the neighborhood of biodiversity rich areas-as well as to enhance the local and national economy.

 

National Resource Efficiency Policy (NREP)
  • The Draft National Resource Efficiency Policy (NREP) envisions a future with environmentally sustainable and equitable economic growth, resource security, healthy environment (air, water and land), and restored ecosystems with rich ecology and biodiversity.
  • The Draft National Resource Efficiency Policy is guided by the principles of

(i) Reduction in primary resource consumption to ‘sustainable’ levels, in keeping with achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and staying within the planetary boundaries,

(ii) Creation of higher value with less material through resource efficient and circular approaches,

(iii) Waste minimization,

(iv)Material security, and creation of employment opportunities and business models beneficial to the cause of environment protection and restoration.

 

COMPENSATORY AFFORESTATION FUND MANAGEMENT AND PLANNING AUTHORITY

Introduction:

  • In India, Forest land can be diverted for non-forest purposes such as construction of dams, mining and other developmental activities only if the government permits.
  • To compensate for the losses incurred, the government made compensatory afforestation mandatory.

 

Compensatory Afforestation:

  • Whenever forest land is diverted for non-forest purposes, it is mandatory under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 that an equivalent area of non-forest land has to be taken up for compensatory afforestation.
  • In addition to this, funds for raising the forest are also to be imposed on whomsoever is undertaking the diversion.
  • The land chosen for afforestation, if viable, must be in close proximity of reserved or protected forest for ease of management by forest department.

 

Creation of Compensatory Afforestation Fund:

  • In 2002, the Supreme Court (SC) ordered that a Compensatory Afforestation Fund had to be created in which all the contributions towards compensatory afforestation and net present value of land had to be deposited.
  • This order was made in the case of TN Godhavarman Vs Union of India where the SC observed that a lot of funds received for compensatory afforestation remained unutilised with the states.
  • In April 2004, Ministry of Environment and Forests constituted Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) to overlook and manage the Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF) as directed by the SC. The authority was termed as the ‘custodian’ of the fund.
  • Further in 2009, the government ordered that State CAMPAs had to be set up to boost compensatory afforestation at state level and also manage Green India Fund.
  • Despite all these efforts, CAG report in 2013 revealed that the CAMPA funds remained unutilised.
  • Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act, 2016 came into force from 30 September 2018.
  • The Act established a National Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of India and State Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of each state.
  • The payments made for compensatory afforestation, net present value and others related to the project will be deposited in the fund.
  • The State Funds will receive 90% of the payments while National Fund will receive remaining 10%. These funds will be regulated by State and National CAMPA.
  • The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Rules were notified in August 2018. All states except Nagaland have set up state CAMPAs following this notification

 

Exceptions:

  • In April 2019, the Ministry of Environment notified that states which have a forest land of more than 75% of their geographical area need not provide non-forest land for compensatory afforestation.
  • Instead, land can be taken up in states with lesser forest cover. Further, it was also notified that the minimum area of compensatory land should be five hectares if the land is not contiguous to a forest.
  • As per 2019 State of Forest India report, states with more than 75% forest cover include the North Eastern states of Arunachal Pradesh (79%), Manipur (75%), Meghalaya (76%), Mizoram (85%), Nagaland (75%), and Andaman and Nicobar Islands (81%) and Lakshadweep (90%).
  • In terms of Recorded Forest Area, Manipur, Sikkim and Andaman and Nicobar Islands have more than 75% area categorised as forests.
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