Some important environment and development-related questions raised in Parliament this past week
Plantation of indigenous/native species needs to be encouraged since it has long-term impact on environment, according to "Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2015” tabled in the Rajya Sabha. Further, Green India Programme is a separate programme with its own budgetary allocation. The funds under compensatory afforestation are not meant to finance Green India Programme, says the report. It also called for facilitating relocation of people residing in critical wildlife habitats to achieve long-term conservation goals. Read more.
Minister of State for Agriculture Mohanbhai Kalyanjibhai Kundariya provided state-wise details on various crop insurance schemes such as National Agricultural Insurance Scheme along with data about farmers covered during 2014-15. Read more. A total amount of Rs 2,70,969.34 was collected as premium from farmers during 2014-15, according to details presented by Kundariya. He also gave details of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) approved recently and which will replace the existing schemes of National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) and Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (MNAIS) Read more.
In response to questions raised, environment minister Prakash Javadekar said an amount of Rs 7,92,27,282, Rs 7,25,83,500, Rs 5,87,78,462 and Rs 9,01,21,917 has been released to states and union territories, including metropolitan cities, for air quality monitoring under NAMP during 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16. Read more.
He stated that the Union government has taken a number of steps to control the increasing air pollution, but at present, it does not propose to make the use of CNG mandatory in all big cities with population more than one million. Read more. Javadekar presented key findings of a study by Indian Institute of Science (IISc) which showed that emissions from the domestic sector are higher than industries located in these cities. Read more.
Air quality data for 41 major cities for the year 2015 indicates that all the cities were within the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) of 50 μg/m3 in respect of SO2, 9 cities exceed the NAAQS of 40 μg/m3 in respect of NOx, 38 cities exceed NAAQS of 60 μg/m3 in respect of PM10, he stated. Read more.
The power ministry does not have any scheme called the National Rural Electrification Scheme (NRES). clarified power minister Piyush Goyal. However, the work of rural electrification is carried out under the Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY). Cumulatively, as on January 31, 2016, electrification work in 113,505 villages has been completed, he stated. Read more.
Amongst BRICS countries, India has the highest child mortality rate, said Union Minister of Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi. However, amongst SAARC member countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan have higher mortality rates than that of India, she said in response to a question. Read more.
The environment ministry has notified amendments in the EIA Notification, 2006, vide SO No. 141 (E) on January 15, 2016 for minor minerals with special focus on sustainable sand mining, said Javadekar. This notification has, for the first time, delegated the Authority of Environmental Clearance up to 5 hectares of individual mining lease of minor minerals and 25 hectares in clusters to the District Environment Impact Assessment Authority (DEIAA) headed by the district magistrate/district collector. Read more.
Minister Kundariya provided details of the measures taken by the government to provide adequate Minimum Support Price (MSP) for major crops in the country and the steps taken to protect small and marginal farmers. He also gave details about the Central assistance provided under the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) for natural calamities (drought, hailstorm, pest attack and cold wave/frost) to the states in 2015-16. Read more.
In response to another question, Kundariya said 10 states sought financial assistance in the wake of drought under NDRF during 2015-16 in comparison to 5 states during 2014-15 and provided details for the last three years. Read more.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.