Governance

As told to Parliament (August 6, 2021): 65 Zika virus cases reported in Kerala

All that was discussed in the Houses through the day  

 
By DTE Staff
Published: Friday 06 August 2021

Zika virus cases in Kerala

As on August 2, 2021, 65 Zika virus cases had been reported in Kerala. The district-wise breakup is as under:

Thiruvananthapuram: 61

Ernakulam: 2

Kottayam: 1

Kollam: 1

A multi-disciplinary central team visited Kerala from 10-21 July, 2021 to help the state health department in control and containment measures, Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare said.

National Clean Air Programme

At least Rs 376.5 crore has been released to non-attainment cities under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) for initiating actions such as expansion of monitoring network, source apportionment studies, construction and demolition waste management facilities, non-motorised transport infrastructure, green buffers, mechanical street sweepers, composting units etc, Bhupender Yadav, Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change said in the Lok Sabha.

According to the directives of the National Green Tribunal, the targets of NCAP have been revisited in the perspective of global scenario and the targets initially laid down are proposed to be retained till 2024.

The city action plan for improvement of air quality for NCAP cities has been prepared considering the directives of NGT. It has been approved by the expert committee constituted by NGT, Yadav said.

Violation of environmental norms by hydropower projects

No specific instance, wherein a hydropower project that was required to obtain Environmental Clearance (EC) had not done so, was reported.

However, cases of non-compliance of conditions stipulated in the EC were identified based on site inspection or six-monthly compliance report filed by the respective hydro- power project, Minister of State in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ashwini Kumar Choubey said in the Lok Sabha.

Development of vaccines against Delta variant

The Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, has provided support to industry and academia for the development of COVID-19 vaccines whereby different platforms of vaccine candidates would be developed.

All vaccines under development and manufacturing are also being studied for effectiveness against emerging ‘Variants of Concern’. The Department of Biotechnology has allocated approximately Rs 490 crore to support COVID-19 vaccines development efforts by Indian academia and industry, Bharati Pravin Pawar, Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.

Expansion of Talcher Thermal Power Station

Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) March 31, 2021 issued a notification to grant extension of timeline to Talcher thermal power plants for implementation of the new emission norms by December 2022, December 2023 and December 2024, Minister of state in MoEF&CC Ashwini Kr Choubey said in the Lok Sabha.

According to information available from Central Electricity Authority (Installed Capacity Report June 2021), all six units of Talcher Thermal Power Station (Total Capacity: 460 MW) have been retired April 1, 2021.

MoEF&CC had granted expansion in Environmental Clearance for installation of 2X660 MW (Stage-III) coal-based ultra-super critical thermal power project, near Talcher town, Tehsil sadar, Angul district, Odisha by NTPC Ltd on September 12, 2018, Choubey said.

Carbon-neutral zones in India

Keeping in mind the diversity across various states and districts of the country in the endowment of natural resources and in the nature of overall development of the economy, the Government of India does not envisage or expect carbon neutrality declarations and efforts by all states / Union territories and / or districts at the panchayat / village level, Choubey said.

Extreme rainfall events during monsoon

Several districts in the country have shown significant changes in the southwest monsoon and annual rainfall in the last 30 years.

Significant increasing trend has been observed over Saurashtra and Kutch, south-eastern parts of Rajasthan, northern parts of Tamil Nadu, northern parts of Andhra Pradesh and adjoining areas of southwest Odisha with regard to the frequency of heavy rainfall days, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Ministry of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Jitendra Singh, said.

Lightning strikes

Lightning strikes have shown an increasing trend over India in the past two decades. Northeast, east and parts of peninsular India have registered a sharp increase of lighting in the last 20 years. The increase has been minimal over central India and moderate over rest of the country, Singh said.

There was a 25 per cent increase in lightning strikes in 2020 compared to 2019. In 2021, there was a 10 per cent decrease in lightning strikes compared to the corresponding period of 2020, Singh said.

Protest against farm laws

Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar acknowledged that the Government was aware of the protests by farmers at the borders of Delhi against farm laws.

Some farmers’ unions had been agitating against newly enacted Farm Acts viz the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement On Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.  They wanted the three farm laws repealed, Tomar said.

The Union government engaged with the agitating farmers unions and 11 rounds of negotiating talks were held between to resolve the issues.

However, the unions did not agree to discuss the farm laws, he said, adding that the  government is open to discussion with farmers.

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