In short

Published: Sunday 15 May 2005

monsoon forecast: India will receive normal monsoon rainfall in 2005, the Indian Meterological Department (IMD) predicted on April 20, 2005. Union science and technology minister Kapil Sibal said the exact date of the Southwest Monsoon hitting India's coast will be known in the second week of May 2005. "The IMD's operational long range forecast for the 2005 Southwest Monsoon season is that the rainfall for the country as a whole is likely to be 98 per cent of the long period average with an error of five per cent," he announced. IMD had erred majorly in 2004's monsoon forecast, in which it predicted 100 per cent of the long period average rainfall.

much-awaited rules: State governments may soon be in charge of granting environmental clearance for development projects, as the Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) is all set to decentralise the activity. The re-engineering of the process has been going on for over a year. MoEF had planned to issue a draft of the Revised Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) notification on April 15, 2005 and a final notification by July 2005, Prodipto Ghosh, secretary, MoEF, announced in March 2005. "The whole thing has been re-engineered," he had said. But the draft was not issued on the said date; a ministry official said on April 19, 2005 "it is yet to be finalised".

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