List of Contents
- What is Carbon Watch App?
- “Giant Leatherback Turtle” nesting sites threatened by Andamans development project
- PCRA launches ‘SAKSHAM’ campaign for green and clean energy awareness
- Government released Management Effectiveness Evaluation Report for protected areas
- Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of the Ecosystem Services (NCAVES) India Forum-2021
- First tiger translocation occurred in Uttarakhand
- Transport Ministry invites comments for introducing adoption of E20 fuel
- 12th GRIHA summit
- 5th India Water Impact Summit(IWIS)
- Minor Forest Produce (MFP)
- Minor Forest Produce
- Centre drops plan to bring in changes to Forest Act of 1927
- Forest Rights Act Case: What is at stake?
On this page, we will provide you with all updates and news related to the legislations that are linked to environment sections of UPSC examination:
Environment legislations and government initiatives in India updates/news
What is Carbon Watch App?
What is the news?
Chandigarh becomes the first state or Union Territory in India to launch Carbon Watch App. It is a mobile application to assess the carbon footprint of an individual.
About Carbon Watch App:
- The app allows users to assess their carbon footprint. It also suggests ways to reduce Carbon Footprint.
- Carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gas (especially carbon dioxide) released into the atmosphere by particular human activity.
- The application can be downloaded through a QR code in Android-supported smart cell phones.
How does the app work? When a person downloads the application, they will need to fill details in 4 parts:
- Water category: The person requires providing data about the consumption of water.
- Energy category: The person needs to enter the details regarding the electricity units consumed every month at the house.
- Waste category: The individual needs to inform about the waste generated by her/him and family.
- Transport Category: The individual will provide data about the mode of transport used i.e. – four-wheeler, two-wheeler, or bicycle.
Solutions provided by the Carbon Watch App:
- The mobile application will automatically calculate the carbon footprint of the individual and suggest ways to reduce it.
- For instance, if a user says they usually travel in a car, the app would suggest taking public transport or a bicycle.
- It will also provide information such as the national and world average of the emission.
Source: Indian Express
“Giant Leatherback Turtle” nesting sites threatened by Andamans development project
What is the News?
In the Andaman and Nicobar(A&N) Islands tourism and port development projects are under the proposal. However, it is threatening some of the most important nesting populations of the “Giant Leatherback turtle”.
Giant Leatherback turtle
- Giant Leatherback turtles are named for their shell. Their shells are leather-like rather than hard, like other turtles.
- They are the largest of the seven species of sea turtles on the planet and also the most long-ranging.
- Found in: They are found in all oceans except the Arctic and the Antarctic.
- IUCN Status: Vulnerable
- India’s Wildlife Protection Act,1972: Schedule I
- Nesting: In the Indian Ocean, their nesting sites are only in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
- Further, the surveys conducted in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are of the view that it could be among the most important colonies of the Leatherback globally.
- Uniqueness: Leatherbacks have been viewed as unique among extant reptiles. They are able to maintain high body temperatures using metabolically generated heat.
- Swimming Pattern: A project was set up at West Bay in A&N islands to monitor the leatherback turtle. It has been found that the numbers of females turtle nesting here are significant. After that, they swim towards the western coast of Australia and southwest towards the eastern coast of Africa.
- Nesting Beaches under Threat: At least three key nesting beaches are under threat due to mega-development plans. Two of these are on Little Andaman Island and one on Great Nicobar Island.
- NITI Aayog has set an ambitious tourism vision for Little Andaman. It also proposed a mega-shipment port at Galathea Bay on Great Nicobar Island.
- Tourism in Little Andaman: For the implementation of this plan, NITI Aayog has sought the de-reservation of over 200 sq km of pristine rainforest. And about 140 sq km of the Onge Tribal Reserve. These two sites are key nesting sites.
National Marine Turtle Action Plan:
- Released by: Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
- The plan notes that India has identified all its important sea turtle nesting habitats as ‘Important Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Areas’ and included them in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) – 1.
- South Bay and West Bay on Little Andaman and Galathea on Great Nicobar find a specific mention as “Important Marine Turtle Habitats in India”.
- The plan also identifies coastal development, including the construction of ports, jetties, resorts and industries, as major threats to turtle populations. It also asks for assessments of the environmental impact of marine and coastal development that may affect marine turtle populations and their habitats.
Source: The Hindu
PCRA launches ‘SAKSHAM’ campaign for green and clean energy awareness
News: Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) has launched a month-long campaign “SAKSHAM”.
- SAKSHAM: It is a people-centric fuel conservation mega campaign that aims to highlight the adverse health and environmental impacts of increasing carbon footprints. The idea is to convince consumers to switch to cleaner fuels and bring in behavioral change to use fossil fuel intelligently.
- Campaign: The campaign through various pan-India activities such as cyclothon, farmer workshops, seminars, painting competition, CNG vehicle driving contest will spread awareness among masses about the advantages of using clean fuels.
- Seven Key Drivers: The campaign will also spread awareness about 7 key drivers that the Prime Minister mentioned saying that collectively these would help India move towards cleaner energy.
- The key drivers include 1) moving towards a gas-based economy, 2) cleaner use of fossil fuels 3) greater reliance on domestic sources to drive biofuels 4) achieving renewable targets with the set deadlines 5) increased use of electric vehicles to decarbonize mobility 6)increased use of cleaner fuels like Hydrogen and 7) digital innovation across all energy systems.
- PCRA: It is a registered society set up under the aegis of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.
- Objective: As a non-profit organization, PCRA is a national government agency engaged in promoting energy efficiency in various sectors of the economy.
- Functions: It helps the government in proposing policies and strategies for petroleum conservation aimed at reducing excessive dependence of the country on oil requirements.
Government released Management Effectiveness Evaluation Report for protected areas
News: Union Environment Minister has released Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) of 146 National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.
What is Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE)?
- Management Effectiveness Evaluation(MEE) tool is increasingly being used by governments and international bodies to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the protected area management systems.
- It is defined as the assessment of how well National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries are being managed—primarily, whether they are protecting their values and achieving the goals and objectives agreed upon.
- Indicators: There are 30 ”Headline Indicators” developed under six elements of MEE framework suitable in Indian context for evaluation. The ratings are assigned in four categories, as Poor – upto 40%; Fair – 41 to 59%; Good – 60 to 74%; Very Good – 75% and above.
- What was the need of this tool? At present, India has a network of 903 protected areas covering about five per cent of the total geographic area of the country. India also has 70% of the global tiger population, 70% of Asiatic lions and more than 60% of leopards global population. Hence, in order to assess the efficacy of protected areas, evaluation of management effectiveness is required.
- The results of the present assessment are encouraging with an overall mean MEE score of 62.01% which is higher than the global mean of 56%.
- Jaldapara national park (West Bengal), Raiganj wildlife sanctuary (West Bengal), Sainj Wildlife Sanctuary (Himachal Pradesh), Tirthan wildlife sanctuary(Himachal Pradesh) and Great Himalayan national park (Himachal Pradesh) have been declared as top five national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India.
- Turtle Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh was the worst performer in the survey.
Other Initiatives launched:
- MEE of Marine Protected Areas: A new framework for MEE of Marine Protected Areas has been also jointly prepared by Wildlife Institute of India(WII) and Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).
- Management Effectiveness Evaluation of Indian Zoos(MEE-ZOO): It is a framework which proposes guidelines, criteria and indicators for evaluation of zoos of the country through Management Effectiveness Evaluation Process(MEE-ZOO) in a manner which is discrete, holistic and independent.
- The assessment criteria and indicators look beyond the traditional concepts including issues of animal welfare, husbandry and sustainability of resources and finance.
To read about Protected Areas(PA) Networks: https://blog.forumias.com/all-about-protected-area-networks/
Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of the Ecosystem Services (NCAVES) India Forum-2021
News: Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation(MoSPI) is organising the Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of the Ecosystem Services (NCAVES) India Forum-2021.
- NCAVES India Forum: It is being organized by MoSPI in collaboration with the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), European Union and UN Environment.
- Objectives: The objectives of the National Forum would be:
- To present India’s achievements in the domain of Natural Capital Accounting (NCA);
- To prioritize the emerging opportunities for NCA in India;
- To familiarize stakeholders with the work undertaken by the different international agencies in the area of NCA and
- To provide a platform to selected Research Institutions to present their research conducted in the valuation of ecosystem services.
What is NCAVES Project?
- The project has been launched by the United Nations Statistics Division, the United Nations Environment Programme, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the European Union.
- Aim: To assist the five participating partner countries, namely Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa, to advance the knowledge agenda on environmental-economic accounting, in particular ecosystem accounting.
- Funding and Duration: The project is funded by the European Union(EU) and will have a duration until the end of 2021.
- Implementation of Project in India: In India, the NCAVES project is being implemented by the MoSPI in close collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and the National Remote Sensing Centre(NRSC).
Significance of NCAVES Project for India:
- EnviStats India: The participation in the project has helped MOSPI commence the compilation of the Environment Accounts as per the UN-SEEA framework and release environmental accounts in its publication “EnviStats India” on an annual basis since 2018.
- India-EVL Tool: The project has also helped India develop the India-EVL Tool which is essentially a look-up tool giving a snapshot of the values of various ecosystem services in the different States of the country based on about 80 studies conducted across the country.
- An additional benefit of this tool is that it provides a critical view on the literature that is available and the applicability of estimates spatially across India according to bio-geographical areas.
First tiger translocation occurred in Uttarakhand
Source: The Indian Express
News: Rajaji Tiger Reserve is set to welcome the first tiger from Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve in the first such relocation in Uttarakhand aimed at tiger population management.
Why translocations of tigers needed?
- The western portion of the Rajaji Tiger Reserve, which occupies more than 60% of the total reserve area has only two tigresses presumed to be unfit for reproduction as they are above 18 years.
- Despite Rajaji having 37 tigers, the eastern part cannot boost numbers in the western portion as the two are divided by a traffic corridor which makes it difficult for the big cats to migrate.
- Hence, with this relocation, a rise in tiger numbers can be expected in the western part next year.
- Jim Corbett National Park: It was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park- the first national park in India.It is located in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand. The Corbett national park has highest tiger count from single reserve in the recent Tiger census(carried once in 4 years)
- The park was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1973- the first to come under the Project Tiger initiative.
- The tiger reserve is situated in the Shivalik hills of Himalayas while administratively it spreads over Pauri Garhwal, Nainital and Almora districts of Uttarakhand State in India.
- Rajaji National Park: It is a national park and tiger reserve that encompasses the Shivaliks, near the foothills of the Himalayas.
- It was declared as a tiger reserve in 2015 and is the second tiger reserve in the Uttarakhand and 48th Tiger Reserve of India.
- The park extends over the Shivalik Range in the north-west to the Rawasan River in the southeast with the Ganges dividing it into two parts.
- Some of the basic features of the Shivalik formations are to be seen in the park and is rightly known as a veritable storehouse of Shivalik biodiversity and ecosystems.
- The western part of the Park consists of the Ramgarh, Kansrao, Motichur, Hardwar, Dholkhand and Chillawali Ranges.
- Project Tiger: It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Government of India launched in 1973 for in-situ conservation of wild tigers in designated tiger reserves.
- Madhya Pradesh (526) has maximum tigers in our country followed by Karnataka (524) and Uttarakhand (442).
- Global Tiger Forum(GTF): It is the only inter-governmental international body established in 1993 with members from willing countries to embark on a global campaign to protect the Tiger. It is located in New Delhi, India.
- Global Tiger Initiative(GTI): It was launched in 2008 as a global alliance of governments, international organizations, civil society and the private sector with the aim of working together to save wild tigers from extinction. In 2013, the scope was broadened to include Snow Leopards.
Transport Ministry invites comments for introducing adoption of E20 fuel
Source: Click here
News: Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has published a notification seeking comments from the public for adoption of E20 fuel to promote green fuel like ethanol.
- E20 Fuel: It means blending 20% of ethanol with gasoline as an automotive fuel.
- Significance: The blending will help in reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons and will also help in reducing the oil import bill, thereby saving foreign exchange and boosting energy security.
- Ethanol: Ethanol having chemical formula of C2H5OH can be produced from crops like sugarcane, maize, wheat which have high starch content. In India, ethanol is mainly produced from sugarcane molasses by the fermentation process,Hence, since ethanol is produced from plants that harness the power of the sun, ethanol is also considered as green fuel.
12th GRIHA summit
Source: Click here
News: The Vice President of India has virtually inaugurated the 12th GRIHA (Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment) Summit.
- GRIHA Summit: It is the annual flagship event organized by GRIHA Council in association with key stakeholders in the construction industry to discuss and deliberate on furtherance of Sustainable Habitat Development in India.
- Theme: “Rejuvenating Resilient Habitats”
- Building Fitness Indicator(BFI): It is a self-assessment online tool launched by GRIHA Council to assess safety and hygiene standards for workplaces in India.
- Global Housing Technology Challenge India(GHTC-India): It was organised by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in 2019 with an aim to identify and mainstream best available and proven construction technologies that are sustainable, green and disaster-resilient to enable a paradigm shift in housing construction.
- GRIHA: It is an independent, not-for-profit society jointly setup by The Energy and Resources Institute(TERI) and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
- Purpose: It evaluates the environmental performance of a building holistically over its entire life cycle, based on quantitative and qualitative criteria, thereby providing a definitive standard for green buildings and sustainable habitats.
5th India Water Impact Summit(IWIS)
Source: Click here
News: The 5th India Water Impact Summit(IWIS) has commenced in a virtual mode.
- Organized by: The summit has been organised by the National Mission for Clean Ganga and Center for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies(cGanga).
- Objective: To bring together various stakeholders to discuss, debate and develop model solutions to some of the biggest water related issues in the country.
- Theme: “Arth Ganga: River Conservation Synchronised Development”
- NMCG: It is the implementation wing of National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection and Management of River Ganga (referred as National Ganga Council).It was established in the year 2011 as a registered society under Societies Registration Act,1860.
Minor Forest Produce (MFP)
Minor Forest Produce
News: Union Minister of State for Tribal Affairs has informed Lok Sabha about the Minor Forest Produce(MFP).
About Minor Forest Produce:
- Minor Forest Produce(MFP) is a subset of forest produce. The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act,2006 defines minor forest produce as all non-timber forest produce of plant origin.
- These include bamboo, brushwood, stumps, canes, cocoon, honey, waxes, Lac, tendu leaves, medicinal plants and herbs, roots among others.
About MSP for MFP scheme:
- The Minimum Support Price(MSP) for the MFP scheme was started by the Government of India in 2013 to ensure fair and remunerative prices to MFP gatherers. It is a Centrally Sponsored scheme.
Objectives: The scheme has been started with the following objectives:
- To provide a fair price to the MFP gatherers for the produce collected by them and enhance their income level
- To ensure sustainable harvesting of MFPs.
- The Scheme will have a huge social dividend for MFP gatherers, majority of whom are tribals.
- Ministry of Tribal Affairs,Government of India is the Nodal Ministry for implementation of the scheme.
- TRIFED acts as the Central Nodal Agency for implementation and monitoring of the scheme through State level implementing agencies.
- Further,the State designated agencies will undertake procurement of notified MFPs directly from MFP gatherers at haats notified procurement centers at grass root level at prefixed Minimum Support Price.
- MSP is the minimum price paid to farmers for procuring food crops.It is announced by the Government at the beginning of the sowing season.
- There are two objectives of the Minimum Support Price system (a)To prevent distress sale by the farmers in case of a bumper crop and (b)To procure the grains for public distribution by fair price shops.
- Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) was established in 1987.It functions under the administrative control of Ministry of Tribal affairs.
- The basic objective of the TRIFED is to provide good price to the products made or collected from the forest by the tribal people.
Centre drops plan to bring in changes to Forest Act of 1927
News: The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has withdrawn a draft amendment that proposed updates to the Indian Forest Act 1927. In March 2019, the government proposed the draft law called as Indian Forest Act, 2019.
Key features of Draft Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill of 2019
- Definition of Forests: It defines forest as any government or private or institutional land recorded or notified as forest/forest land in any government record and the lands managed by government/community as forest and mangroves. It also includes any land which the central or state government may by notification declare to be forest for the purpose of the Act.
- Definition of community: The amendment defines community as “a group of persons specified on the basis of government records living in a specific locality and in joint possession and enjoyment of common property resources, without regard to race, religion, caste, language and culture”
- New category of forest- Production Forests: forests with specific objectives for production of timber, pulp, pulpwood, firewood, non-timber forest produce, medicinal plants or any forest species to increase production in the country for a specified period.
- Forest development cess: It proposes a forest development cess of up to 10% of the assessed value of mining products removed from forests, and water used for irrigation or in industries. This amount would be deposited in a special fund and used for forest restoration, conservation and protection.
- Empowering Forest Bureaucracy:
- The bill brings in forest bureaucracy to manage “village forests” through joint forest management committee (JFMC).
- Forest Officers can issue search warrants, enter and investigate land within their jurisdiction
- Forests officers will get indemnity for using arms to prevent forest related offences.
- Forest officials will get powers to remove tribals from areas earmarked for conservation
Issue: According to activists, the amendment to Indian Forest Act undermine the rights of tribal as it empowers forest bureaucracy and would lead to conflicts during implementation, particularly when seen in the context of the Forest Rights Act, 2006.
The Indian Forest Act, 1927
- It was enacted after repealing Indian forest Act 1878 to ‘consolidate the law related to forest, the transit of forest produce, and the duty liable on timber and other forest produce’.
- The Act gave the Government and Forest Department the power to create Reserved Forests, and the right to use Reserved Forests for Government use alone.
Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
- It seeks to recognize forest rights of Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers who have been occupying and are dependent on the forest land for generations.
- It envisions the forest rights committee of a village as the central unit in managing forest resources.
Forest Rights Act Case: What is at stake?
- There were protests in districts with sizeable tribal populations. The protests took place over two issues- a) proposed amendments to the Indian Forest Act (IFA), 1927, and b) a Forest Rights Act (FRA) case that will be heard in the Supreme Court.
- In February 2019, the Supreme court had ordered the eviction of more than 10 lakh Scheduled Tribe and other forest-dwellers (OTFDs) households from forestlands across 21 states after their claims over forest land rights under the FRA, 2006 were rejected by states. Later, the SC had stayed its order.
- The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 seeks to recognize forest rights of Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers who have been occupying and are dependent on the forest land for generations. It envisions the forest rights committee of a village as the central unit in managing forest resources.
- In March 2019, the government proposed the draft law called as Indian Forest Act, 2019. The act is seeks to amend the Indian Forest Act, 1927.
- The draft law proposes greater policing powers to the Forest Department including the use of firearms, and veto power to override the FRA.
- According to the proposed act, village forests are defined as forestland or wasteland, which is the property of the government. It would be jointly managed by the community through the Joint Forest Management Committee or Gram Sabha.
- According to activists, the amendment to Indian Forest Act undermine the rights of tribal and experts would lead to conflicts during implementation, particularly when seen in the context of the Forest Rights Act, 2006.