1 . GANGA MISSION PLANS TURTLE SANCTUARY IN ALLAHABAD
SOURCE – HINDU
RELEVANCE – GS PRELIMS & GS MAINS PAPER III
- The marquee National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) will establish a turtle sanctuary in Allahabad, as part of efforts to protect the rich aquatic biodiversity of river Ganga from escalating anthropogenic pressures.
- The project at an estimated cost Rs. 1.34 crore would contribute to the sustenance of more than 2,000 aquatic species, including threatened gharials, dolphins and turtles in the Ganga.
- The Ganga and Yamuna at Allahabad are home to some of the most endangered fauna like turtles ( Batagur kachuga, Batagur dhongoka, Nilssonia gangetica, Chitra indica, Hardella thurjii etc.), the National Aquatic Animal — Gangetic dolphin (Platanista gangetica ), the Gharial ( Gavialis gangeticus ) and numerous migratory and resident birds.
- The government had planned such a sanctuary in Varanasi in 1989 under the Ganga Action Plan-I.
INITIATIVES FOR CONSERVATION OF GANGA
1.Ganga Action Plan Phase I & II
- Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi launched Phase I in 1985, covering 25 Ganga towns in three states; Rs 862.59 crore were spent.
- Phase II covered 59 towns in five states; Rs 505.31 cr were spent. Rivers such as Yamuna, Gomti, Damodar, Mahananda had separate action plans.
2.Mission Clean Ganga
- “Mission Clean Ganga” project started on 31 December 2009 with the objective that by 2020, no industrial waste would be released in the river without its treatment, with the total budget of around Rs.15,000 crore.
3 . Namami Gange Programme
- Namami Gange Programme, an integrated conservation mission, was approved as the flagship programme by the government in June 2014 with budget outlay of ₹20,000 crore to accomplish the twin objectives of effective abatement of pollution, conservation and rejuvenation of the Ganga.
4 . Clean Ganga Fund
- The Union Cabinet gave its approval for setting up of Clean Ganga Fund in September 2014 with the aim of utilising the collection for various activities under the Namami Gange programme for cleaning the Ganga.
5. National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)
- The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is the implementation wing of National Ganga Council which was set up in October 2016 under the River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Authorities order 2016.
- The order dissolved National Ganga River Basin Authority.
- The aim is to clean the Ganga and its tributaries in a comprehensive manner.
6 . Human Status
- In January 2017, the Uttarakhand High Court accorded status of ‘living entities’ to Ganga, Yamuna and its tributaries.
2 . PANEL ON WATER RESOURCES IN NORTHEAST
SOURCE – HINDU
RELEVANCE – GS PRELIMS
- The Vice-Chairman of the NITI Aayog will be heading a committee to study and offer suggestions on how to better utilise the water resources in the Northeastern region.
- The Committee would submit its report by June 2018.
- The committee would facilitate optimising benefits of appropriate water management in the form of hydro-electric power, agriculture, bio-diversity conservation, reduced flood damage erosion, inland water transport, forestry, fishery and eco-tourism.
3 . DRAFT NATIONAL ENERGY POLICY
SOURCE – HINDU
RELEVANCE – GS MAINS PAPER II & III
- NITI Aayog’s Draft National Energy Policy (DNEP) predicts that between now and 2040, there will be a quantum leap in the uptake of renewable energy together with a drastic reduction in fossil fuel energy intensity.
- Because of economic and population growth, India’s annual per-capita electricity consumption is expected to triple, from 1075 kWh in 2015-16 to over 2900 kWh in 2040.
- The DNEP assumes 100% electrification throughout India in the near term
- But the DNEP fails to consider several critical issues involved in the ongoing energy transition.
Based on coal
- Despite the fact that existing coal plants are running at low efficiencies, the DNEP relies on coal power to sustain the nation’s base load requirement to meet rising energy demand. It proposes that coal will fuel 67% of India’s power generation in 2022.
- The first anomaly is that while India claims it will make a big push for renewables, it will continue to rely on coal for its baseload generation.While renewables grow, coal power grows too. This duality is possible because India did not commit to any actual reductions in its greenhouse gas emissions at the Paris climate meeting in 2015.
- The second anomaly is that even with this target, India will need only 741 million tonnes of coal in 2022 and 876 million tonnes in 2027. But the Ministry of Coal continues to push its ambitious targets to raise coal production to 1.5 billion tonnes by 2020, of which 500 million tonnes is expected to be produced by private coal mines and about 1 billion tonne by the public sector.
- The DNEP does not say what would be the fate of new allottees of coal mines which have bid aggressively and won rights to mine coal for captive power generation. What would they do with their coal if they can’t generate power with it?
An electric future
- The DNEP fails to highlight the gradual substitution of internal combustion engines with electric vehicles. This transformation in the automobile sector could be accompanied by grid- and consumer-level electricity storage at homes, offices and factories. While storage and electric vehicles are mentioned, the DNEP does not focus on these crucial subjects.
- The DNEP acknowledges that India’s oil consumption has grown 63% from 2005 to 2016 whereas refining capacity has grown only 15%. Gas consumption has increased 38% while production has actually fallen since 2012. India’s energy security does require a large strategic storage of oil to take care of any vagaries in its international supply chain. India has been building up its stored reserves while international oil prices have dropped in the past couple of years. But the strategic storage of oil does not tackle the systemic causes of this high dependence on oil.
- The peaking of India’s oil demand could have been envisaged but has not been identified in the DNEP. On the one hand, the draft policy recognises that by 2040, India’s oil import dependence may reach 55% from the current level of 33%. On the other hand, it offers nothing to curtail such dependence. All that the DNEP offers is to promote use of public transportation and railways to reduce oil consumption. Unless electric transport is carefully planned, India’s dependence on imported oil is likely to continue.
- The drafting committees need to examine the paradigm shifts occurring in storage and electric vehicles to promote new technologies in renewable energy. Why has India missed the revolutions in these technologies? New institutions, organisations and funding mechanisms for promoting renewable technologies need to be created not later than this year’s end.
4 . TROPICAL STORM NATE POUNDS CENTRAL AMERICA
SOURCE – INDIAN EXPRESS
RELEVANCE – GS MAINS PAPER I & GS PRELIMS
- Tropical Storm Nate unleashed intense rainfall across much of Central America on Thursday, leaving at least three dead in Costa Rica and several missing in neighboring Nicaragua.
- Nate is expected to strengthen into a hurricane and make landfall on the Louisiana coast early Sunday.
- The storm had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (64 kmh).
- Since the hurricane season began in May, Honduras has been the region’s hardest hit country with at least 32 dead followed by Guatemala with 26 deaths.
5 . INDIA RICH LIST 2017
SOURCE – INDIAN EXPRESS
RELEVANCE – GS PRELIMS
- Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani has emerged as India’s wealthiest for the 10th straight year as his net worth swelled to $38 billion (nearly Rs 2.5 lakh crore) while the wealth of 100 richest rose by 26 per cent despite economic hiccups on Forbes magazine’s annual ‘India Rich List 2017’.
- Wipro’s Azim Premji was the distant second with a net worth of $19 billion, moving up two places from last year, while Sun Pharma’s Dilip Shanghvi slipped from his earlier second place to the ninth now ($12.1 billion) .
- Anil Ambani, Mukesh’s younger brother, was ranked much lower at 45th place with $3.15 billion. He was ranked 32nd in 2016 ($3.4 billion) and 29th a year before that.
- The Hinduja brothers are at the third position with $18.4 billion while Lakshmi Mittal is now ranked fourth ($16.5 billion) and Pallonji Mistry fifth ($16 billion).