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Environment, Forest and Climate Change

 The Vision of this Ministry is to provide the citizens of India a clean, green and healthy environment with peoples’ participation and to support higher and inclusive economic growth through sustainable utilization of available natural resources.  This Ministry has achieved different milestones to plan, promote, co-ordinate and oversee the implementation of India’s environmental and forestry policies and programmes related to conservation of the country’s natural resources including its lakes and rivers, its biodiversity, forests and wildlife, ensuring the welfare of animals, and the prevention and abatement of pollution.  The major achievements during year 2021 are as follows: -

Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav:

Green Good Deed of the Week campaign: In order to commemorate the 75thyear of independence, the country is celebrating a 75 week-long “Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav”. An outreach programme for promoting sustainable lifestyle –“Green Good Deed of the Week” campaign is being organized as a part of this Mahotsav through Eco-clubs since 12th March 2021. State Nodal Agencies and Eco-clubs organized various activities to promote sustainable lifestyle like cleanliness/ plantation drives, painting/ slogan/ essay competitions, awareness on single-use plastics, awareness on environment-friendly ways of celebrating festivals, etc.

Iconic week celebration: The Iconic Week of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) as a part of the Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav was celebrated from 4th to 10thOctober, 2021. The major themes identified for activities of the week were lake/ wetland conservation, curbing of use of single-use plastics, wildlife conservation, forest conservation and coastal conservation. Activities like Green Pledge, webinars, promotion of Green Good Deeds and screening of videos on the identified themes were organized in schools/ colleges across the country in co-ordination with Department of School Education & Literacy and SNAs.

Swachhta Campaign from October 2 –November 1, 2021

  • The Swachhta Campaign was observed for one month starting from 2nd October – 1st November, 2021. During the campaign, a big number of files have been reviewed by the various divisions in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change which comes to a huge total of 45,154 files. Out of which around 41,758 files have been weeded out which has resulted in generation of paper waste of approximately 9 tonnes. A heavy duty shredder machine was specially brought to do the huge task. A revenue generation of Rs. 18 thousand has been generated out of the process of disposal of the waste generated by weeding of the files. A sufficient clear and open area in the Indira Prayavaran Bhawan appx 3000 sq.ft. has been reclaimed.
  • The Ministry has organised an auction of the e-Waste to dispose of all obsolete items including computers, printers, photocopiers and other electronic equipment. The e-waste bid has already been finalised at a price of Rs. 5.21 lakh to M/s. Clean Waste Management, Burari, Delhi. The shifting of e-waste material has been completed.
  • The Ministry has also organised an auction to dispose of all obsolete furniture items including tables, chairs, almirahs, side racks, sofa sets and other waste furniture items. The furniture waste bid has already been finalised at a price of Rs. 6.80 lakh to M/s Patel scrap.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The UN General Assembly in its 70th Session considered and adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and associated 169 targets for the next 15 years. The 17 SDGs came into force with effect from 1st January, 2016. Though not legally binding, the SDGs have become de facto international obligations and have potential to reorient domestic spending priorities of the countries during the decade ending 2030. The SDG 13, 15 and 12 have been mapped majorly to Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. Significant strides have been made in achieving SDG 13 (Urgent action to protect against Climate Change and its impact) as 24% reduction in emission intensity of GDP against 2005 levels has been achieved in 2016 itself. India has emphasized that Climate Finance from developed countries as promised in the Paris agreement is integral to achieve this goal. Similarly, country’s pledge on land degradation neutrality and intense afforestation are helping the country move towards SDG 15(Sustainable use of terrestrial Ecosystems and prevention of Biodiversity Loss). The commitment of the country in implementing the Extended Producer responsibility in plastics and ratification of Basel Convention to monitor hazardous substances is a remarkable step in moving towards SDG12 for ensuring sustainable production and consumption patterns. The 2030 Agenda also underscored that quality, reliable and disaggregated data will be needed for measurement of progress and to ensure that “No One is Left Behind”. MoEF&CC is strengthening its data systems for realistic monitoring of progress on the sustainable development goals.

Climate Change

As a responsible member of the International community of nations, the Government will continue to engage in a meaningful way with deliberations in the International fora/ UN climate summit duly keeping in mind the national developmental goals and priorities through the various international meets and at present India is a president of UNCCD.

  • Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change took part in the 26th Session of the Conference of Parties (COP-26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was held in Glasgow, United Kingdom for green net zero program The National Statement in the World Leaders Summit was delivered by the Hon’ble Prime Minister at COP-26, which the following mainly discussed and highlighted during the summit
    • India's non-fossil energy capacity to reach 500 GW by 2030
    • India will meet 50 per cent of its energy requirements with renewable energy by 2030.
    • India will reduce its total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes from now to 2030.
    • India will reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by 45 per cent by 2030, over 2005 levels.
    • By 2070, India will achieve the target of net zero emissions.
  • The transfer of climate finance and low-cost climate technologies have become more important for implementation of climate actions by the developing countries. The ambitions on climate finance by developed countries cannot remain the same as they were at the time of Paris Agreement in 2015 and the Indian Delegation led by Hon’ble Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change attending the COP Summit through multilateral negotiations with major countries for adoption of greener norms in the global scenario.
  • The Glasgow Climate Conference adopted decisions, which inter-alia, include adoption of an overarching decision titled “Glasgow Climate Pact” that stresses the urgency of enhancing ambition and action in relation to mitigation, adaptation and finance in this critical decade to address the gaps in the implementation of the goals of the Paris Agreement. The Glasgow Climate Pact also noted with deep regret that the goal of developed country Parties to mobilize jointly USD 100 billion per year by 2020 has not yet been met. The COP 26 outcome also include completion of work related to rules, procedures, and guidelines for the implementation of the Paris Agreement including that for cooperative approaches, mechanisms and non-market approaches referred to in Article 6, enhanced transparency framework, and common timeframes for Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and it was discussed with Ministers and Representatives from United Kingdom, Scotland, South Korea, Australia, BASIC countries, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, France, Canada, Brazil, USA, UAE, Germany, Norway, Singapore, Jamaica, Sweden, and Japan. Hon’ble Minister also held meetings with the Ministers of Like Minded Developing Countries and also with representatives from United Nations Environment Programme, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, and Green Climate Fund.
  • For strengthening impact, the Indian Delegation also participated in side events on the side-lines of COP 26 which include South Asia Co-operative Environment Programme, International Solar Alliance, CDRI, Leadership Group for Industry Transition and Namami Gange.

PARIVESH

In order to streamline the procedure for early grant of Clearances under this Ministry PARIVESH portal has been simplified for grant of Environmental Clearances which is now been reduced to 70 working days..

In pursuant to the spirit of ‘Digital India’ and capturing the essence of Minimum Government and Maximum Governance, a Single-Window Integrated Environmental Management System named PARIVESH (Pro-Active and Responsive facilitation by Interactive, Virtuous and Environmental Single Window Hub) has been developed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for complete online, expeditious and transparent system for environment, forest, wildlife and CRZ clearances in the country. The facility is operational for processing of applications for Environmental Clearances (ECs), Forest Clearances(FCs), Coastal Regulatory Zone Clearances (CRZ). Over the years, the existing system of ‘PARIVESH’ has undergone numerous modifications and customization in alignment with statutory provisions and requirements.

Ministry in recent times has automated various processes through PARIVESH such as development of online module in PARIVESH for dispensation for requirement of EC for expansion / modernization with no increase in pollution load, aligning the EIA Notification with MMDR Amendment Act 2021, Online generation of EC with unique identification number etc.

Due to the above initiatives along with other Policy reforms, the average time taken for grant of EC in all the sectors has reduced significantly from more than 150 days in 2019 to less than 90 days. In some of the sectors, the ECs are being granted even within 60 days also accordingly, ECs for 7787 projects was granted under EIA Notification in 2021.

Ministry has decided to upgrade the existing PARIVESH to provide a “single window” solution for administration of environmental regulations. Centralized Processing Centre (CPC) has been proposed to be set up in the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change. Upgraded PARIVESH will not only strengthen the clearance processes but also encourages ease of doing business in the country. Know Your Approval module with inbuilt decision rules in the envisaged system will guide the Users about the applicability of clearances to the proposed project activity. In addition, it will minimize repetitive efforts of the Users and the same time will ensure single version of the truth across all applicable clearances. Further, in the envisaged system redundancies in the process flow will be minimized to maximum extant.

DPR of the project proposal has been approved. Total time line for overall development of modules is 64 weeks, however modules for critical major clearance processes would be made live in 42 weeks from the date of on boarding of NIC's system integrator.

Nagar Van Yojana:

Ministery is implementing Nagar Van Yojana and revised its guidelines in October 2021 with an aim at developing 400 Nagar Vans and 200 Nagar Vatikas with the objective to significantly enhance the tree outside forests and green cover in cities leading to better environment, enhancement of biodiversity and ecological benefits to the urban and peri-urban areas apart from improving quality of life of city dwellers. The scheme will be funded from the National Fund under CAMPA at a total cost of Rs. 895.00 crore during the period 2020-21 to 2024-25.

School Nursery Yojana: Ministry is implementing School Nursery Yojana with an aim to associate students in the process of raising plantations as part of their learning and by providing an environment for the students to understand and appreciate the significance of plants in maintaining and sustaining the natural ecosystem. The scheme ‘School Nursery Yojana' is proposed to be implemented for the period of five years..

Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA)

The “National Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority” (National Authority) came into existence in place of the Ad-hoc CAMPA with effect from 30.09.2018; the day the Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF) Act, 2016 and CAF Rules, 2018 came into force. Hon’ble Minister, Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India is the chairperson of the Governing Body of the National Authority. The National Authority manages and utilises the “National Compensatory Afforestation Fund” (National Fund), which has been created under the public account of India. The other fund at the State/UT level is known as “State Compensatory Afforestation Fund” under the public accounts of respective States/UTs. CAF collected against approvals under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 is distributed in the ratio of 90:10 between the concerned State Fund and National Fund and are made available to the National Authority and respective State Authorities through budgetary process. Until 07.10.2021 funds amounting to Rs 6,63,63.12 crore was transferred from state specific bank accounts maintained at New Delhi to the public Account of India and Rs. 48,606.39 crore was disbursed from the National Fund to 32 States, who have created their public accounts and completed reconciliation.  Until now, twenty-eight schemes amounting to Rs 1329.78 crore has been approved from the National Fund. Similarly, Annual Plans of Operation (APOs) of 31 States/UTs worth Rs 9,926.48 crore have been approved from the respective State Fund during current financial year. The activities included in the APOs are mostly related to forestry and wildlife management.  At national level, achievement of compensatory afforestation (CA) in 9,06,583 Ha against the target of 10,63,031 ha is major achievements of CAMPA. The average survival percentage of CA has been reported to be 73 percent.

Wildlife

The project Dolphin and the project lion have been initiated and the associated environmental impact of this are also strengthen at the major sanctuary and forest areas for cleaner Environmental Protection of endangered species.

  • The Protected Area coverage in the country has been steadily increasing. The coverage of Protected Areas which was 4.90% of country’s geographical area in 2014 has now increased to 5.03%. This includes an increase in Protected Areas in the country from 740 with area of 1,61,081.62 sq.kms. in 2014 to present 981 with an area of 1,71,921 sq.kms.
  • Population of several species like Tiger, Asiatic Lion, Greater one Horned Rhinoceros, Asian elephants, etc. increased. Wildlife health is being addressed to aggressively monitor zoonotic diseases.
  • India has taken a leadership role in conservation of migratory birds along the Central Asian Flyway and had organized a two day workshop  in October 2021, with  Central Asian Flyway (CAF) Range countries on conservation of migratory birds along the Central Asian Flyway.
  • The Ministry has released ‘Guidelines for sustainable ecotourism in forest and wildlife areas-2021 in October 2021. These guidelines emphasise on participation of local community in ecotourism activities.

Biodiversity Conservation

India enacted the Biological Diversity (BD) Act in 2002, and notified the Rules in 2004, through an extensive consultative process initiated in 1994. India was one of the first few countries to have enacted such a comprehensive legislation on biodiversity.

The Act is implemented through a three-tier institutional mechanism, at national, state and local levels: The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) at the national level set up by the Government of India, State Biodiversity Boards set up by the State Governments at the State level, and Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) constituted by the elected bodies at the local level.

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will hold its second part of the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP 15) in Kunming, China in 2022 in which delegates will come together to adopt a “Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework”. The vision for proposed framework is that “By 2050, biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used, maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people. 2021 is viewed as a decisive year on biodiversity action. India joined High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People which calls for protecting at least 30 percent of world’s land and ocean by 2030 where India has already reported about 27% of area as conserved under Aichi Target 11 to CBD.

The Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021 is being introduced to simplify, streamline and reduce compliance burden in order to encourage conducive environment for collaborative research and investments, simplify patent application process, widen the scope of levying access and benefit sharing with local communities and for further conservation of biological resources, without compromising the objectives of United Nation Convention on Biological Diversity and its Nagoya Protocol and also national interests.'

National Biodiversity Authority

National Biodiversity Authority, a statutory body of the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change established to implement the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 has ensured that 28 State Biodiversity Boards, 8 Union Territory Biodiversity Councils and 2,76,156 Biodiversity Management Committees have been constituted in all local bodies to implement the provisions of the Act. NBA has accorded approvals for over 3000 applications to access biological resources and traditional knowledge for undertaking research, commercial utilization and patents. The BD Act envisages its implementation through consultation with local communities living in forest and rural areas. India is a leading country in issuing Internationally Recognized Certificate of Compliance (IRCC) which recognizes stakeholders for legally accessing biological resources. Till date, out of the 3297 IRCCs issued globally, 2339 IRCCs have been issued by India. Besides, 22 Biodiversity Heritage Sites have been notified by 12 State Governments and 159 plants and 175 animals have been notified as threatened species in 18 states and 2 Union Territories. Seventeen institutions of national importance have been recognized as national Repositories for preserving voucher specimens of biodiversity

Wetland

  • The number of Ramsar sites (Wetlands of International Importance) in India have increased to 47 covering an area of 10,90,230 hectares which include 21 new sites designated during 2019-2021. India has the largest number of Ramsar sites in South Asia.  A dedicated web portal for wetlands has been developed and was launched on 2nd October, 2021 (Gandhi Jayanti). The portal indianwetlands.in is a publicly available information and knowledge platform to facilitate knowledge sharing, information dissemination, host capacity building material, and provide a single-point access data repository.
  • Health cards prepared for 500 wetlands under the four pronged approach for conservation of wetlands.

Vienna Convention, Montreal Protocol to Protection of Ozone

The Ozone Cell of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is the national ozone unit for implementation of the Montreal Protocol in India and phase out of substances controlled under the Montreal Protocol.

After successfully phasing out chlorofluorocarbons, carbon tetrachloride, halons, methyl bromide and methyl chloroform for controlled uses, India is now phasing out hydrochlorofluorocarbons as per the accelerated phase out schedule of the Montreal Protocol

The Government of India ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down Hydrofluorocarbons on 27 September 2021 after approval by the Union Cabinet. Hydrofluorocarbons are used in air conditioners, refrigerators, aerosols, foams and other products, which even though do not deplete the stratospheric ozone layer, they have high global warming potential ranging from 12 to 14,000. As per the Kigali Amendment, to the Montreal Protocol, India will complete its phase down of Hydrofluorocarbons in 4 steps from 2032 onwards with cumulative reduction of 85% of production and consumption of HFCs by 2047. In line with the Cabinet decision, National Strategy in consultation with all the stakeholders will be developed by 2023 and funding for preparing the strategy has been secured from the Multilateral Fund

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has developed and launched the India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) during March 2019, to provide an integrated vision towards cooling across sectors encompassing inter alia reducing cooling demand, refrigerant transition, enhancing energy efficiency and better technology options with a 20-year time horizon. Space cooling in buildings being the most important and can significantly contribute to achieving the goals in the ICAP, has been prioritized for implementation of the recommendations given in the ICAP. Action points for implementation of the recommendations for Space Cooling in Buildings was finalized and launched on the World Ozone Day held on 16th September 2021 and widely disseminated

Following studies were completed as part of non-investment component of HCFC phase out Management Plan Stage-II (HPMP Stage-II)

a) Application of non-ODS and low GWP alternatives in Cold Chain Sector in India

b) Public Procurement Policies for Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Equipment Using Non-ODS based refrigerants

c) Good servicing practices and Energy efficiency in RAC sector

The above studies were published and launched on 16 September 2021 on the World Ozone Day and were widely disseminated

Preparation of Stage-III of HPMP has been initiated, to the implemented from 2023-2030, after securing funding from the Multilateral Fund for preparation of project proposal.

National Clean Air Program

Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) is implementing National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) for reducing levels of air pollution in non-attainment cities (NACs) of the country since January 2019. NCAP is implemented in targeted 132 cities.

A Commission on Air Quality Management in NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) has been constituted by enactment of an Act by Parliament for better coordination, research, identification and resolution of problems surrounding the air quality index and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Avoiding Use of Single Use Plastics and Efficient and Effective Management of Plastic Waste.

  • To enhance the efficacy implementation of PWMR, the Ministry has notified the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021 on 12th August 2021 which also prohibits identified single use plastic items, which have low utility and high littering potential, by 2022.
  • As per the notification, the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of 12 identified single-use plastic items including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene, commodities shall be prohibited with effect from the 1st of July, 2022.
  • The thickness of plastic carry bags has been increased from fifty microns to seventy-five microns with effect from 30th September, 2021, and to one hundred and twenty microns with effect from the 31st December, 2022.
  • The Ministry has organized “Awareness Campaign on Single Use Plastic – 2021”.
  • The States/UTs have been requested to constitute a Special Task Force under Chairpersonship of Chief Secretary/Administrator for elimination of single use plastics and effective implementation of Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. 31 Task Forces have been formed.
  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has notified the draft Regulations on the Extended Producer Responsibility for plastic packaging under Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, as amended from time to time on 6th October 2021 for public consultation.

Combating the Land Degradation, Desertification and Drought:

  • India committed to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality and restoration of 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030, which includes 21 million hectares of Bonn Challenge and additional commitment of 5 million hectares as voluntary commitment. India presently holds the Presidency of UNCCD COP for 2 years till April 2022.
  • Hon'ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi graced the High level Dialogue on desertification, land degradation and drought of United Nations General Assembly, held on 14th June 2021 highlighting the initiatives taken by India on combating Land Degradation.

Integrated Coastal Zone Management

Blue Economy is one of the thrust area of the Government for sustainable development of coastal resources. The development will in due consideration of Conservation & protection of coastal and marine resources, Pollution abatement measures, Management of coastal and Marine ecosystem, Livelihood enhancement with security of coastal community, Capacity building and will also comprehend Sustainable development goals.

10 beaches in 7 States and One Union Territory, have been developed at par with international Standards and has been conferred with prestigious Blue Flag certification for its environmentally sound management and ecological sustainable infrastructures with adequate safety measures. This has resulted in better waste management, maintaining bathing water quality, self-sustaining solar energy-based infrastructure, containing marine littering, enhancing local level livelihood options and increased tourist based economy.

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