Buildings are major contributors of GHGs, new buildings need to mandatorily go green and environment friendly

30.10.2020, New Delhi: The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu on 29th October said that it is time to consider making all new buildings to mandatorily go green and environment friendly. He suggested to the governments, Finance Commissions and local bodies to encourage green buildings by way of tax incentives and other measures.

Inaugurating the CII’s Green Building Congress 2020 through virtual mode, the Vice President emphasised that not only new buildings, but the existing buildings too should be retrofitted to make them environment-friendly by adopting green practices that promote energy efficiency and water conservation.

He termed the sustainable buildings as an important component in building resilient communities and called for extensive use and promotion of low carbon technologies. “We not only need a stronger India but also a greener India”, he added.

Drawing attention to the increasing number of extreme climate events such as droughts, floods, wildfires, Shri Naidu said that climate change is as real as daylight and countries all over the world must adopt drastic and revolutionary measures to mitigate the problem of global warming.

Calling for the sustainable approach to development, the Vice President said that the challenge before us is how do you marry both development and environment. “If we take care of nature, the nature in turn will take care of the mankind”, he said.

He stated that buildings and construction account for 39% of energy related CO2 emissions in the world and wanted the process of total de-carbonization of the built environment to be accelerated.

Describing the concept of green building, Shri Naidu said that apart from energy efficiency, it seeks to ensure water efficiency, use of renewable energy, promote waste reduction and encourage the use of environment-friendly local materials.

He emphasised that the construction material we use today should be sustainable and environment-friendly —it should not in any way jeopardize the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

The Vice President also highlighted the need to create awareness on the urgency of promoting green buildings concept among the people. In this regard, he advised India Green Building Council to launch a campaign for promoting ‘Net Zero Carbon Buildings’. He also wanted the urban planners and bodies like Builders Association of India, CREDAI to be involved in the campaign.

It may be noted that a net zero carbon building is highly energy efficient and fully powered by on-site and/ or off-site renewable energy sources.

Highlighting the pace of rapid urbanisation in the country, he opined that sustainable development should become a critical part of our nation building. It should be realized that it cannot be business as usual in regard to combating global warming, he added.

Mentioning the programs such as Smart Cities Mission and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) the Vice President said that main motto of Government of India is to make cities livable centers of growth.

He expressed happiness that India with over 7.61 Billion Sq.ft of green building footprint is amongst the top 5 countries in the world and lauded the role of all stakeholders in building a greener and healthier India.

Maintaining that India has the potential to lead the Global Green Building Movement, Shri Naidu said that there is a need for a concerted push on this front by both the private players and the government. He appreciated CII for working with State Governments and developers for the implementation of green concepts in affordable housing projects and urged the construction sector to work with the governments in building a greener, healthier and prosperous India.

Shri Naidu also complimented CII for developing ‘Guidelines for Combating COVID-19 in Green Buildings’ and said that the good work should continue and the Government and Industry should work together in achieving the country’s green mission.

Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, the Vice President said that India lives in its villages and if India has to grow, our villages have to be prosperous and should have access to all basic amenities like the urban areas. Going green in villages would mean access to hygiene, health, sanitation, energy, water and education, he said.

Shri Naidu expressed satisfaction over the CII initiatives for implementation of green measures in 24 villages in 11 states and wanted the CII to expand its foot print to more number of villages and states.

On this occasion, the Vice President also launched a coffee table book and Rating systems on Healthcare, Logistics and Net Zero Water. He also congratulated CII for its 125th anniversary.

Shri Jamshyd N Godrej, former President, CII and Chairman, CII-Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre, Shri V Suresh, Chairman, CII - Indian Green Building Council, Shri Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry, Shri Gurmit Singh Arora, Vice Chairman, CII - Indian Green Building Council, green building professionals, officials of CII, engineers, developers, builders and architects were among those who participated in the virtual event.

Jal Jeevan Mission in Kerala and Gujarat State

30.10.2020, New Delhi: The Ministry of Jal Shakti has been working with the States/ UTs to implement Union Government’s flagship programme Jal Jeevan Mission, which envisages provision of 55 litres of potable water per person per day through tap water connection to every rural home by 2024. The mission aims to improve the lives of rural people especially women and girls by reducing their drudgery. Funds are provided by Government of India based on the output in terms of household tap connections provided and the utilization of available central and matching State share. To take the program further, Kerala State officials presented the status of planning and implementation of the mission in the State before the National Jal Jeevan Mission through video conferencing.

Kerala is planning 100% tap water connections to all rural households by 2023-24. The State has around 67.15 lakh rural households, out of which 49.65 lakh households have not been provided with tap water connection. In 2020-21, the State is planning to enable 21.42 lakh households with tap water connections. The mid-term review highlighted the need for analysing the existing Piped Water Supply (PWS) schemes in 2,493 habitations, where not a single connection has been provided. It was also urged to examine schemes in 95 villages, where not a single tap connection has been provided. Kerala State has planned to provide safe drinking water to remaining 14 Fluoride affected habitations with population of 25,452 by December, 2020. The State was urged to pay undivided attention for universal coverage of aspirational districts; SC/ ST dominated villages, villages under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojna (SAGY).

The State of Gujarat is one such State that has been dealing with water issues due to its geographically arid conditions and the Jal Jeevan Mission is a potential boon for the masses in the region. Gujarat today presented its mid-term review to the National Jal Jeevan Mission officials who are in the process of reviewing the progress of the mission across the nation. Gujarat has plans to provide 100% tap connections by the year 2022-23. The total number of households in Gujarat are 93,02,583 with 35,996 habitations, 18,191 villages, 13,931 Gram Panchayats, 247 blocks and 33 districts. In the progress reported till date, the State has succeeded in giving 8,50,871 Functional Households Tap Connections (FHTC), which is 76.29 % of the given target.

Ethanol price hiked under Ethanol Blended Petrol Programme

29.10.2020, New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister has approved fixing higher ethanol price derived from different sugarcane based raw materials under the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme for the forthcoming sugar season 2020-21 during Ethanol Supply Year (ESY) 2020-21 from 1st December 2020 to 30th November 2021. With this, the price of ethanol from C heavy molasses route be increased from Rs.43.75 per lit to Rs.45.69 per litre, B heavy molasses route increased from Rs.54.27 per lit to Rs.57.61 per litre, and the price of ethanol from sugarcane juice / sugar / sugar syrup route be increased from Rs.59.48 per lit to Rs.62.65 per litre.

Additionally, GST and transportation charges will also be payable. OMCs have been advised to fix realistic transportation charges so that long distance transportation of ethanol is not disincentivised, In order to offer fair opportunity to the localized industry within the State and reduce crisscross movement of ethanol, Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) shall decide the criteria for priority of ethanol from various sources taking in account various factors like cost of transportation, availability, etc. This priority will limit to the excisable boundaries of the State / UT for production in that State / UT. Same order of preference will be given thereafter for import of ethanol from other States wherever required.

Government has been implementing Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme wherein OMCs sell petrol blended with ethanol up to 10%. This programme has been extended to whole of India except Union Territories of Andaman Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands with effect from 01st April, 2019 to promote the use of alternative and environment friendly fuels.

All distilleries are expected to take benefit of the scheme and large number of them are expected to supply ethanol for the EBP programme. It is also stated that the remunerative price to ethanol suppliers will help in reduction of cane farmer’s arrears, in the process contributing to minimizing difficulty of sugarcane farmers.

This intervention also seeks to reduce import dependence for energy requirements and give boost to agriculture sector.

Government has notified administered price of ethanol since 2014. For the first time during 2018, differential price of ethanol based on raw material utilized for ethanol production was announced by the Government. These decisions have significantly improved the supply of ethanol thereby ethanol procurement by Public Sector OMCs has increased from 38 crore litre in Ethanol Supply Year (ESY) 2013-14 to contracted over 195 crore litre in ESY 2019-20.

With a view to provide long term perspective to the stake holders, MoP&NG has published “Ethanol Procurement Policy on a long term basis under EBP Programme”. In line with this, OMCs have already completed the one time registration of ethanol suppliers. OMCs have further reduced the Security Deposit amount from 5% to 1% extending a benefit of around Rs. 400 Cr. to ethanol suppliers. OMCs have also reduced the applicable penalty on non-supplied quantity from earlier 5% to 1% extending a benefit of around Rs.35 Cr. to suppliers. All these would facilitate ease of doing business and achieve the objectives of Atmanirbhar Bharat initiatives.

Consistent surplus of sugar production is depressing sugar price. Consequently, sugarcane farmer’s dues have increased due to lower capability of sugar industry to pay the farmers. Government has taken many decisions for reduction of cane farmer’s dues.

With a view to limit sugar production in the Country and to increase domestic production of ethanol, Government has taken multiple steps including, allowing diversion of B heavy molasses, sugarcane juice, sugar and sugar syrup for ethanol production. As the Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of sugarcane and ex-mill price of sugar have undergone changes, there is a need to revise the ex-mill price of ethanol derived from different sugarcane based raw materials.

Increase of Ethanol price may have an impact on automotive users and may not be a good step in terms of air pollution.

CSIR-NCL develops DME-LPG blended a clean cooking fuel can ensure energy security for the nation: Dr. Harsh Vardhan

22.10.2020, New Delhi: The Union Minister of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan on 21st October 2020 inaugurated the Dimethyl ether (DME) fired “Aditi Urja Sanch” unit along with the DME-LPG blended fuel cylinders and handed them over for common public and CSIR-NCL canteen use on a trial basis at CSIR-NCL premises virtually through video-conferencing. National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) is a constituent laboratory of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). CSIR-NCL is a science and knowledge based research, development and consulting organization.

The Minister, in his address said, “The launch of this burner will also provide a significant boost to the 'Make in India' campaign as all the manufacturers of cylinders, gas stoves, regulators, and gas hose are domestic. This kind of activity may bridge the gap between demand and supply, and it can ensure energy security for the nation.”

DME is an ultra-clean fuel. CSIR-NCL has developed nation’s first kind of DME pilot plant with 20-24Kg/day capacity. The conventional LPG burner is not suitable for DME combustion as DME density is different than LPG. To address this issue, CSIR- NCL’s “ADITI URJA SANCH” has come up with a helpful, innovative setup. The new Burner is fully designed and fabricated by NCL for DME, DME -LPG blended mixtures and LPG combustion.

Salient features of newly designed Burner are: efficient for both DME and the blend of DME and LPG, flexible air ingress, the new nozzle design allows optimum oxygen ingress for combustion, the angles at which nozzles are placed maximize the heat transfer area across the utensils, optimum flame velocity can be obtained, length of the flame (high, low, and medium) can be adjusted by altering the oxygen ingress, and experiment shows that it increases the heat transfer rate as well.

Its efficiency trials and comparison with conventional burners have been done. Trial runs have demonstrated an improvement by 10-15 %, compared to conventional burners using LPG alone.

The research group led by Dr. T. Raja at Catalysis and Inorganic Chemistry Division, CSIR-NCL, Pune carried out research and found catalysts with higher yield, and stability for the ether formation and less tendency to produce carbon soot by-product. The DME project is moving on fast track mode from the laboratory to the market to ultimately reach people under the methanol economy and green sustainable fuel policy of the country. In the current phase, CSIR sponsored FTT/ FTC (Fast track Commercialization) project for the pilot plant demonstration has been sanctioned, and CSIR-NCL is in advanced discussion with various industry stakeholders.

A clean cooking fuel combination of DME-LPG also safeguards the well-being of women and children. The DME process technology is economical, cost-effective, and scalable with in-situ product purification as well as a heat integration unit that produces pure DME. This technology developed by CSIR-NCL at present has the capacity of 20-24 kg/ day DME production. It is to be scaled up to 0.5 Ton per day through the CSIR-FTC project. The DME pilot plant was inaugurated last year by Dr. Harsh Vardhan at CSIR-NCL.

The newly designed stove can burn with up to 30 % DME blended with LPG or 100% DME as fuel. The air to fuel ratio is different for DME blended fuel to achieve optimum combustion and thermal performance. A 20% DME blending with LPG, with fewer infrastructure changes, is expected to result in substantial savings annually. The DME from Methanol process developed by CSIR-NCL is producing 20-24 kg/ day. This economical, cost-effective process will be scaled up to 0.5 Ton per day through CSIR-FTC project. CSIR-NCL plans under “Aditi UrjaSanch” to launch in future industrial burners for low emission, DME/ DME blended fuel for automobiles and stationery power.

Dr. Shekhar C. Mande, DG-CSIR & Secretary, DSIR was present on the occasion. Prof. Ashwini Kumar Nangia, Director, CSIR-NCL, Pune; Dr. T. Raja, Principal Scientist, CSIR- NCL and others joined the event virtually.

With DSI & SOFA systems, NTPC Dadri strives to become the cleanest coal fired plant of India

19.10.2020, New Delhi: At a time when Delhi Government is demanding closure of all the 11 thermal power plants (TPPs) of the NCR, NTPC Dadri is striving to become the cleanest coal fired plant in the country. According to the Ministry of Power, Dadri plant is complying with all the the emission guidelines set by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). All the emission parameters are being monitored online and transmitted to CPCB on real time basis. As per a statement issued by NTPC Ltd, the PSU under Ministry of Power, the Flue gas emissions and Particulate Matters are well within the CPCB norms with high efficiency pollution control device Electrostatic Precipitators (ESP) in service in all the 4 nos. 210 MW & 2 nos. 490 MW units.

To reduce Sulfur Dioxide emission, Dry Sorbent Injection (DSI) system has been installed in 210 MW units for the first time in the country with technology from United Conveyor Corporation (UCC) , USA. Now, all the four units are meeting emission norms. FGD system is in advanced stage of implementation in 490 MW units by BHEL with technology from Mitsubishi Power Works, Japan.

All the 210 MW units were already compliant to emission norms against parameter Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx). In 490 MW units, SOFA (Separated Overfire Air) system has been installed and all the units now comply with the norms for NOx.

NTPC Dadri has also pioneered co-firing of Biomass pellets along with coal in the boilers. The pellets are made of husk or agro-residue which would have been burnt otherwise in the fields increasing the pollution in NCR region. More than 8000 Tons of pellets have been fired in the boilers of NTPC Dadri, which is equivalent to almost 4000 acres of farm fire avoided.

NTPC Dadri has set new benchmarks in Water consumption, going beyond compliances, by implementing Zero liquid discharge system, and Rain water harvesting system.

NTPC’s efforts in leading the energy transition to a decentralised, decarbonised and digitalised energy. It provides broad framework for the company’s priorities to meet the challenges in Decarbonisation & Air emissions control, Water & Biodiversity Conservation, Circular Economy, Health and Safety, Community Development, Strong Finance & Ethics and Sustainable Supply Chain.

As part of its commitment towards the environment, NTPC has undertaken a many ‘firsts’ for the sector. NTPC is working towards utilising agro residue for power generation to discourage in-field crop residue burning. NTPC is also striving hard to install sulphur dioxide-reducing technology flue-gas desulphurisation (FGD) at all its plants across the country. NTPC is also working towards various waste to energy projects for a sustainable environment.

NTPC is also taking every possible step to make its energy portfolio greener by adding significant capacities of Renewable Energy (RE) Sources. By 2032, the company plans to have a minimum of 32000 MW capacity through RE sources constituting nearly 25% of its overall power generation capacity.

Jal Jeevan Mission: Grand ICT Challenge to harness vibrant ‘Internet of Things’ receives impressive response

19.10.2020, New Delhi: Water Quality Monitoring is important for a healthy and progressive society. Jal Jeevan Mission aims at providing Functional Household Tap Connection (FHTC) to every rural household by 2024 of adequate quantity and of prescribed quality. National Jal Jeevan Mission in partnership with Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) had launched an ICT Grand Challenge to create innovative, modular, and cost-effective solution to develop a ‘Smart Water Supply Measurement and Monitoring System’ to be deployed at the village level. The last date was 12 October 2020. A total of 213 proposal from various Indian Tech start-ups, MSMEs, Indian Companies, Indian LLPs have been received which will now be scrutinized by a jury committee appointed by MEITY and select the proposals. The ambitious mission focuses on service delivery rather than mere creation of infrastructure. This kind of technological challenge offers a great opportunity to ensure long-term sustainability of water supply systems in rural areas.

This grand challenge will harness the vibrant IoT eco-systems of India for creating smart rural water supply eco-system to measure and monitor the service delivery of the water supply in rural areas. This challenge will provide opportunity to work for casue of Jal Jeevan Mission and to assure potable water supply through functional household tap connection to every rural household of the country.

The Grand challenge will provide support at ideation Stage, prototype development stage, deployment stage. The pilot will be conducted in100 villages. The best solution will get cash prize of Rs. 50 Lakh and runner ups will get prize of Rs. 20 Lakh each.The successful developers will be given an opportunity to join the MeitYsupported incubator for further nurturing of the solution. This will boost the idea and thrust of intiatives like Atmanirbhar Bharat, Digital India and Make in India.

Union Government’s flagship programme- Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) is being implemented in partnership with States for providing Functional Household Tapwater Connection (FHTC) to every rural household by 2024. The programme focuses on service delivery at the household level, i.e. water supply regularly in adequate quantity and of prescribed quality, on long-term basis. This necessitates the use of modern technology in systematic monitoring of the programme and to capture service delivery data automatically for ensuring the quality of services. Digitisation of water supply infrastructure has the potential to solve some of the biggest societal problems facing the nation. More importantly, it will help anticipate and address future challenges.

95% of Air Pollution in Delhi due to local factors, only 4% by Stubble burning as on today: Prakash Javadekar

15.10.2020, New Delhi: In order to step up efforts to ensure better air quality, 50 teams of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) will be deployed to make extensive field visits from 15th October 2020 to 28th February 2021.

Addressing the nodal officers of the teams in New Delhi today, Union Environment Minister, Prakash Javadekar said that during the current times of COVID the members of the team are no less than Corona Warriors as they will be visiting and giving feedback from the ground, which will help in mitigating Air pollution.

The Union Minister said that around 95% of the pollution in the city, is due to local factors like dust, construction and biomass burning and the share of stubble burning is only around 4 to 5% as on date.

Javadekar congratulated the teams and expressed his best wishes. The teams will visit Delhi and NCR towns - Noida, Ghaziabad, Meerut in Uttar Pradesh; Gurugram, Faridabad, Ballabgarh, Jhajjar, Panipat, Sonepat in Haryana; and Bhiwadi, Alwar, Bharatpur in Rajasthan. These teams will specifically focus on hotspot areas where the problem is aggravated.

On spot reporting of major air polluting sources such as major construction activities without proper control measures, dumping of garbage & construction waste alongside the roads and on open plots, unpaved roads, open burning of garbage/industrial waste, etc. will be done using SAMEER App.

Feedback on polluting activities will be shared with concerned agencies through an automated system, for quick action. Details will also be shared with State Governments. This will help in taking timely actions and monitoring at appropriate levels by the concerned agencies.

A Central Control Room at CPCB Head Quarters has been made functional for keeping track of pollution levels on hour to hour basis and overall coordination with State agencies. In addition, district wise nodal officers have been appointed for better management and coordination with teams.

Air quality in winter season is a major environmental concern in Delhi and NCR region. Various efforts are being taken since past five years for air quality management in the region. Although gradual year on year improvement in air quality has been observed, a lot needs to be done.

MoEF&CC lists measures taken by Union Govt. as Delhi’s Dy. CM says Central Govt.’s failure in handling North India’s Air Pollution

14.10.2020, New Delhi: As Delhi Air Pollution is becoming fast becoming a matter of concern, an Official Spokesperson from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) stated that the Central Govt. believes in working to end pollution.

On 13th October 2020, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia expressed his concern over increasing pollution across Northern India due to stubble burning. Sisodia said, “This year, due to the Corona crisis, stubble pollution is very deadly. The Central Government has completely failed to save North India from pollution.”

In a press conference held at the Media Center of the Delhi Secretariat, Deputy Chief Minister pointed out that the smoke of crop burning from neighbouring states has started showing its effect this time also.

Stating that Delhi Government is continuously making efforts to stop pollution throughout the year, Sisodia mentioned a number of measures taken by Delhi Government and demanded immediate concrete steps from the Central Government to stop pollution in North India.

Ostensibly, it reply to Delhi Govt., Official Spokesperson of MoEF&CC, said the Union Govt. has taken various anti air pollution initiatives in the last 6 years. A major step towards curbing Delhi Air Pollution is the construction of Eastern and Western peripheral expressways, which has reduced pollution by preventing 60000 undestined Heavy Vehicles (trucks) passing through Delhi every day.

MoEF&CC stated that in addition to implementation of Vapour Recovery System in all retail outlets of petrol and diesel in NCR, the introduction of BS-VI standard compliant vehicles and fuel, with the investment of Rs. 65000 crore, which has resulted in controlling vehicular pollution to a great extent. Further, infrastructure was created to provide piped natural gas (PNG) fuel to industries. 2600 NCR industries have been brought on PNG.

It was also informed that stubble cutting machines worth Rs. 1400 crore have been provided to Punjab and Haryana farmers. MoEF&CC stated that this has resulted in reduction of about 15% and 20% pollution from stubble burning, respectively.

Other measures were provision of hundreds of dust suppressants and water sprinkling vehicles have been provided by Delhi Development AUthority (DDA), adoption of zig-zag technology in 2800 brick klins in NCR and introduction of Construction and Demolition Waste Management rules, for the first time in 2016, has also helped to attain lesser air pollution in Delhi and NCR. MoEF&CC official informed that 3 factories produce roadside tiles and dividers from the construction waste.

MoEF&CC also claimed closure of Badarpur Power Plant, as a step towards direct reduction of air pollution. Maintaining a silence on other power plants operating in the neighbouring states of Delhi, MoEF&CC stated that 3 power plants are producing 57 MW of electricity from processing of waste in Delhi.

Jal Jeevan Mission: Haryana Government's Lab on wheels!

12.10.2020, New Delhi: The supply of clean and safe water is essential for public health therefore, ensuring supply of water along with regular testing is imperative. The Jal Jeevan Mission of the Ministry of Jal Shakti aims to provide tap water connection to every rural home by 2024. The work under this mission is being done on war footing and the mission gives a lot of emphasis on water quality surveillance and monitoring. Taking cognizance of the pressing need for water testing, Govt. of Haryana has come up with a novel approach by launching a State of the Art Mobile Water Testing Laboratory Van, fully equipped with multi-parameter system containing analyzers/ sensor/ probes/ instruments meant for water testing. Water Quality in State of Haryana is mainly affected by constituents like total dissolved solids (TDS), Fluoride, nitrate, iron and alkalinity.

This mobile water testing lab van has been uniquely designed and fully loaded with latest technologies and features. It is GPS enabled for location tracking and the analyzed sample data can be transmitted to a centralized PHED server via GPRS/ 3G connectivity with power backup. It also provides On-site recording and reporting of results through a smart phone or similar device with the ability to send results direct to a web based secure central server. This mobile van also has a fully automated sensor-based analysis controlled by centrally commanded software. The LED display unit in the mobile lab gives an instant display of the results immediately after analysis.

Needless to say, this mobile water testing laboratory will be an effective mode of surveillance of drinking water quality in rural areas of the State. The lab is capable of measuring different water quality parameters like pH, alkalinity, TDS, hardness, residual chlorine, zinc, nitrite, Fluoride, turbidity and micro-biological test of water samples. This mobile lab will help in quickly identifying the water quality problem on the spot at site.

The mobile testing van will be stationed at State Water Testing Laboratory, Karnal and its area of operation will be throughout the State. This new facility will provide access to water-testing facility even at the remotest corner of the State. Further, in the event of outbreak of water-borne disease, these vans can be deployed onsite for effective management and quick access to water test reports. Besides, they can also be used for counter checking of quality of testing from all laboratories.

Jal Jeevan Mission is a flagship programme of Union Government and under this program Government of Haryana is fully committed to provide tap water connection to every rural household ensuring sustainable supply of potable water. The mission gives a lot of emphasis on water quality surveillance and monitoring. It mandates that in every village 5 persons especially women to be trained for use of Field Test Kits, so that water can be tested in villages. Public Health Engineering Department/ Rural Water Supply department of States are ensuring supply of safe drinking water to rural homes and monitoring water quality on regular basis by testing in the laboratories.

International Blue Flag Certification to all 8 beaches recommended by India

11.10.2020, New Delhi: It is a proud moment for India as 8 beaches of India, spread across five states and two union territories, have been awarded the “BLUE FLAG” by an International Jury comprising of eminent members viz UNEP, UNWTO, FEE, IUCN.

The beaches that have been awarded the ‘BLUE FLAG” are Shivrajpur (Dwarka-Gujarat), Ghoghla (Diu), Kasarkod and Padubidri (Karnataka), Kappad (Kerala), Rushikonda (AP), Golden (Puri-Odisha) and Radhanagar (A&N Islands).

India has also been awarded a 3rd Prize by the International Jury under the “International Best Practices” for pollution control in coastal regions.

In a twitter message, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stated "8 of India’s serene beaches get the prestigious Blue Flag Certification. This showcases the importance India attaches to protecting such spots and furthering sustainable development. Truly a wonderful feat!"

“It is an outstanding feat considering that no 'BLUE FLAG' nation has ever been awarded for 8 beaches in a single attempt,” Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar said in a tweet message adding “this is also a global recognition of India’s conservation and sustainable development efforts”.

“India is also the first country in “Asia-Pacific” region which has achieved this feat in just about 2 years’ time,” Javadekar further stated in another tweet.

Japan, South Korea and UAE are the only other Asian nations who have been conferred with a couple of Blue Flag beaches, however, in a time frame of about 5 to 6 years!

India is now in the league of 50 "BLUE FLAG” countries and we take pride in this honour to our Nation, planning to taking this journey forward to 100 such beaches in the country in the next five years.

India began its humble journey in 2018 for development of pilot beaches (one each in coastal states/UTs) and presented the first set of 08 beaches for the certification for the ensuing tourist season 2020.

SICOM, MoEFCC, in its pursuit of “Sustainable Development” of the coastal regions of India embarked upon a highly acclaimed & flagship program “BEAMS” (Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services) under its ICZM (Integrated Coastal Zone Management) project. This was aimed at striving for the coveted International eco-label "Blue flag”, accorded by The Foundation of Environment Education, FEE Denmark.

The objective of the BEAMS program is to abate pollution in coastal waters & beaches, promote sustainable development of beach amenities/ facilities, protect & conserve coastal ecosystems & natural resources and encourage local authorities & stakeholders to strive and maintain high standards of cleanliness, hygiene, safety and security for beachgoers in accordance with coastal environment norms & regulations. This program promotes beach tourism and recreation in absolute harmony with nature; and is unique in that sense.

Goa becomes first 'Har Ghar Jal' State across the nation by providing tap water connection to every rural household

09.10.2020, New Delhi: Goa has earned itself the unique distinction of becoming first 'Har Ghar Jal' State in the country as it successfully provides 100% Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTCs) in the rural areas covering 2.30 lakh rural households. Harnessing the immense benefits of efficiently utilising the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM), which aims to improve the quality of life and bring 'ease-of-living' to rural communities, the Chief Minister of Goa, Shri PramodSawant announced that all ruralhomes in the State now have a tap water supply.State's commitment and brisk efforts have ensured advancement and achievement of targets well before time.

In June, 2020, the Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat wrote to the Chief Minister of Goa expressing his happiness on the State's Annual Action Plan (AAP) to provide 100% Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTCs) in rural areas by 2021 and extended full support for the implementation of Mission reiterating that providing potable water is a national priority for the Union Government. Accordingly, fund allocation to Goa in 2020-21 has been increased to Rs. 12.40 Crore. Besides, the State could also explore through convergence of various programmes like MGNREGS, SBM (G), 15th FC Grants to PRIs, District Mineral Development Fund, CAMPA, CSR Fund, Local Area Development Fund, etc. for strengthening of drinking water sources, water supply, grey water treatment & re-use and operation & maintenance.

The two districts of Goa i.e. North Goa with 1.65 lakh rural households and South Goa with 98,000rural householdsin 191 Gram Panchayats are fully saturated with assured piped water supply through tap connections. To strengthen the water testing facilities, the State is in process of getting 14 water quality testing laboratories NABL accredited. Jal Jeevan Mission mandates training 5 persons in very village especially women to be trained in using Field Test Kits, so that water can be tested in the villages.

Goa’s achievement is an example for other States to emulate and ensure every rural home gets tap connection and especially in these times of CoVid-19 pandemic, it is all the more imperative to have assured safe water supply within households. This silent revolution happening in rural India in terms of household tap water connections is a work in progress for a ‘New India’.

Having achieved the universal access, the State now plans for sensor-based service delivery monitoring system so as to monitor the functionality of water supply i.e. potable water in adequate quantity and of prescribed quality being provided to every rural household on regular and long-term basis.

CSIR-CMERI transfers High Flow Rate Fluoride and Iron Removal technology to Capricans Aqua

08.10.2020, New Delhi: The CSIR-CMERI today transferred its High Flow Rate Fluoride & Iron Removal technology to M/s Capricans Aqua Private Limited, Howrah, West Bengal, in Durgapur (WB). The Technology Transfer took place over a Virtual Platform in the presence of Prof. (Dr.) Harish Hirani, Director, CSIR-CMERI, Durgapur.

Prof. Hirani, during the event stated, “This Community Level Water Purification System has a Flow-Rate capacity of 10,000 liter per hour and uses commonly available raw materials such as sand, gravel and adsorbent materials. It comprises a three-stage purification process which purifies water within permissible limits (1.5 ppm & 0.3 ppm for Fluoride and Iron respectively). The technology uses a combination of Oxidation, Gravitational Settling and Chemisorption process in an Affordable Package. The integrated backwashing profile of the technology will help in improving the shelf-life of the filtration media in a resource rationalised manner”

Prof. Hirani said that, “As per available statistics the number of Fluoride affected individuals are continuously increasing in a contaminated habitat in the last 50 years. This has been happening in consonance with the disproportional depletion of Water Table, which has led to multiplication of the level of concentration of Fluoride in the particular region. Owing to inaccessibility to Affordable Fluoride Removal Solutions for the drastically affected sections of the Country, the Fluorosis affected statistics has also witnessed an upward trajectory. Besides, the technology is also a major thrust towards the AtmaNirbhar Bharat campaign. Proliferation of this technology will also help in catalysing Employment Generation opportunities for the Youth of the Nation. The strategic deployment of this Community Level system at affected places can help to turn the tide against the menace of Iron and Fluorosis across the Nation.”

Shri Sanjay Dutta, Director, Capricans Aqua Private Limited, said that CSIR-CMERI Water Technologies have provided an Affordable and Cost-Effective solution for serving the most vulnerable sections of the Nation. He said, the results generated after deployment of this Water Technologies will be immense. Capricans now intends to deploy the CMERI Water technologies in the Fluoride and Iron affected regions of the states of Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Assam, he added.

Ingestion of excess fluoride, most commonly in drinking-water, can cause fluorosis which affects the teeth and bones. Moderate amounts lead to dental effects, but long-term ingestion of large amounts can lead to potentially severe skeletal problems. Paradoxically, low levels of fluoride intake help to prevent dental caries. The control of drinking-water quality is therefore critical in preventing fluorosis.

Banning seven hazardous chemicals India sends strong & positive message to the world

07.10.2020, New Delhi: The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi today ratified ban of seven Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP’s) listed under Stockholm Convention.

“With today’s decision India is sending out a positive message to the world that we are active in this area & we do not tolerate health & environmental hazard”, said the Union Environment Minister, Prakash Javadekar at a press briefing in New Delhi.

The Stockholm Convention is a global treaty to protect human health and environment from POPs, which are identified chemical substances that persist in the environment, bio-accumulate in living organisms, adversely affect human health/ environment and have the property of long-range environmental transport (LRET).

Exposure to POPs can lead to cancer, damage to central & peripheral nervous systems, diseases of immune system, reproductive disorders and interference with normal infant and child development. POPs are listed in various Annexes to the Stockholm Convention after thorough scientific research, deliberations and negotiations among member countries.

Considering its commitment towards providing safe environment and addressing human health risks, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) had notified the 'Regulation of Persistent Organic Pollutants Rules, on March 5, 2018 under the provisions of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. The regulation inter alia prohibited the manufacture, trade, use, import and export seven chemicals namely (i) Chlordecone, (ii) Hexabromobiphenyl, (iii) Hexabromodiphenyl ether and Heptabromodiphenylether (Commercial octa-BDE), (iv) Tetrabromodiphenyl ether and Pentabromodiphenyl ether (Commercial penta-BDE), (v) Pentachlorobenzene, (vi) Hexabromocyclododecane, and (vii) Hexachlorobutadiene, which were already listed as POPs under Stockholm Convention.

The Cabinet's approval for ratification of POPs demonstrates India's commitment to meet its international obligations with regard to protection of environment and human health. It also indicates the resolve of the Government to take action on POPs by implementing control measures, develop and implement action plans for unintentionally produced chemicals, develop inventories of the chemicals' stockpiles and review as well as update its National Implementation Plan (NIP). The ratification process would enable India to access Global Environment Facility (GEF) financial resources in updating the NIP.

The Cabinet further delegated its powers to ratify chemicals under the Stockholm Convention to Union Ministers of External Affairs and Environment, Forest and Climate Change in respect of POPs already regulated under the domestic regulations thereby streamlining the procedure.

India had ratified the Stockholm Convention on January 13, 2006 as per Article 25(4), which enabled it to keep itself in a default "opt-out" position such that amendments in various Annexes of the convention cannot be enforced on it unless an instrument of ratification/ acceptance/ approval or accession is explicitly deposited with UN depositary.

Success Stories to Technology & Research on Water deliberated in 3-days 'Global Water Congress 2020’ organized by ESDA

07.10.2020, New Delhi: One of the most acclaimed organizations, Environment and Social Development Association (ESDA) India organized the ‘Global Water Congress 2020’ on a virtual platform to pay our tributes to the Father of the Indian Nation Mahatma Gandhi Ji on his 151st Birth Anniversary on 2nd - 4th October 2020 under its National campaign of water conservation- Jal Kranti Mission (water conservation by public participation) in collaboration with CSIR- NEERI, Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar College, University of Delhi, GRC India, GD Goenka University Gurugram, Amity University Gurugram, CPCB Alumni Association, IWWA and MSMECCII. About 450 registered participants, 70 invited speakers, 168 paper presenters and 150 volunteers were participated.

The Global Water Congress was inaugurated by Padma Shri Saint Balbeer Singh Seechewal, a well-known Water Conservationist from Punjab with presence of another guest of honor Shri G. Asok Kumar IAS, Additional Secretary & Mission Director, National Water Mission (NWM), Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India, Prof. P. B. Sharma, Vice Chancellor of Amity University, Dr. S. K. Goyal, Head, CSIR-NEERI, Delhi Zonal Office, Ms. Rita Mathew Benjamin, Chairperson, Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar College, Dr. G. K. Arora, Principal, Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar College, Shri Gopal Arya, National Convener, Paryavaran Sarakshan Gatividhi Prof. R.K. Thakur, Dean, G. D. Goenka University, Mr. Umesh Chandra, Executive president ESDA, Dr. Dhiraj Singh, MD, GRC India and Dr. Jitendra Nagar, Organizing Secretary and General Secretary, ESDA.

About 10 speakers from various foreign countries including Dr. Hans-Uwe Dahms, Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan, Dr. Sadhana Pradhanang Kayastha, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, Kathmandu, Nepal, Dr. Mohammad Kamal Hussain, Umm-Al Qura University, Makkah, Saudi Arabia, Dr. Ajay Kumar, Ana G. Mendez University, Cupey Campus, San Jan, PR, USA and about 60 speakers from India including Er. Paritosh Tyagi, Former Chairman, CPCB Delhi, Prof. A. K. Keshari, IIT Delhi, Er. V. P. Yadav, Additional Director, CPCB Delhi, Prof. A. L. Ramanathan, JNU Delhi, Prof. Manish Kumar, IIT Gandhinagar, Prof. Tanu Jindal, Amity University, Prof Sirajuddin Ahmad, Jamia Millia Islamia, Mr. D. C. Sekhar, Director, AlphaMERS Limited, Bengluru, Karnataka, Shri K G Vyas Former Advisor, Rajiv Gandhi Watershed Mission, M.P., Mr. Sanjay K Mishra, Editor, Enviro Annotations, Shri Dinesh Kumar Mishra, Shri Pushpendra Bhai, Shri Jagdish Bhai Gandhi, Shri Pankaj Malviya, Mr. Sanjay Gupta, Dr. Parmeshwar Arora, Dr. Shiv Singh Rawat, Mr. Anil Gupta Hrwi were delivered a lecture on the water issues.

Sh. U.P. Singh IAS, Hon’ble Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Department, of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India was the Chief Guest in the Valedictory Function of Global Water Congress 2020 and he said India has sufficient water resources as per their need but there are a big problem of water management. The Guest of honor Dr. Prashant Gargava, Member Secretary, Central Pollution Control Board and Key speaker Jal Guru Mr. Mahendra Modi IPS, Director General (DG), Uttar Pradesh Police and other dignitaries also address the valedictory.

In the last during vote of thanks the Organizing Secretary Dr. Jitendra Nagar expressed that the motive of this congress to discuss and create awareness among national and international water challenges and give a platform for the discussion. He told he is himself working for water conservation and running Jal Kranti Misssion and they will start a work on Hindon River Conservation.

"Wildlife Conservation is ingrained in our ethos": Prime Minister Narendra Modi

06.10.2020, New Delhi: On the eve of 66th Wildlife Week being observed in India, Prime Minster Narendra Modi has said that wildlife conservation is ingrained in our ethos and has always been an integral part of our tradition and culture. The Prime Minister has said, the country is now making efforts to conserve endangered species through dedicated projects such as ‘Project Lion’ and ‘Project Dolphin’ after the success of ‘Project Tiger’ and ‘Project Elephant’. In a written message on the occasion of Wildlife Week, Shri Modi sought contribution from people from all walks of life to attain the desired results from these projects.

The Prime Minster said, coinciding with the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of peace and non-violence, the celebration of “Wildlife Week” is an ideal occasion to reaffirm the commitment towards conservation of wildlife and harmonious co-existence of all living beings.

He said, today with a robust and wide network of protected areas, the commitment towards wildlife protection is as strong as ever. Saying that eco sensitive zones provide a peripheral support and act as a buffer around national parks and sanctuaries, Shri Modi said, several such zones have been notified to enhance the space available for thriving wildlife. Mentioning that the country hosts the last wild population of Asiatic lions, he said, the resolve of doubling tiger numbers have been fulfilled well in advance.

On India giving special attention to plastic waste management, the Prime Minister said, India is resolute in its efforts to reduce single use plastic and micro-plastic pollution for sustainable development along with a prosper biodiversity. Shri Modi said, the country is emphasising on conservation of the migratory birds and species as India remains a natural home to a verity of migratory species.

Noting that India harbours 17 percent of world human population within 2.4 percent land area of the world and development needs of the country are paramount, Shri Modi, however, said that the country believes that wildilife and biodiversity conservation are equally imperative.

Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar has stated, "On the occasion of Wildlife Week 2020 , the inspirational message of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will encourage us all to intensify wildlife conservation in the country, in order to make the planet Earth a better place to live in."

Union Minister of Jal Shakti holds 2nd meeting of Apex Council with Chief Ministers of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh

06.10.2020, New Delhi: The 2nd meeting of the Apex Council set up by the Andhra Pradesh Re-Organization Act – 2014 (APRA-2014) with Union Minister for Jal Shakti as Chairman and Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana as members was held today where Chief Ministers of both states of participated through VC.

The first agenda item that was deliberated upon was to decide on the jurisdiction of both Godavari and Krishna Management Boards. Even after six years their jurisdiction is still not notified because both the states had differing opinions on this issue. The second agenda item that was deliberated upon is the submission of DPR’s of new projects taken up by both the states on rivers Krishna and Godavari respectively. As per the Act, both KRMB and GRMB should technically appraise and clear them. The third agenda item that was deliberated upon was establishing a mechanism for determination of share of Krishna and Godavari waters between the States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Centre’s stand on these agenda items and other issues discussed in the meeting is that regarding Telangana’s request of referring the water allocations issue to a new tribunal or to KWDT-II (Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal) under Section-3 of Inter State River Water Disputes Act – 1956 (ISRWDA), the matter is pending in Supreme Court and is sub-judice. As mandated by APRA-2014, the headquarters of the KRMB shall be located in the Successor State of Andhra Pradesh.

Centre announced its decision to go ahead with notifying the jurisdiction of both KRMB & GRMB. Telangana CM dissented on this but as per the APRA-2014, no consensus is needed and hence Centre will notify. Both Chief Minister’s agreed to submit the DPR’s of all the projects taken up by their respective states. The Union Minister of Jal Shakti assured that the technical appraisal of all these projects will be done in the shortest possible timeframe.

With regards to sharing of River waters between both the states in both Godavari and Krishna Rivers, CM of Telangana agreed to withdraw the case they filed in Supreme Court to enable Centre to move forward on referring the water sharing issues to the tribunal under Section-3 of ISRWD Act of 1956, after taking due legal opinion. With regards to sharing of River Godavari waters between both the states, both the states were asked to send in the request to Centre so that Centre can move forward to refer to the tribunal under section-3 of ISWRD Act of 1956. Telangana CM said that he would send the request to Centre in a day. It was agreed to shift the KRMB Headquarters to the state of Andhra Pradesh.

"To make India a clean and efficient gas-based economy, Govt is investing more than Rs. 4 lakh crore in gas infrastructure"- Dharmendra Pradhan

06.10.2020, New Delhi: The reach of environment friendly Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) was expanded to various areas in 6 states, as the Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel, Dharmendra Pradhan today dedicated 42 CNG stations and 3 City Gate Stations of Torrent Gas to the service of the community. All CNG stations and City Gate Stations were connected through video conference during the event with the Minister.

Torrent Gas has the authorization to lay City Gas Distribution network in 32 Districts across 7 States and 1 UT. These CNG stations are located across various states, including 14 in Uttar Pradesh, 8 in Maharashtra, 6 in Gujarat, 4 in Punjab and 5 each in Telangana and Rajasthan. The City Gate Stations include one each in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Punjab.

Speaking on the occasion, the Ministers stressed upon Comprehensive Energy Retail facilities, where consumers can buy fuel of their choice as per purchasing capacity - be it petrol, diesel, CNG, LNG or electric charging. He also said that the Government wants to supply fuel through the mobile dispensers so that consumers can get the fuel at their doorstep, as per their convenience. The Minister said that the strategy is being made to expand the battery swapping facilities also.

The Minister said, as India will become world's largest energy consumer in the coming years, development of CGD network is being done in line of Climate Change goals set for 2030. India has already become the role model in the Solar energy sector. He further mentioned that as India is moving towards the gas-based economy, which is not only clean and efficient fuel, but will also help in reducing the country’s dependence on imported crude oil, an investment of more than Rs. 4 lakh crore is being made in the gas infrastructure, which includes laying of pipelines, terminals, gas fields.

Shri Pradhan called upon the CGD companies to also invest in the biomass-based plants to produce Compressed Bio-gas, using agriculture residues, forest produce, city waste and cow dung. He said that 500 such plants are already being set up, and the target is to reach 5000 such plants.

Number of CNG stations have increased to more than double in the country, from 938 CNG station in year 2014 to around 2300 CNG stations in 2020. Together with the existing CNG stations and the ones expected under 9th and 10th rounds, India is looking at a robust infrastructure of about 10,000 CNG stations in coming years.

160 Zoos across India to be upgraded through Public Private Partnership: Prakash Javadekar

05.10.2020, New Delhi: On the eve of Wildlife Week 2020, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar today congratulated the country for the diverse wildlife and said that the government is working towards the upgradation and development of 160 Zoos across the country through Public Private Partnership (PPP) model to encourage interaction between wildlife and humans, and help people observe and understand wildlife behaviour more closely.

The Union Minister informed that policy for up gradation and development of all the zoos in the country is underway and will be taken up during the upcoming budget. Shri Javadekar further said that state governments, corporations, businesses and people will all be key elements of the plan. It will help give enhanced experience to the visitors especially the students and children and the future generation in order to nurture the connect between wildlife, nature and humans.

On the occasion Shri Javadekar also launched a report of the CZA-TERI titled “Economic valuation of ecosystem services, National Zoological Park, New Delhi ‘.The report highlights the importance of habitats such as zoos to human wellbeing and the need of replication across India.

The study first of its kind in India and perhaps the entire World, pegs the total annual economic value of the ecosystem services (biodiversity conservation, employment generation, carbon sequestration, education and research, recreational and cultural) at around 423 crore (2019-20) whereas, the total value of the one-time cost of services such as carbon storage and land value provided by the zoo is estimated to be around 55,000 crore.

The Minister also gave away the CZA-Prani Mitra awards to encourage the zoo officers and staff towards working for captive animal management and welfare. The awards were given in four categories viz. the Outstanding Director / Curator, Outstanding Veterinarian, Outstanding Biologist /Educationist, Outstanding Biologist /Educationist and Outstanding Animal keeper.

The Minister, during the virtual interaction, also addressed questions of school children from across the country, concerning wildlife protection and human-wildlife interaction. He stated that we must all work together to protect the valuable wildlife of the country.

CZA which was established to oversee the functioning of Indian zoos and complement the wildlife conservation strategies through ex-situ measures, as on today recognizes around 160 zoo and rescue centers that enforce global standards in animal housing and welfare. Over 567 captive animal species (with 114 species under endangered category) with overall 56481 individual animals are currently housed in Indian zoos.

Dr. Sanjay Kumar, DG (Forest) & Special Secretary, Ministry of Environment Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC); Shri Soumitra Dasgupta, ADG (Wildlife), Dr SP Yadav, ADG (Project Tiger) and Member Secretary CZA and other senior officers of MoEF&CC also participated in the event.

Wildlife week is observed in the first week of October, throughout India with an aim to protect the flora and fauna. It was first observed in 1957.

"Large scale migration from urban to the rural areas is a challenge", said Union Minister of State (I/C) for Housing & Urban Affairs

05.10.2020, New Delhi: Union Minister of State (I/C) for Housing & Urban Affairs, Hardeep S Puri has stated that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the United Nations Member States in 2015 is a guiding document for a planet and the people that inhabit it. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets together reflect, both the collective vision and goal that we have to work to achieving by 2030, he added.All the flagship Missions such as Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban, the Smart Cities Mission, the AMRUT Mission were in implementation modewell before the SDGswere adopted by the Member States. In a country of India’s size, diversity and population, it is a staggering challenge to implement this ambitious urban agenda. “I am, however, both optimistic and confident that we will succeed. The essential ingredient for success in any endeavour of this magnitude is strong political will. That is in abundance in this Government”. He was addressing a Webinar on the occasion of World Habitat Day 2020 from Nirman Bhawan, here today. Shri Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, MoHUA, senior officials from UN Agencies, States and the Ministry also attended the Webinar. On the occasion of World Habitat Day 2020, several e-Publications of the organisations under MoHUA viz HUDCO, BMTPC CGEWHO and NCHF were also released.

The Minister during his address stressed on the challenge of large scale migration from urban areas to the rural areas. He informed that to tackle this problem, the Government of India has quickly come up with a scheme for making available rental housing on a large scale. The eco system has been laid down and work is being taken up on a war footing. There is a huge focus on use of new and environmentally safe construction technologies and techniques. This will have a salutary effect in keeping the adverse impact on the environment in check. Through a global housing technology challenge, the very best of national and international technologies are sought to be brought in.

"More focused and collective action needed for mitigation of Air Pollution": Prakash Javadekar

01.10.2020, New Delhi: Union Minister if Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar today chaired a review meeting on the situation of air pollution which has been a recurrent environmental concern in winter season in Northern India especially in Delhi NCR region over last few years. Five states Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab participated in the meeting.

In a press briefing, after the meeting which lasted for more than 90 minutes, Shri Javadekar said, that the meeting was fruitful in addressing the issue and that centre and state have worked and will work together to implement steps to combat air pollution, but more needs to be done.

In an effort to combat air pollution caused due to stubble burning the Minister informed that the centre has allotted a fund of Rs. 1700 to the states for stubble management. Currently,80% subsidy to cooperatives and 50% subsidy to individuals on machineries for stubble is being provided to curb pollution caused due to stubble burning.

The Minister stated that Hotspots have been identified in states of UP, Haryana and Rajasthan too and the state governments have been directed to pay more attention to these. State action plans have been made and discussed which will be implemented. Union minister emphasized that Delhi government has been directed to take more action on the 13 hotspots in Delhi so as to reduce the air pollution in the capital. 50 teams of CPCB will be deployed in Delhi NCR region to take appropriate action this year.

He further added that the trial of Pusa Microbial Decomposer Capsule is underway in Delhi NCR and informed that Uttar Pradesh will be using this technology over an area of 10,000 hectrares this year and Delhi will be using the same for 800 hectares as informed by Environment Ministers of these states during the meeting.Union Minister Prakash Javadekar also stated the importance of using Bio Decomposers, Bio CNG and Bio power to reduce air pollution and its negative impact.

The minister emphasized that there are several other factors that contribute to air pollution other than stubble burning which include constructions and demolition waste, poor waste management, unpaved roads and dust management, Bio mass burning, etc. Today, States have shared their plans to fight against pollution and the Centre have suggested more steps to deal with it further.

The minister informed that several measures have been taken by the centre like BS VI norms have been introduced; power plants of Badarpur have Sonipat have been closed. He stated that Eastern and Western Peripheral Expressways have helped massively in reducing vehicular air pollution in Delhi and nearly 60,000 vehicles are diverted from Delhi which earlier used to go through Delhi.

To conclude the minister appealed to the state governments as well as the masses to also take constructive measures to contribute in reducing air pollution and informed that the Central Pollution Control Board will work actively with all states on a daily basis to monitor the level of pollution.

With “New Thinking, New Approach”, Prime Minister inaugurates 6 Mega Projects under Namami Gange for a Clean and Continuous River Ganga

30.09.2020, New Delhi: Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated 6 mega development projects in Uttarakhand under the Namami Gange Mission on 29th September 2020, through video conference. He emphasized the importance of keeping the River Ganga clean as it plays a significant role in sustaining the lives of about 50% of the country’s population from its origin in Uttarakhand till West Bengal.

The Prime Minister termed the Namami Gange Mission as the largest integrated river conservation mission which not only aims at the cleanliness of River Ganga but also focuses on comprehensive upkeep of the River. He highlighted the fact that under Namami Gange, projects worth more than Rs. 30,000 Crores are either in progress or have been completed. He pointed out that due to these projects the sewage treatment capacity of Uttarakhand has increased 4 times in the last 6 years.

The Prime Minister mentioned that apart from the cleanliness of the Ganges, the Namami Gange is focussing on development of the economy and environment of the entire Gangetic belt. He said “Now the Namami Gange Abhiyan is being taken to a new level. Apart from the cleanliness of the Ganges, now there is a focus on the development of the economy and environment of the entire area adjacent to the Ganges. A comprehensive plan has been formulated by the government to provide benefits of organic farming and ayurvedic plant farming to the farmers of all states including Uttarakhand. Besides planting trees on both sides of Ganga ji, a corridor for organic farming is also being developed. These projects to improve Ganga water are now going to get an impetus from Mission Dolphin in the plains. On August 15, the Mission Dolphin has been announced. This mission will further boost the work of increasing dolphin population in Ganga ji.”

The Prime Minister listed the efforts taken to close more than 130 drains in Uttarakhand from flowing into the River Ganga. He referred specially to the Chandreshwar Nagar drain which turned as an eyesore to visitors and rafters at Muni Ki Reti, in Rishikesh. He applauded the closing of the drain and the construction of a four storied STP at Muni Ki Reti.

Shri Modi said owing to fragmentation of work- on an important subject like water- into various ministries and departments, led to lack of clear guidelines & coordination. As a result, problems related to irrigation and drinking water continued to persist. He lamented that even after so many years of independence, piped drinking water has not reached more than 15 crore households in the country. Shri Modi said the Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) was formed to bring in a synergy and give impetus to dealing with these challenges. He said the ministry is now engaged in the mission of ensuring access to piped drinking water to every house in the country. Today, about 1 lakh households are being provided piped water supply connections every day under the Jal Jeevan Mission. He said drinking water connections have been provided to 2 crore families of the country in just 1 year.

The Prime Minister orated that unlike the previous programmes, Jal Jeevan Mission adopts a bottom to top approach, where the users and Water Committees in the villages envision the whole project from its implementation to maintenance and operation. He said the mission has also ensured that at least 50% of the members of the water committee would be women. He informed that a special 100-day campaign is being launched on 2nd October 2020 under Jal Jeevan Mission to ensure drinking water connection to every school and Anganwadi in the country.

On World Tourism Day Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan calls for Switching to 100% Clean Fuels for Prime Tourist Cities

28.09.2020, New Delhi: On the occasion of the World Tourism Day, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Steel Shri Dharmendra Pradhan today addressed a virtual meet on the theme of “Tourism and rural development”, along with Minister of State (I/c) for Tourism Shri Prahlad Singh Patel.

Minister Pradhan called for weaving sustainability with tourism and collaborating to switch prime tourist cities to 100% clean fuels, which will further help protect our monuments and ensure a cleaner environment for the tourists.

"On World Rivers Day come forward to join hands to make Rivers clean": Prakash Javadekar

27.09.2020, New Delhi: A very special day on which it is celebrated as World Tourism Day, World Rivers Day and also Daughters Day. And all these are so interlinked in terms of social values. Rivers are the source of life, the essence of life. Rivers should be protected from pollution. We cannot have clean water for ourselves if our rivers are polluted.

Union Minister for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar shared a message "On this #WorldRiversDay come forward to join hands to make Rivers clean. Let us revitalize rivers."

He said the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change is working towards forestry interventions required for the rejuvenation of 13 major rivers across the country.

On the World Rivers Day, DG-NMCG, Rajiv Ranjan Mishra remembers the famed river conservationist Mark Angelo, and encourages the participants to continue to remember the words of Angelo - 'Rivers are the arteries of our planet; they are lifelines in the truest sense'.

"When we had started with Namami Gange programme, we focused towards river Ganga itself, which expanded to big tributaries of Ganga by 2018. We have expanded our focus to rejuvenation of smaller rivers, for overall health of rivers of our country." said DG-NMCG, Rajiv Ranjan Mishra

He also expressed his appreciation towards the participant DMS & their contribution towards the rejuvenation of rivers. He emphasised that the theme of World Rivers Day, 'Day of Action for Rivers', suits the work of Namami Gange and its partners & associates.

As winter approaches Centre & Delhi Govt. initiate air pollution issue

26.09.2020, New Delhi: As the winter is approaching, Central Government as well as Delhi Government has become proactive. Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal today wrote to Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, suggesting scaling up the use of a low-cost technology developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute here to deal with stubble burning.

The chief minister through his letter had also sought an appointment from the Union minister, who said in the evening they have already spoken over the phone.

Union Minister, Prakash Javadekar replied through a tweeter message stating that both the leaders have been in touch over phone. "The Centre has taken several meaningful steps which have resulted in reduced pollution in Delhi. And, I have also told you to convene a meeting with the Ministers of all the concerned States", replied Javadekar.

It is reported that last year, Punjab produced around 20 million tonnes paddy residue and the farmers there burnt 9.8 million tonnes of it. The farmers in Haryana burnt 1.23 million tonnes out of the 7 million tonnes of paddy residue. Despite a ban on stubble burning in Punjab and Haryana, farmers continue to defy it as there is a short window between harvesting of paddy and sowing of wheat. Earlier, Delhi Chief Minister and Delhi Environment Minister have reviewed a technology from Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI).

On 19th September, an Advance Action for Air Pollution Management in NCR region initiated by PMO led Panel. Read more

Rs. 2.5 Crore CSR Fund from Fortis Healthcare to Indian Council of Medical Research from CSR fund, HAL to spend 1 Cr in Ladakh

26.09.2020, New Delhi: Reputed private sector medical service provider Fortis Healthcare handed over a cheque of Rs 2.5 crore to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in the presence of Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey in his office. The fund was handed over under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) scheme.

Dr Ashutosh Raghuvanshi, MD and CEO, Fortis Healthcare along with Manu Kapila, Senior Vice President (Corporate Affairs and CSR) presented the cheque to ICMR Director General Prof (DR) Balram Bhargav and Senior Financial Advisor, Rajiv Roy.

At the event, Shri Choubey said that the ICMR has “established an outstanding parameter in the field of research”. Not only in India, this institute one of the best research institute in the world. Scientists have worked tirelessly day and night since day one of Covid-19 pandemic.”

He also said “the Fortis Hospital has done a commendable job and I am sure this would inspire many.”

In another event, as part of their CSR program, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), has agreed to extend generous funding support to Establishment of one Makeshift Hospital in Himachal Pradesh and a COVID Testing Centre at Ladakh at a cost of over a crore".

670 new electric buses and 241 charging stations sanctioned under FAME scheme

25.09.2020, New Delhi: In a big push towards electric mobility the Government has sanctioned 670 Electric buses in the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat and Chandigarh and 241 Charging Stations in Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Gujarat and Port Blair under Phase-II of FAME India Scheme.

Announcing this in a series of tweet messages, Union Heavy Industries Minister, Shri Prakash Javadekar, who is also the Union Minister for Environment, said that the decision reflects government's commitment to reduce dependence on fossil fuel and to address issues of vehicular emissions. Shri Javadekar said that the decision is in line with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi's vision for eco-friendly public transportation.

The Department of Heavy Industries (DHI) under Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, is administering the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India) Scheme since April, 2015 to promote adoption of electric/ hybrid vehicles (xEVs) in India .

In the First Phase of the Scheme upto 31st March 2019, about 2,80,987 hybrid and electric vehicles were supported by way of demand incentive, amounting to about Rs 359 crore. Further, DHI sanctioned 425 electric and hybrid buses to various cities in the country with total cost of about Rs. 280 Crores. The Department of Heavy Industry had also sanctioned 520 Charging Stations for Rs. 43 Crore (approx.) in cities like Bangalore, Chandigarh, Jaipur and NCR of Delhi under Phase-I of FAME-India Scheme.

At present, Phase-II of FAME India Scheme is being implemented for a period of 3 years w.e.f. 01st April, 2019 with a total budgetary support of Rs. 10,000 crore.

This phase focuses on supporting electrification of public & shared transportation and aims to support, through subsidies, approximately 7000 e-Buses, 5 lakh e-3 Wheelers, 55000 e-4 Wheeler Passenger Cars and 10 lakh e-2 Wheelers. In addition, creation of charging infrastructure is also supported to address the anxiety among users of electric vehicles.

Central Pollution Control Board celebrates its 46th Foundation Day; pledges for more science-based environment management

“Improving the air quality a shared responsibility”: Babul Supriyo

23.09.2020, New Delhi: Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Babul Supriyo today on 23rd September 2020 said, people and governments need to share the responsibility and work together to keep the air clean. Speaking at the webinar to commemorate the 46th Year of Establishment of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the Minister said, CPCB has been doing a phenomenal work in terms of collecting and collating the data related to pollution, which is acting as a key policy input for the government and the concerned agencies to improve air quality. He said, CPCB has been providing a real time data which is commendable.

The Minister further said, that there is a need to ensure that water is not polluted because it can have an adverse impact on the crops and human health as well as ecosystem. He also appreciated CPCB for handling bio-medical waste during the times of COVID-19.

The CPCB was established on 23rd September 1974 under The Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 as a technical arm of Central Government for environmental research, monitoring, regulation and enforcement in the country.

Since its inception, CPCB is working tirelessly towards environmental protection in the country. Some of the pro-active actions of the Central Board include setting sector specific standards (86); real time surveillance of more than 5,000 industries; river basin studies, which led to genesis of Ganga Action Plan; multi-city source apportionment studies; establishing extensive monitoring network and data management for public dissemination; setting national ambient air quality standards; and fixing water quality criteria. CPCB’s actions have been critical in obviating steep environmental degradation expected of rapid industrial, commercial and population growth. With increasing environmental challenges and mounting public expectations, CPCB is working to re-define pollution control technologies and management strategies.

On this occasion, CPCB’s transformative goals for 2030 was presented and India’s Environmental Objectives and Innovative Pollution Control Strategies were discussed.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) in his address said that CPCB is on the forefront of efforts for a clean environment. Over the years, it has done lot of commendable works, technological upgradations and is motivated to continual improvement. AQI, NCAP & waste management initiatives will ensure more healthy and conducive environment.

Chairman, CPCB, Shiv Das Meena briefed about the achievements made by CPCB in past 46 years. He also outlined the challenges laying before the Board in ensuing future and appealed to the employees of the Board to continue to work in right earnest to meet the new environmental challenges.

Member Secretary, CPCB, Prashant Gargava, presented transformative goals for 2030. He deliberated CPCB’s vision for revisiting approach to pollution control by revamping monitoring & analysis system, action planning guided by science, capacity building including strengthening research and development department, enhancing engagement of IT tools and future development areas to be focused on.

A panel of eminent speakers, comprising Former Secretary, MoEF&CC, C.K. Mishra; S. P. S. Parihar and Prof. S. P. Gautam, both Former Chairman of CPCB; Shiv Das Meena, Chairman CPCB; and Sunita Narain, Director General, Centre for Science & Environment, shared their views. They expressed admiration for CPCB’s efforts towards environmental protection and emphasized on need for revisiting its role and investing in its capacity building.

Uttarakhand plans 100% coverage under Jal Jeevan Mission by 2022

23.09.2020, New Delhi: The Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat held discussion with Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Shri Trivendra Singh Rawat regarding implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission in the State through video conferencing. Secretary, Addl. Secretary & Mission Director of the Ministry along with Chief Secretary and other senior officers of Uttarakhand government took part in the meeting. Uttarakhand is planning 100% coverage by 2022 to accomplish the ambitious target of providing tap connection to every rural household of the State. In this context, the Union Minister had a detailed discussion on the progress of the mission in the State with the CM.

Emphasizing the importance of the life changing mission to improve the lives of rural people, Union Minister Shri Shekhawat stressed on retrofitting and augmentation of existing water supply schemes. Out of 15,218 villages in the State, 14,595 have piped water supply schemes, but out of 14.61 lakh households only 2.71 lakh (18.55%) have tap connections. The Union Minister urged to take up the work in campaign mode so that remaining households belonging to poor & marginalized sections of the society could be provided with tap connections at earliest.

Shri Shekhawat reiterated the commitment of Union Government to provide all assistance to the State to achieve this goal. For Jal Jeevan Mission, funds are provided by Government of India based on the output in terms of tap connections provided and the utilization of available central and matching state share. Minister of Jal Shakti assured Uttarakhand Chief Minister of all support to make the State a ‘100% FHTCs’ State.

Union Minister further emphasized on preparation of village action plans as well as constitution of Village Water & Sanitation Committee/ Paani Samiti as a sub-committee of Gram Panchayat with minimum 50% of women members, responsible for planning, designing, implementing and operating & maintaining of in-village water supply infrastructure. All villages have to prepare Village Action Plan (VAP) which essentially will comprise of development/ augmentation of drinking water sources, water supply, grey-water management and operation and maintenance component. It was also suggested to take up IEC campaign along with community mobilization to make Jal Jeevan Mission, truly a people’s movement.

Government of India is committed to provide assured basic services to the people living in rural areas of the country with focus on improving their lives. Drinking water supply is a service delivery, wherein the quantity, quality of water supplied and periodicity of water supply has to be ensured for which the flagship programme, Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) is under implementation in partnership with States. The objective of the Mission is universal coverage i.e. every family in the village gets tap water connection in their households.

Under Jal Jeevan Mission, priority is being given on water quality surveillance through active participation of the local community. 5 persons especially women are being trained in every village to use the Field Test Kits to test the quality of water being provided in the rural areas. Every source needs to be tested once every year for physical and chemical parameters and twice for bacteriological contamination. The State of Uttarakhand was also advised to complete the accreditation of State and district laboratories in next 3-4 months and also to open those for public so that they can test the quality of water supplied at very nominal rate.

Diesel Gen Sets soon to go obsolete?

Cars to Construction, Battery changing many businesses


The world is passing through a crucial urbanisation and decarbonisation. There is a global shift taking place from internal combustion engines to electric motors. Growing air pollution from transport sector has resulted in a range of electric vehicles being launched in India as well, especially in the past one year or so. Heavy industries such as construction, largely powered by diesel, account for a large part of carbon emissions. And therefore, the battery revolution is moving further to highways to the construction sector. Hong Kong based AMPD Energy is offering a state of the art battery system with high output power electronics that powers the most demanding of loads with no direct tailpipe emissions.

Construction today is powered by diesel generators to meet the heavy power draw of large machinery. The wrath of air pollution in the winters lead to stoppage of diesel generators running due to intermittent regulatory measures, which ultimately causes delay in project execution and project handover. In such a situation, AMPD Energy’s Enertainer, a massive lithium-ion connected battery system, which is powering the giant cranes that erect high-rises, may prove vital. Ampd sells and leases the Enertainers, which are filled with enough lithium-ion, nickel, cobalt and manganese batteries to power 25,000 iPhones. Over 30,000 automotive grade battery cells, designed into fire and explosion-proof battery modules driven by high performance power electronics. Features, hardware and software carefully designed for the specific needs of construction sites.

Though construction cranes run on electricity, they have tended to use diesel generators because the massive power consumption that could drain local grids and risk blackouts. As claimed by AMPD Energy batteries can draw barely noticeable sips from the network all day and night in order to provide the huge discharges required by the builders. The company claims multiple benefits beyond zero end of pipe emissions, for example no diesel, no fire hazards. The product also significantly reduce noise pollution by 10 times as claimed by the manufacturers. Eliminating diesel generators envisages reduction in street-level pollution due to air pollutants, noise and vibration, and also land pollution, which may lead to groundwater contamination, due to spillages of diesel and lubricating oil.

Until recently, battery-powered construction would have been too expensive a proposition. But lithium-ion battery costs have plunged 90% in the past decade as manufacturers gain experience assembling them for electric vehicles, according to BloombergNEF.

Though initial cost of installation and operational expenditure, besides efficiency and reliability could be the trigger points for the success of such products. The legal aspects pertaining to safety requirements, which is not clear at this stage, as compared to diesel generator sets could also be a salient feature.

Brandon Ng, Co-founder and CEO at Ampd Energy states that over the next 40 years, the world will be building equivalent to a new Paris every week, in order to support the hyper-urbanisation of humanity. Ampd Energy is leading the charge to enable us to build the megacities of tomorrow, sustainably.

"75% of the entire population of Greater One-horned Rhinoceros now occurs in India": Babul Supriyo on World Rhino Day

22.09.2020, New Delhi: Some species of rhinoceros are among the world’s most endangered animals, threatened by both habitat loss and poaching. The coronavirus pandemic is forcing us to think deeply about human beings’ relationship with the natural world on which we all depend for our survival. Sound and sustainable wildlife management is, therefore, likely to receive greater attention in the post-COVID-19 world. Here’s one example of an ongoing project in South Africa.

On the eve of World Rhino Day, Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate, Babul Supriyo congratulated the frontline forest staff and officials for working tirelessly to save Rhinos and said that India has been successfully saving its Rhinos and the country is one of the best places for them.

Speaking on the the population of Greater One-horned Rhinoceros which reached to the brink of extinction by the end of the 20th century with fewer than 200 animals in wild, the Minister said timely efforts and stringent protection and management of the Government of India and the State Governments have revived the population of Rhinos in the country and we are walking in the right direction for a better future for the iconic species. Today, approximately 75% of the entire population of Greater One-horned Rhinoceros now occurs in India in the three States viz, Assam, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Census of Rhinoceros is undertaken at the State-level by the respective State Governments periodically.

The World Rhino Day is celebrated every year on 22nd September to emphasize the importance of conservation of Rhinoceros species and its habitats. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India celebrated the World Rhino Day, 2020 through virtual platforms in the esteem presence of Shri Babul Supriyo, Hon’ble Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The senior officials of the Ministry, State Forest Departments and other organizations such as Central Zoo Authority, WWF-India, Aaranayak, and UNDP etc. also attended the meeting.

Efforts are currently ongoing in the country to protect the existing rhino population and also to increase the distribution of the species through the Indian Rhino Vision (IRV) 2020 programme. Success was achieved in restocking the rhino population in the World Heritage Site Manas National Park recently through wild to wild translocations. One-horned Rhinoceros is also one of the 21 species identified for Recovery programme for critically endangered species by the Ministry. The Ministry has also launched the “National Conservation Strategy for the Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros” with the goal to repopulate Rhinoceros population in those areas also which used to hold the Rhinoceros earlier by augmenting the existing conservation efforts and strengthening them through scientific and administrative measures.

The Ministry and the State Forest Departments of the Assam, Uttar Pradesh &West Bengal with support from other organizations are taking appropriate steps in accordance with the “New Delhi Declaration” which was signed after the 2nd Asian Rhino range States Conservation meeting held on 26th-28th February, 2019 at MoEF&CC, New Delhi wherein representatives from Bhutan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Nepal attended the meeting besides India.

Initiatives have been undertaken by the State Governments such as West Bengal and Bihar are also working for the reintroduction of the Rhinoceros in the areas which used to hold the Rhino populations till a few decades back.

The Minister also informed that an alpha male Rhino shall be translocated from Patna zoo to Delhi zoo.

Jal Jeevan Mission encourages innovations for Smart supply measurement and monitoring system

20.09.2020, New Delhi: Monitoring has been crux of success of all programmes. National Jal Jeevan Mission in partnership with Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEITY) has launched an ICT Grand Challenge to create innovative, modular, and cost-effective solution to develop a ‘Smart Water Supply Measurement and Monitoring System’ to be deployed at the village level. The ICT grand challenge will be inviting proposal from Indian Tech start-ups, MSMEs, Indian Companies, Indian LLPs.

Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) aims at providing Functional Household Tap Connection (FHTC) to every rural household by 2024. The programme focuses on service delivery at the household level, i.e. water supply regularly in adequate quantity and of prescribed quality. This necessitates the use of modern technology in systematic monitoring of the programme and to capture service delivery data automatically for ensuring the quality of services. Digitisation of water supply infrastructure has the potential to solve some of the biggest societal problems facing the nation. More importantly, it will help anticipate and address future challenges.

This grand challenge will harness the vibrant IoT eco-systems of India for creating smart rural water supply eco-system. This challenge will provide opportunity to work for cause of Jal Jeevan Mission and to assure potable water supply through Functional Household Tap Connections to every rural household.

The Grand challenge will provide support at ideation Stage, prototype development stage, deployment stage. The pilot will be conducted at 100 villages. The best solution will get cash prize of Rs. 50 Lakh and runner ups will get prize of Rs. 20 Lakh each. The successful developers will be given an opportunity to join the MEITY supported incubator/ CoEs for further nurturing of their solution. This will boost the idea and thrust of initiatives like Atmanirbhar Bharat, Digital India and Make in India.

Details of the challenge can be seen in https://jjm.gov.in/

Advance Action for Air Pollution Management in NCR region initiated by PMO led Panel

19.09.2020, New Delhi: As air pollution is shooting up with monsoon setting off, the Prime Minister's Office has initiated advance action for the management of air pollution in Delhi-NCR. A High-level taskforce led by Dr. P. K. Mishra, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister met on 18th September 2020 to review action taken by agencies and to firm up plans for the coming season. Dr. P. K. Mishra chaired the meeting constituted to improve the air quality in National Capital Region of Delhi. Chief Secretaries of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, Secretaries of different Departments, Ministries of the Central Government including Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Agriculture, Road, Petroleum and Central Pollution Control Board were present in the meeting.

Principal Secretary to Prime Minister emphasized that the meeting was called well in advance before the onset of harvesting and winter season to ensure proper precautionary and preventive measures to combat the causes of air pollution are taken well in time.

A review of the main sources of air pollution, measures taken and the progress made by the State Governments and various Ministries was carried out. It was noted that the incidence of stubble burning has reduced by more than 50% in last two years and the number of Good AQI days have gone up.

The efforts and plan made by the State of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh for control of crop residue burning were examined in detail, including ground level deployment and availability of machinery for in-situ management of crop residue.

It was observed that after recent inclusion of residue based power and fuel plants under priority sector lending by Reserve Bank of India, both State and Central Governments should jointly work out action plans for rapid deployment of such units. Measures related to diversification of crop and strengthening of supply chains were also discussed.

Dr. Mishra highlighted the importance of effective implementation of the existing in-situ management of crop residue scheme of Ministry of Agriculture by the States, and emphasized that State Governments should ensure that the new machinery to be deployed in the current year should reach the farmers before the start of the harvesting season. Ministry of Agriculture was directed to provide all necessary support in this regard.

To control stubble burning, it was stressed that adequate number of teams should be deployed at ground level and they should ensure that no stubble burning takes place especially in the State of Punjab, Haryana and UP. These States need to put extra efforts and appropriate incentives especially in the relevant districts.

Government of GNCT-Delhi was requested to ensure measures to control local sources of pollution. Principal Secretary mentioned that special emphasis should be laid on deployment of teams for control of open burning of waste, IT-enabled monitoring of mechanical road sweepers, improvement in utilization of construction & demolition waste and site specific implementation of action plan for identified hot spots. It was decided that Haryana and Uttar Pradesh would prepare and implement similar site specific action plans in their area falling under NCR.

Principal Secretary emphasized that the envisaged measures should be implemented well before the onset of severe conditions, and focus should also be laid on compliance of emission norms by industry in satellite industrial area.

8 beaches of India recommended for a coveted “Blue Flag” International eco-label

18.09.2020, New Delhi: On the eve of International Coastal Clean-Up Day which is celebrated across 100 countries since 1986, Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) announced at a virtual event that for the first time eight beaches of India are recommended for the coveted International eco-label, the Blue flag certification. The recommendations are done by an independent National Jury composed of eminent environmentalists & scientists. Blue Flag beaches are considered the cleanest beaches of the world. The eight beaches are Shivrajpur in Gujarat, Ghoghla in Daman&Diu, Kasarkod and Padubidri beach in Karnataka, Kappad in Kerala, Rushikonda in Andhra Pradesh, Golden beach of Odisha and Radhanagar beach in Andaman and Nicobar.

Union Environment Minister, Shri Prakash Javadekar who couldn’t attend the event due to the ongoing parliament session, said through a video message that the government is committed to clean the beaches across the country. He said, clean beaches are the testimony to environment in the coastal area. He said, the issue of marine litter and oil spilling has caused disturbances to the aquatic life and the Government of India is undertaking various efforts for the sustainable development of coastal regions.

The event also saw the launch India’s own eco-label BEAMS by e-hoisting the flag -#IAMSAVINGMYBEACH simultaneously at these eight beaches. SICOM, MoEFCC in pursuit of promoting its policies for sustainable development in coastal regions have embarked upon a highly acclaimed program “BEAMS” (Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services) under its ICZM (Integrated Coastal Zone Management) project. This is one of the several other projects of ICZM that Govt of India is undertaking for the sustainable development of coastal regions, striving for globally recognized and the coveted eco-label ‘Blue flag”.

The flag hoisting program was conducted simultaneously at these 08 beaches virtually from MOEFCC and physically at the beaches by respective States/UTs through its MLAs and/or Chairman of Beach Management Committees (BMCs).

Speaking on the occasion, Union Environment Secretary, Shri R.P. Gupta said that high standards are being maintained to clean the beaches to keep environment safe and in the next four to five years 100 more beaches will be cleaned.

In a video message, World Bank’s country director Mr. Zunaid Khan applauded India’s efforts towards cleaning up the its beaches and said that India with its strategies for sustainable coastal zone management shall act as a lighthouse for other countries in the region.

With a view to protect and conserve the coastal and marine ecosystems and environment through a holistic coastal management, the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change launched the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) activities in India for a holistic approach with an interactive, dynamic, multidisciplinary, and iterative planning process to promote sustainable development & management of coastal zones through its own wing SICOM.

The concept of ICZM was introduced in 1992 during the Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro and most of the coastal countries in the World have been adopting ICZM principles for managing their coastal zones. Thus, adoption of ICZM principles for managing and sustainably developing our coastal regions is helping India in keeping with its commitments to international agreements on ICZM.

The objective of BEAMS program is to abate pollution in coastal waters, promote sustainable development of beach facilities, protect & conserve coastal ecosystems & natural resources, and seriously challenge local authorities & stakeholders to strive and maintain high standards of cleanliness, hygiene & safety for beachgoers in accordance with coastal environment & regulations. This program promotes beach recreation in absolute harmony with nature.

International Coastal Cleanup Day got its start in 1986 when Linda Maraniss met Kathy O’Hara while working for Ocean Conservancy. O’Hara had just completed a report called Plastics in the Ocean: More Than a Litter Problem. The two of them reached out to other ocean-lovers and organized a Cleanup for Ocean Conservancy. The first Cleanup consisted of 2,800 volunteers. Since that time, the Cleanup has grown into an international event in more than 100 countries.

National Water Policy

17.09.2020, New Delhi: To address the present challenges in water sector, revision of National Water Policy has been envisaged and a drafting committee has been constituted on 5th November 2019 to revise the National Water Policy within a term of six months. Due to the work being affected due to COVID-19 pandemic, the term of the Committee has been extended up to 31st October, 2020.The said committee is working towards finalizing its report at present.

The proposed National Bureau of Water Use Efficiency (NBWUE) will have the overall responsibility of improving water use efficiency across various sectors, namely irrigation, drinking water supply, power generation, industries, cities and all other areas where water is used.

This was stated by the The Minister of State for Jal Shakti & Social Justice and Empowerment, Shri Rattan Lal Katatria in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.

The first National Water Policy was adopted in September, 1987. It was reviewed and updated in 2002 and later in 2012.

G-20 Environment Minister Meeting addressed by Union Minister Prakash Javadekar

16.09.2020, New Delhi: Participating in the G20 Environment Ministers meeting today, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar stated that the world has to channel its best practices to deal with Climate Change. Emphasizing India’s achievements on land degradation neutrality, climate goals, the Union Minister said that India is committed to working with G20 nations for a better world and applauds the launch of the Global Initiative to reduce land degradation and coral reef program. He also highlighted India’s vast bio-diversity and ecosystem.

At a time when the world is arising out of the global pandemic of Covid-19, Union Minister Prakash Javedkar at the Environment Ministers Meeting reminded that countries who are today speaking on ambitious Climate goals and action for 2050, haven't done enough on Kyoto Protocol and also on commitments made at the Paris Agreement. The Minister called for urgent and concrete actions be taken by all countries to conserve and restore the environment.

Shri Prakash Javadekar also congratulated the Saudi Presidency for exemplary work in bringing together the nations of the world to address the urgent environmental challenges and propose impactful solution.

Waste Management Education by NPTEL

National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) has been conducting a programme “Integrated Waste Management for a Smart City”. This course emphasises on Integrated Solid Waste Management aspects within the broad subject area of Integrated Waste Management for a Smart City. The issues of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) management, Construction and Demolition (C&D) Waste and Electronic Waste Management are covered in this course. The programme discusses environmental impact of waste management and its relationship on the big picture sustainable development and smart city development.

The course diligently focus on various aspects of MSW management, such as: Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), Smart Cities, and Make in India. It deliberates on the challenges of waste management for smart cities taking case studies from the first list of 20 smart cities identified in the first phase for this program. The new rules and challenges of implementation with respect of C&D Waste and E-Waste Management are also included.

The course will be beneficial for B.Tech, M.Tech, B.Sc, M.Sc, Researchers, Faculty Members, engineers and professionals working in any area related to waste management, and also the Regulators (SPCB, CPCB and MOEF professionals) and policy makers.

NPTEL has been organizing this programme under the aegis of SWAYAM, initiated by Government of India and designed to achieve the three cardinal principles of Education Policy viz., access, equity and quality. The objective of this effort is to take the best teaching learning resources to all, including the most disadvantaged. SWAYAM seeks to bridge the digital divide for students who have hitherto remained untouched by the digital revolution and have not been able to join the mainstream of the knowledge economy. Courses delivered through SWAYAM are available free of cost to the learners.

Professor Brajesh Kr. Dubey, Associate Professor (Integrated Waste Management and Sustainable Engineering) in the Division of Environmental Engineering and Management at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, who has worked as Waste Management Expert for UN agencies and World Bank; is the major driving force of this programme.

Odisha gets Rs. 35 Crore from Centre on account of tiger & elephant conservation

14.09.2020, New Delhi: The Govt. of India has released over Rs. 35 Crore to Odisha during 2019-21 for the implementation of centrally sponsored schemes for tiger and elephant conservation.

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan informed that Odisha, which is one of the biodiversity rich states, has witnessed a direct impact of these conservation efforts. The minister said "Odisha, one of the most richly endowed state in biodiversity has witnessed a direct impact of these conservation efforts. #ProjectTiger and #ProjectElephant are addressing the threat of poaching and helping these majestic species thrive in their natural habitat."

"Modi govt’s consistent efforts are ensuring that #tigers continue to roar in the jungle", he added.

Pradhan stated, "Consistent efforts towards environmental sustainability and conservation of wildlife under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and stewardship of Prakash Javdekar has become a trailblazer for the revival of endangered animal species, like tigers and elephants in India."

Union Jal Shakti Minister and Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare highlighted Indian Government’s priorities in G-20 Agriculture and Water Ministers’ Meet

13.09.2020, New Delhi: A virtual meeting of G-20 Agriculture and Water Ministers held on 12.09.2020 was attended by G-20 Member countries and special invitees. Minister of Jal Shakti Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Minister of State (MoS) for Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare Shri Parshottam Rupala attended the meeting. In his opening remarks Shri Shekhawat thanked Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the current Presidency of G-20 and complemented Saudi Arabia for its exemplary leadership during this Covid-19 pandemic for successfully facilitating the dialogue among the member countries through virtual meetings. The Minister stated that technology plays a critical role in the prevailing pandemic situation and applauded India’s IT expertise which India shares with the whole world. He also praised Japan for its leadership during previous presidency and extended best wishes to Italy for the next presidency.

During the Saudi presidency G-20 discussion held on sustainable and resilient water management, thereby optimizing the impacts of water related activities in G-20 forum through collaboration, knowledge sharing on different aspects of water. In the last 10 months, number of meetings have been held among member countries to bring synergy and prepare roadmap for holistic water management. As a part of this dialogue, a 3-days meeting was organized by Saudi presidency during 10-12 September, 2020. Deputy Ministers, in-charge of water and agriculture, deliberated issues related to water and agriculture on 10thand 11thSeptember, 2020 and the Ministers of Agriculture and Water met on 12th September, 2020 to share their views.

TheMinister of Jal Shakti reiterated that India believes in the concept of ‘Universal brotherhood & Collective wisdom’ and will continue to play an active role in collaborative groups such as G-20. The Minister assured the Forum of India’s commitment to work tirelessly to contribute to the objectives, goals and targets set by G-20. The Minister appreciated G-20 and Saudi Presidency for emphasis given on water by initiating a separate dialogue on various aspects of water resources management.

Stating that agriculture is a high priority sector for Government of India, MoS, Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare, Shri Rupala mentioned about the policy measures taken by the government to ensure food security. He also reiterated India’s resolve to work together in collaboration to enhance the productivity, sustainable use of natural resources, development of agriculture value chain and promotion of trade for the benefit of people. He also informed about successful protocols developed by India to use drones for spraying of pesticides for timely control of the dessert locust, thereby appealing G-20 member countries to work in tandem to come up with an action plan for trans-boundary pest and diseases to safeguard agricultural crops. It was also emphasized about the progressive reforms and measures taken up by government of India to open up new agricultural market options, development of agricultural infrastructure, food processing enterprises, value chains and logistics for fisheries and animal husbandry, medicinal and herbal plants. Shri Rupala also appealed G-20 member countries to share knowledge and best practices to reduce the ill-effects of climate change that could affect agriculture and livelihoods of farmers.

The Minister of Jal Shakti highlighted the leadership and initiatives of Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi to address India’s water and sanitation issues.He informed that Government of India has takenseveral initiatives to improve the quality of life of its 1.37 billion people by implementing a 51 Billion USDollar programme, ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’ to provide household tap connections to 190 million rural homes, thereby ensuring drinking water security. Mentioning about Open Defecation Free India,it was informed about the efforts to sustain the gains of Swachh Bharat Mission, with more focus on solid and liquid waste management and grey water treatment and reuse.

India welcomed the new initiative of Saudi Presidency of sharing successful case studies/ best practices in water sector of G-20 member countries. The Minister offered toshare India’sexperience on irrigation development and optimal use of water resources to achieve food security.

India will be part of G-20 Troika from December, 2020 and host G-20 Presidency from December, 2021 to November, 2022 when India celebratesits 75 years of Independence, which will be anexcellent opportunity forG-20 member countries to explore the cultural heritage and various aspects of the world’s largest democracy and ancient civilization.

Thanking Saudi Presidency and G-20 member countrieson behalf of the Government of India, Shri Shekhawat expressed hope that various aspects of water will assume primacy in future G-20 dialogues, paving way for food security and integrated water resource management.

"State Govts. must act against sand mining mafias, ensure sustainable sand mining": Prakash Javadekar

11.09.2020, New Delhi: On the occasion of the 15th National Forest Martyrs Day, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, remembered and paid tribute to the martyrs who lost their lives while protecting India's invaluable fauna, flora and natural resources from forest fires, smugglers and mafias.

Expressing deep anguish about a forest staff who was killed by Sandalwood smugglers Shri Javadekar stated that amendments shall be made in regulations so that sandalwood can be cultivated more widely. Union Minister also paid tribute to all forest martyrs who lost their lives fighting forest fires and due to wildlife attacks by tigers, elephants and single horned rhino. Certificates were issued in remembrance of the forest personnel who laid their live while performing their duty in the year 2019-20.

Giving a stern warning to the Sand Mafias the Union Minister stated that the situation will be reviewed and those found not abiding shall be punished. The Union Minister stated that despite the new sustainable sand mining rules and regulations being passed, many states and regions are not abiding by the rules. A forest home guard Kewal Singh was mowed down by a tractor when he along with his colleague tried to stop suspected members of a mining mafia inside the Sariska Tiger Reserve in Alwar.

The Minister appealed to the state governments to take the issue of sand mining mafias seriously and impose strict laws to bring an end to the practice. He appeals that sustainable sand mining must be practiced so as to prevent the depletion of natural resources from river beds. In order to prevent the river beds from drying completely, sustainable sand mining must be practiced and killings of foresters or revenue staff working towards the initiative of sustainable sand mining is completely unacceptable and that steps will be taken to make sure the offenders are punished.

The impressive and extensive biodiversity of India is guarded by a dedicated workforce of Forest Officers and staff who relentlessly work towards the protection and improvement of this irreplaceable wealth. Over the years the department has lost its forest guardians while protecting the faunal & flora wealth of nature and also in the human wildlife conflicts.

It was in the recognition of exemplary valour and sacrifices made by the forest personnel, in various parts of the country for the protection of our environment, forest and wildlife, that the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Govt. of India had declared 11th September, as National Forest Martyrs Day.

The date September 11 was chosen as National Forest Martyrs Day due to its historical significance. On this day, in 1730, over 360 people of the Bishnoi tribe led by Amrita Devi, objected to the felling of trees and due to their protest to save the trees were killed in Khejarli, Rajasthan on the orders of the king. A foundation stone of the memorial pillar was laid on 3rd October 2012 at the Memorial site near Brandis Road, FRI, Dehradun. A Forester Memorial has also been raised in Forest Research Institue( FRI) campus, Dehradun to commemorate the sacrifices made by all those foresters who have laid down their lives in protecting the Forests and Biodiversity of our country.

Environment Ministry with Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) Aided Project “Capacity Development for Forest Management and Training of Personnel” in 13 states has been instrumental in bringing overall qualitative and quantitative improvements for frontline staff of the state Government. JICA has also indicated consent for second phase. For further strengthening the Ministry is also working on a SOP to support frontline staff and their family members.

“Only sustainability will save the humankind from the worst of nature furies” said Prakash Javadekar at CII’s 15th Sustainability Summit 2020 in New Delhi

09.09.2020, New Delhi: Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar has said, Indian Government is committed to reduce the carbon emissions. Addressing the special session on Action Agenda for Sustainable and Self Reliant India during the 15th Sustainability Summit 2020 organized by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in New Delhi on the 9th September 2020. He expressed hope that India will achieve the target of reducing carbon emissions by 35% in the next ten years. The Minister said, country’s solar power capacity has been increasing rapidly and noted that 68 countries have ratified the International Solar Alliance Agreement.

Talking about AatmaNirbhar Bharat programme of the Government launched by Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi to make India self-reliant, the Minister said, Aatmanirbharta is not cutting away from the world, it is more about engaging with the world. Innovation and research become the key. “The thrust is being given on innovation and research and efforts are being made to reduce imports and increase the exports.” He said, India should become a leader in innovations and start owning innovations as research and innovation is the key to take the country to next level in terms of development in the next decade or so.

The Environment Minister stated that it is important to achieve a green earth with clean air and blue skies, post COVID-19 despite the odds and that it is possible to do so, alongside industrial activity. Javadekar highlighted that pollution is inevitable when we progress and industrial activities goes up. However, it has to be within the permissible limits already prescribed. He stated that India has only 2.5 % of world’s land, 4% of freshwater resources and around 20% of world population but still has 8% of the world’s biodiversity because in the Indian culture, flora and fauna are part of life.

The Minister pitched for promoting sustainability as it can only save the humankind from worst nature fury. He appealed to the different nations to present their case studies in terms of promoting sustainability.

Highlighting the country’s achievement towards a greener growth in the past few years the Minister said, “India is walking the talk on climate change. Our work on Ujjwala, E Vehicles, BS-VI Engines, Biofuels, Clean air, and Disaster resilience pave the way for a sustainable and resilient India. Targeting 35% emission reduction, we have reached 21% and in 10 years, we will achieve the required 220 Giga Watt renewable power targets, of which a total of 87 Giga Watt including solar and wind has been achieved”, he said. He further elaborated that our energy mix in the installed capacity now includes 37% of renewable energy sources.

Speaking on compassionate capitalism for an Atmanirbhar Bharat, Mr. Sanjiv Puri, Chairman, Advisory Council, CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development and Chairman and Managing Director, ITC Limited, said that sustainability strategies are integral to the business, which is essential to transcend to a greener proposition. Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII, welcomed the Govt. Of India’s draft EIA 2020, and emphasised on the role of inclusive recovery for a self-reliant and sustainable India.

The Sustainability Summit is the annual flagship event of CII in sustainability, launched in 2006 to raise the bar of dialogue, practice and performance of sustainable business. The ‘15th Sustainability Summit – Action Agenda for the Next Decade’ is designed to focus on shaping up of the coming decade, incorporating learning from COVID-19 and reflecting how the drivers of innovation, technology and systems thinking can help us build a more sustainable next decade.

Earlier, speaking at a special session on the first day, 8th September 2020, on Circular Economy for Self-Reliant India at the 15th CII Sustainability Summit 2020, Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways, Commerce and Industry stressed on the importance of incorporating sustainable practices to create a Circular Economy, which he defined as a “profit economy”.

Spotlighting the 3Rs of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle and the Zero Effect and Zero Defect idea enunciated by the Prime Minister of India, Goyal talked about the importance of adopting sustainability as a way of life and focussing on sustainability for all endeavours. These, he emphasised, will not only help the environment but make India more globally competitive as well. He cited many examples where efficient waste management and the 3Rs have led to significant savings of resources such as water, while also curbing pollution and other deleterious effects of economic activity.

There is a strong need to educate the common man to get the best benefits out of a Circular Economy, he said, and urged the Confederation of Indian Industry to prepare a Compendium of 101 ideas to spread the message of sustainability and Circular Economy since “small changes can lead to spectacular transformation”.

A holistic approach and incentivising people, the Minister said, can play a significant role in creating a Circular Economy. As we look at reviving economic growth against the backdrop of the pandemic, a circular model of growth is best suited to revive sustainable growth and could also create 1.4 crore jobs in the next 5-7 years as estimated by NITI Aayog, he elaborated.

On 8th September 2020, speaking at the virtual inaugural session of the 15th Sustainability Summit, Dr. Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Cabinet Member and Minister of Climate Change and Environment, UAE said that Covid-19 has triggered an economic downturn on a global scale and that all recovery plans must have environmental protection as a priority because climate change remains the most important existential threat to humanity.

Dr Abdullah said that the pandemic has exposed weaknesses in the global supply chains, especially food supply, posing a risk to global food security. The UAE is, therefore, developing an integrated and sustainable food safety and security system using technology. In fact, the UAE Government is focussing on innovation and technological advancements to address environmental, societal and economic challenges, he added, specifically mentioning initiatives such as Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to increase the contribution of clean energy in the total energy mix from 25% to 50%, among other goals. He said India’s renewable energy journey has been truly impressive with the country pledging to generate 40% of its power from carbon-free sources by 2030 as part of its commitment to the Paris Agreement.

Recalling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s last visit to the UAE, he highlighted that UAE-India bilateral trade in 2018-19 stood at around US$ 60 billion and that there is increasing interest in investing in India in sectors such as renewable energy and food, even as more Indian companies look to invest in the UAE. Elaborating further, he said that at the 13th Session of the India-UAE joint commission meeting on trade, economic and technical cooperation held virtually, sectors such as infrastructure, logistics, food parks and renewable energy were identified and the UAE is keen to further strengthen linkages, especially in energy and food security, so that India and the UAE can build a sustainable future for the two countries as well as the world.

International Day of Clean Air for blue skies observed

07.09.2020, New Delhi: The first International Day of Clean Air for blue skies was observed today. Speaking at a webinar the Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has said that the government is committed to reduce the air pollution level in 122 most polluted cities. Underscoring the problem of Air Pollution the Environment Minister said that in 2014, the government launched the Air Quality Index (AQI) monitoring and today we are tracking the levels of Pollution on eight parameters. The minister also thanked Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi for bringing the issue of air pollution in his 74th Independence Day Speech and putting across the goal of holistic improvement in air quality in 100 cities.

Javadekar said that as India has migrated to BS-VI standards, quality of petrol and diesel has further improved in the country, which is significant to curb air pollution. He also emphasized the importance the roads and highways construction by the government at a record pace in the last few years in lessening air pollution as compared to previous times.

Stressing that States must now work with city specific plans, as every city has different source of pollution the Environment Minister said that the use of electric vehicle must be encouraged. He said, Brick kilns in various states should adopt zig zag technology to reduce pollution emerging out of them. The Union Minister said that people participation would be vital to clean the air. Car-pooling and use of public transport must be promoted.

In January last year, the Environment Ministry had launched National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) to tackle the problem of air pollution in a comprehensive manner with a target to achieve 20 to 30% reduction in PM 10 and PM 2.5 concentrations by 2024 keeping 2017 as base year. The plan identified earlier 102 non-attainment cities, across 23 States and Union Territories. 20 more non-attainment cities have been included under NCAP based on latest data trend on air quality.

The webinar which was organized by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on the occasion of first ever International Day of Clean Air For Blue Skies was attended by Principal Secretaries of the Urban Development Department and Environment Department of 28 states and 8 Union Territories. Commissioner of 122 cities as identified in NCAP programme also participated and put forth their experiences and best practices.

Shri Javadekar alongwith Minister of State, Shri Babul Supriyo and Secretary, MoEF&CC, Shri R P Gupta launched a brochure on Integrated Measures to Combat Air Pollution under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP).

Minister of State, MoEF&CC, Babul Supriyo emphasized on wider educating public and ensuring their participation in attainment of clean air, because it is the same air we all breathe, as air has no boundary.

R P Gupta, Secretary, MoEF&CC, stressed on 24x7 round the clock supply of quality electricity by the State Governments that could be significant to keep air pollution down.

Earlier on, Member Secretary CPCB shared a presentation on status report before the Ministers, and officials.

The General Assembly of United Nations on 19 December 2019 adopted a resolution to observe the International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies on 07th September every year starting from 2020. As per the presentation, 113 real-time and 468 manual monitoring systems have been installed across the nation. Realtime tracking of 5000 industries air emission is also taking place. He also emphasized on management of construction and demolition waste and composting of bio-degradable wastes.

The Day aims to:

  1. Raise public awareness at all levels—individual, community, corporate and government—that clean air is important for health, productivity, the economy and the environment.

  2. Demonstrate the close link of air quality to other environmental/developmental challenges such as – most and foremost – climate change and the global Sustainable Development Goals.

  3. Promote and facilitate solutions that improve air quality by sharing actionable knowledge best practices, innovations, and success stories.

  4. Bring together diverse international actors working on this topic to form a strategic alliance to gain momentum for concerted national, regional and international approaches for effective air quality management.

The General Assembly of United Nations on 19 December 2019 adopted a resolution to observe the International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies on 7th September every year starting from 2020.

CSIR-CMERI develops Affordable Solar Powered Battery based Sprayers to tackle Water Crisis in Agriculture

05.09.2020, New Delhi: Durgapur based Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI), the apex R&D institute for mechanical engineering under the aegis of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) which was recently in news for having developed the World’s Largest Solar Tree, is also working on many other solar and water conserving products vital for agricultural sector. CSIR-CMERI is working on methods to reduce water consumption required for irrigation. Initially, Drip irrigation was considered but later it was realised that Drip irrigation is not affordable for marginal to small farmers, who are the major stake holders in Indian Agrarian scenario. Those farmers use manual sprayers costing a few thousand rupees.

Pesticides play a major role in increasing crop productivity, but large amount of pesticide sprays is wasted due to lack of appropriate machinery, and soil, water and air become polluted. Due to such harmful effects of pesticides, there is an increasing pressure to reduce their use and make their spraying more efficient. To make efficient sprayer, there is need to understand science of surface tension, viscosity, wettability, air drag, dynamic pressure, particle size, etc. CSIR-CMERI developed two variants of battery operated spray systems one for “marginal famers” and other for “small farmers”. Back Pack Sprayer, having capacity of 5 litres, is made for “marginal farmers”, while the Compact Trolley Sprayer having capacity of 10 litres, is made for “small farmers”. These sprayers are equipped with two separate tanks, flow control and pressure regulator to handle different water requirements of the crops, target/site specific irrigation, maintaining appropriate dilution of pesticide/fungicide to control the pest (on foliage, under the leaves, at root zone etc.), creating water based micro-roughness of leaf surface, maintaining soil moisture levels in a narrow range, and weed control. The systems functions on Solar-Powered batteries, thus enabling its usage even in energy and power deprived agricultural regions of the Nation, thus reducing dependence on price volatile fossil fuels. The sprayers are simple to develop, easy to learn and implement, therefore will help to overcome water crisis faced by Indian farmers.

The flow control feature of the Sprayers helps achieve multiple levels of Water/Pesticide flow thereby enhancing the flexibility and dynamicity of the coverage area as well as the intensity of the application. The Dual-Chamber design of the Sprayers helps achieve a degree of resource versatility as it allows the system to carry two variants of liquids at any particular instant. As per experiments conducted at CSIR-CMERI, the engaged farmers have informed that it helps save 75% of Water and 25% time-consumption while using the CSIR-CMERI developed sprayers. This design element might also help reduce the time consumption for Spray based Agricultural applications, as the farmer need not empty the contents of a single vessel completely before using a different content.

CSIR-CMERI has already developed solar tree of capacity 1 Kwp, 3 kwp, 5 kwp, 6 kwp, 7.5 kwp and 11.5 kwp, which is now the Largest Solar Tree in the world.

Jal Jeevan Mission promotes Research and Development

03.09.2020, New Delhi: Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) is envisioned to provide safe and adequate drinking water through individual household tap connections by 2024 to all households in rural India. JJM aims at ensuring potable water supply of 55 litres per person per day and of prescribed quality to every rural household on regular and long-term basis. The mission is being implemented in partnership with States. As on date, out of the total 18,97,86,242 rural households, over 28% are provided tap connections. More than 1 lakh families are given tap water connections daily.

The rural drinking water supply is a complex subject with various social, environmental and technical challenges like geo-genic and anthropogenic water quality issues, long-term potable water supply in harsh edapho-climatic conditions and disaster-prone areas, measurement and monitoring of water service delivery, behaviour change management, cost-effective grey-water treatment and reuse etc. Thus, given the challenges and the knowledge gaps being faced while implementing the Jal Jeevan Mission with speed and scale along with the future of rural water security, there is a pressing need for significant research and innovation in the water supply sector.

Now, more than ever, National Jal Jeevan Mission will be supporting, promoting and cultivating research and innovation to solve the issue faced by water supply sector in rural areas. National Jal Jeevan Mission is inviting proposals from young innovators, researchers, academia, entrepreneurs, start-ups working in this sector to provide cost-effective solutions and fill knowledge gaps. Further, the Department/ National Mission/ SWSM will conduct action research and concurrent evaluation studies for adopting evidence-based technical intervention to manage rural water supply efficiently, effectively and economically. These R&D projects under Jal Jeevan Mission will facilitate in building partnership with scientists and R&D institutions, innovators, entrepreneurs and create useful knowledge that will help in in addressing various challenges in the drinking water sector so as to improve the lives of people.

To read R&D guidelines is available on the Departmental portal click here. All interested individual/ agencies/ institutions may use this opportunity and apply their proposals.

Oil India not to carry out post-capping environmental studies?

02.09.2020, New Delhi: Oil India Limited (OIL) after 80 days finally became successful in capping on 17th August 2020. Now, there was an attempt to kill the well by injecting killing fluids into the well. However due to rupture of a casing valve the killing operation had to be suspended. The well condition is being assessed for continuing with the well control operations. In the meanwhile several other options like drilling of relief wells are being actively evaluated. State Government has again been requested to allot land for drilling relief wells.

A fire broke out at the Baghjan Oil Field on Tuesday, where a major blowout took place on 27th May 2020. This came days after the OIL warned that gas was still leaking “uncontrollably” out of the plant and said the company was adopting measures to avert a blaze. The incident occurred at well number five of the plant and no immediate casualties were reported. Images taken at the site of the blaze showed dark clouds of smoke billowing from the plant and engulfing the premises. The incident has triggered panic among the residents of the Baghjan village, where the gas-producing well is located.

The company has issued a statement on 19th August 2020 that data collection at site have been completed for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study by various agencies, viz.M/s TERI, M/s ERM, M/s CSIR-NEIST, IIT-Guwahati. Analysis/study on collected data is in progress by respective agencies. OIL’s in-house monitoring of Air quality/Noise level/Gas presence is being continued. Bio remediation activities at affected areas are in progress.

However, it is noteworthy that earlier on 24th July 2020 OIL stated that the ecological survey carried out in the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park (DSNP), Maguri-Motapung Beel and Baghjan area. Environment Monitoring has been completed prior to Capping of well. Post monitoring of the well will be carried out after capping of the well. OIL has assigned the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study to a NABET accredited consultant, ERM India Pvt. Ltd. OIL engaged The Energy Research Institute (TERI) for bio-remediation for impact of blowout on environment and site assessment. Alongside, it was reported that regular monitoring of Air quality, Water quality, Noise level and presence of Gas with lower explosive limit is being carried out by OIL at wellsite. Study using seismological technique on tremor report from the neighboring areas was conducted by Council of Scientific & Industrial Research – North East Institute of Science & Technology, Jorhat facilitated by Govt. of Assam. Necessary arrangements were made for the seismologists to come to site with requisite equipment and the pertinent recording is in progress for seismological study in the vicinity of Baghjan-5 well. And, IIT- Guwahati conducted the study on Thermal Mapping and Sonic Measurement. The team from IIT Guwahati completed data collection for thermal imaging and sound measurement at required areas under guidance of district officials and OIL team. Interpretation of the data will be carried out using specialized software at IIT Guwahati and the report will be submitted soon.

It is therefore important in the part of OIL to conduct the post-capping environmental studies and also share information on pre-capping environmental status.

The company has reported a total of 30,677Metric Tonnes of Crude Oil and 72.21Million Metric St. Cubic Meter of Natural Gas have been lost respectively as a result of protests/blockades/ bandhs in and around Baghjan area since 27thMay, 2020 due to the Blowout. Your Response

Ministry of Jal Shakti launches Water Heroes Contest 2.0

02.09.2020, New Delhi: A fresh impetus to its primary objective to make water conservation a people’s movement and strengthen the water consciousness in India, the Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) has launched the ‘Water Heroes – Share Your Stories’ Contest from 1st September 2020. The contest aims to reach out to people on the important subject of water conservation and management.

Through this Water Heroes Contest, MoJS hopes to encourage and collate best practices in water conservation from across the nation. The programme also targets to disseminate such efforts across India to encourage more transformational efforts in this area. Every month, from September, 2020 onwards, entries would be invited for consideration of awards. Every month a maximum of 10 entries can be considered for the awards. All selected entries will be awarded a cash prize of Rs. 10,000 each and a certificate.

To take part in the contest, the participants will have to post their success stories on water conservation through a specially made video of 1-5 minutes, along with a write-up of up to 300 words and some photographs depicting the efforts and significant contributions to conserve and manage water resources. The participants can share their videos with the link of their YouTube video on the MyGov portal (www.mygov.in). In addition to the MyGov portal, the entries can also be submitted at waterheroes.cgwb@gmail.com. The participants are also advised to mention only the YouTube links of their videos in the comments section and not upload the entire video-there.

This series of Contest will end on 31st August 2021.

India aims for 100 million tonnes (MT) coal gasification by 2030

01.09.2020, New Delhi: India aims for 100 million tonnes (MT) coal gasification by 2030 with investments worth over Rs. 4 lakh crores, said Shri Pralhad Joshi, Union Minister of Coal and Mines. Addressing a webinar on Coal Gasification and Liquefaction, Shri Joshi said that Coal Gasification and Liquefaction is no more an aspiration, but a requirement. He added that for encouraging use of clean sources of fuel, government has provided for a concession of 20% on revenue share of coal used for gasification. He emphasized that this will boost production of synthetic natural gas, energy fuel, urea for fertilisers and production of other chemicals. The webinar was organised by Ministry of Coal (MoC) in New Delhi for discussing the road map for achieving the target. The webinar was attended by around 700 delegates from Government of India, CIL and the coal sector.

Reiterating on government’s commitments for green initiatives in the coal sector, Shri Joshi said that Coal Gasification and Liquefaction are well in the government’s agenda and various actions have been taken for development of Surface Coal Gasification in India. A Steering Committee has been constituted in this regard under the chairmanship of Dr. V.K. Saraswat, Member, NITI Aayog comprising of members from the Ministry of Coal. CIL has also planned to set up at least 3 gasification plants (besides Dankuni) on BOO basis through global tendering and has signed an MOU with GAIL for marketing synthetic natural gas.

Shri Joshi urged the attendees of the session to explore more about technologies & other aspects in Coal Gasification sector, in line with our country’s SWOT analysis. He added that this will help in harnessing nation’s reserves for maximum utilisation while heading on the path to sustainability, as per global standards.

The primary concern in coal gasification may be appropriate handling of ash and slag, which is quite attainable.