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20 Apr, 2021

41 Min Read

National Green Tribunal and Mekedatu Project

GS-II : Indian Polity Quasi-judicial bodies

National Green Tribunal and Mekedatu Project

About Mekedatu Project:

  • Mekedatu, meaning goat’s leap, is a deep gorge situated at the confluence of the river Cauvery and its tributary Arkavathi.
  • Ontigondlu is the proposed reservoir site, situated in Ramanagara district in Karnataka about 100 km away from Bengaluru. It is in the midst of the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • The Rs. 9,000 crore project aims to store and supply water for drinking purposes for Bengaluru city. Around 400 megawatts (MW) of power is also proposed to be generated through the project.

Historical Perspective

  • The project was first approved by the Karnataka state government in 2017.
  • It received approval from the erstwhile Ministry of Water Resources for the detailed project report and is awaiting approval from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
  • The approval from MoEFCC is crucial because 63% of the forest area of the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary will be submerged.
  • 5,051 hectares of forests would be submerged, including 3,181 hectares in the sanctuary and 1,870 hectares in the reserve forest.
  • 4.75 thousand million cubic feet of water could be drawn from the reservoir to partially meet the drinking needs of Bengaluru.
  • Tamil Nadu has approached the Supreme Court (SC) against the project even if Karnataka has held that it would not affect the flow of water to Tamil Nadu.
  • In June 2020, during the Cauvery Water Management Authority’s meeting, Tamil Nadu reiterated its opposition to the project.

Why is Tamil Nadu opposing it?

  • Tamil Nadu is opposed to any project being proposed in the upper riparian unless it was approved by the Supreme Court.
  • Karnataka has no right to construct any reservoir on an inter-state river without the consent of the lower riparian state i.e. Tamil Nadu in this case.
  • The project is against the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) in which the SC held that no state can claim exclusive ownership or assert rights to deprive other states of the waters of inter-state rivers.
  • The CWDT and the SC have found that the existing storage facilities available in the Cauvery basin were adequate for storing and distributing water so Karnataka’s proposal is ex-facie (on the face of it) untenable and should be rejected outright.
  • It has also held that the reservoir is not just for drinking water alone, but to increase the extent of irrigation, which is in clear violation of the Cauvery Water Disputes Award.

What is the news?

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has closed proceedings against the Mekedatu dam project after finding merit in the Karnataka government’s submissions that requisite environmental clearances were pending consideration before the statutory authorities concerned.
  • The observations came when the green panel took suo motu cosgnisance of media reports on allegations of violations of environmental norms in the construction of the dam.
  • A Bench headed by the NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said, “We find merit in the submission of learned A-G (Attorney General) for the State of Karnataka that the media report does not mention that the issue of statutory environmental clearances is already pending consideration before the statutory authorities concerned. Even the very same media report has been mentioned by the State of Tamil Nadu in its submission before the Ministry of Jal Shakti...”
  • “Accordingly, proceedings before this Tribunal are closed without prejudice to rival contentions of the parties on the subject in proceedings pending before the statutory authority concerned and before the Supreme Court,” the Bench said, while observing that the State of Tamil Nadu had raised the issue before the apex court.
  • The Karnataka government had contended that the media report had failed to disclose the fact that the process of obtaining necessary clearances was pending before authorities. All issues, including those of environmental, forest and wildlife clearances, were already a subject matter of consideration before the authorities, it had said.
  • However, the counsel appearing for the Tamil Nadu government opposed the stand and submitted that the environmental issue be examined by the Tribunal.
  • “Further, the same issue has also been raised by the state of Tamil Nadu before the Supreme Court. Thus there is no need for this Tribunal to continue the suo motu proceedings,” the NGT said.
  • The news report in question stated that the construction of the dam would have adverse impact on forests and sanctuaries.

Source: TH

Inclusive Internet Index 2021

GS-II : Important reports Important reports

Inclusive Internet Index 2021

Inclusive Internet Index 2021 has recently been released by Facebook.

About Inclusive Internet Index, 2021

  • Facebook commissioned the Inclusive Internet Index, 2021, and The Economist Intelligence Unit develops the index.
  • It seeks to measure the extent of accessibility and affordability of the Internet. Also, the internet should be able to enable positive social and economic outcomes at the individual and group levels.
  • The index assesses the performance of 120 countries representing 98% of global GDP and 96% of the global population.
  • The Index score is based on the scores of 4 categories;
    1. Availability: It examines the quality and breadth of available infrastructure required for access and levels of Internet usage.
    2. Affordability: It examines the cost of access relative to income and the level of competition in the Internet marketplace.
    3. Relevance: It also examines the existence and extent of local language content and relevant content.
    4. Readiness: Furthermore, it examines the capacity to access the Internet. It includes skills (literacy), cultural acceptance, and supporting policy. Literacy measures the level of education and preparedness to use the Internet

Key Findings Related to India:

  • India ranked 49th out of 120 countries in the Index.
  • India is set to reach one billion internet users by 2025. There were over 687.6 million internet users in India in 2020.

Other Findings:

  • Sweden ranks 1st in the index, followed by the US and Spain.
  • The majority of countries (77 out of 120) saw improvements in internet inclusion overall, in part because of increased availability.
  • People in low and lower-middle-income countries relied more on online education during the pandemic in comparison to wealthier countries.

Source: TH

India’s First “Disc Footed Bat found in Meghalaya

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Conservation

India’s First “Disc Footed Bat found in Meghalaya

Researchers from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) have discovered India’s first disc footed bat near the Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary in Meghalaya.

About Disc Footed Bat:

  • This bat (Eudiscopus denticulus) is a bat species that is very different. It has a flat skull, prominent disk-like pads in the thumb, and bright orange colouration.
  • This bat rests inside bamboo internodes. Their sticky disks and flattened skull help them in this.
  • So far, this species only thrive in Southern China, Vietnam, Thailand, and Myanmar.
  • The disc-footed bat is genetically very different from all other bats bearing disc-like pads.

Significance of this discovery:

  • The disc footed has raised Meghalaya’s bat count to 66, the most for any State in India.
  • It has also helped add a genus and species to the bat fauna of India taking the species count of the flying mammal in the country to 130.

Source: TH

“Gender Samvaad” Event by Ministry of Rural Development

GS-I : Indian Society Social Inclusion

“Gender Samvaad” Event by Ministry of Rural Development

The Ministry of Rural Development recently organized the Gender Samvaad Event.

About Gender Samvaad Event:

  • Gender Samvaad is a cooperation between Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission(DAY-NRLM) and Initiative for What Works to Advance Women and Girls in the Economy (IWWAGE).
  • It aims to generate greater awareness about gender-related interventions under DAY-NRLM across the country. It focuses on hearing opinions from the states and the field.

Activities under Gender Samvaad: Gender Samvaad provides states with opportunities to:

  • Understand best practices/initiatives that other states are undertaking to improve women’s organisations.
  • Understand gender interventions globally;
  • Engage with experts and other colleagues on suggestions regarding how to handle issues/implementation barriers;
  • The creation of a ‘gender repository’. It will have resource materials on best practices for gender interventions across the country/other countries;
  • Build advocacy on the need to focus on gender issues across State and National Rural Livelihoods Missions.


  • A Centrally Sponsored Scheme
  • It was launched by the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) in 2011 as a restructured version of Swarna Jayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojna(SGSY).
    • In 2015, the program was renamed as Deendayal Antayodaya Yojana(DAY-NRLM).
  • It looks to create efficient and effective institutional platforms for the rural poor.
  • It will enable SHGs to increase household income through sustainable livelihood enhancements and improved access to financial services.
  • The mission is aided in part through investment support by the World Bank.
  • The mission has set out an agenda to cover 7 Crore rural poor households through self-managed Self Help Groups(SHGs) and federated institutions. It will support them for livelihoods collectives in a period of 8-10 years.

Features of DAY-NRLM:

  • Social Mobilization: It will bring at least one woman member from each identified rural poor household, under the Self Help Group (SHG) network in a time-bound manner.
    • Special emphasis is, particularly on vulnerable communities.
  • Community Institutions: The Mission involves working with community institutions through community professionals to promote self-help.
  • Financial Inclusion – The mission works on both the demand and supply sides of financial inclusion.
    • On the demand side, it promotes financial literacy among the poor and provides capital to the SHGs.
    • On the supply side, it coordinates with the financial sector to encourage the use of financial technologies.

Convergence: The mission places a high emphasis on convergence with other programs of the MoRD and other Central Ministries. Convergence is also sought with programs of state governments for developing synergies directly or indirectly with institutions of the poor.


  • Initiative for What Works to Advance Women and Girls in the Economy(IWWAGE) is an initiative of LEAD.
  • LEAD is an action-oriented research center of IFMR Society (a not-for-profit society registered under the Societies Act).
  • It aims To build on existing research and generate new evidence to inform and facilitate the agenda of women’s economic empowerment.

Source: PIB

National Startup Advisory Council

GS-III : Economic Issues MSME

National Startup Advisory Council

The Minister of Commerce & Industry chaired the first meeting of the National Startup Advisory Council (NSAC) recently.

About the National Startup Advisory Council (NSAC):

  • National Startup Advisory Council (NSAC) was constituted by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade(DPIIT).
  • Its purpose is to advise the Government on measures required to build a strong ecosystem for nurturing innovation and startups in the country.

Functions of NSAC:

  • To foster a culture of innovation amongst citizens and students, in particular. Further, it also promotes innovation in all sectors of the economy across the country.
  • To facilitate public organisations to assimilate innovation. This includes innovations in improving public service delivery and promoting the creation, protection, and commercialization of intellectual property rights.
  • To make it easier to start, operate, grow and exit businesses. It aims to achieve this by reducing regulatory compliances and costs and promoting ease of access to capital for startups.

Composition of the National Startup Advisory Council:

  • Chairman: Minister for Commerce & Industry.
  • Convener of the Council: Joint Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade.
  • Ex-officio Members: Nominees of the concerned Ministries/ Departments/ Organisations not below the rank of Joint Secretary.
  • Non-official members: They are nominated by the Government from various categories like:
    • Founders of successful startups
    • Veterans who have grown and scaled companies in India
    • Persons capable of representing the interests of investors into startups, etc.
  • The term of the non-official members will be for a period of two years or until further orders whichever is earlier.

Source: PIB

WHO's Global Diabetes Compact Initiative

GS-II : Governance Health

WHO's Global Diabetes Compact Initiative

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently launched a Global Diabetes Compact Initiative.

About Global Diabetes Compact Initiative:

  • Global Diabetes Compact aims to reduce the risk of diabetes. It will ensure that all people diagnosed with diabetes have access to equitable, comprehensive, affordable, quality treatment and care.
  • This initiative launched at the Global Diabetes Summit.
  • WHO and the government of Canada Co-hosted the summit with the support of the University of Toronto.
  • Global Targets: The initiative will set standards for tackling the disease in the form of ‘global coverage targets’.
  • It will ensure a wider reach of diabetes care. A “global price tag” will also quantify the costs and benefits of meeting these new targets.

Need of Global Diabetes Compact

  • Diabetes is one of the major comorbid conditions. It is linked to severe COVID-19 infections.
  • The number of people with diabetes quadrupled in the last 40 years.
  • It is also the only major non-communicable disease for which the risk of dying early is going up rather than down.
  • About half of all adults with type 2 diabetes remain undiagnosed. And 50% of people with type 2 diabetes don’t get the insulin they need.

About Diabetes:

  • Diabetes is a Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin (a hormone that regulates blood sugar, or glucose) or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.

Types of Diabetes:

  • Type I diabetes: It is also known as juvenile diabetes (as it mostly affects children of age 14-16 years). It occurs when the body fails to produce sufficient insulin. People with type I diabetes are insulin-dependent which means they must take artificial insulin daily to stay alive.
  • Type 2 diabetes: It affects the way the body uses insulin. While the body still makes insulin, unlike in type I, the cells in the body do not respond to it as effectively as they once did. This is also the most common type of diabetes, and it has strong links with obesity.
  • Gestational diabetes: This type occurs in women during pregnancy when the body sometimes becomes less sensitive to insulin.

Source: TH

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