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28 Jul, 2020

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Draft Environmental Impact Assessment ,2020


Draft Environmental Impact Assessment ,2020

  • The draft notification is issued under the powers vested in the central government under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 to take all such measures for “protecting and improving the quality of the environment.
  • According to the government, the new notification is being brought in order to make the process more transparent and expedient by the implementation of an online system, further delegation, rationalisation and standardisation of the process. However, the environmentalist said that the draft will further dilute the EIA process.

Case related to EIA:

  • In the Samarth Trust Case, the Delhi high court had considered EIAs- a part of participatory justice in which the voice is given to the voiceless and it is like a Jan Sunwai, where the community is the jury.

Issues pertaining to draft EIA Notification 2020

1. Post-Facto Approval

  • The new draft allows for post-facto approval for projects. It means that the clearances for projects can be awarded even if they have started construction or have been running phase without securing environmental clearances.
  • This also means that any environmental damage caused by the project is likely to be waived off as the violations get legitimised.
  • As the only remedy would be to impose a fine or punishment; but that would not reverse the detrimental consequences on the environment.
  • Post facto approval is the derogation of the fundamental principles of environmental jurisprudence and violation of the “precautionary principle,” which is a principle of environmental sustainability.
  • In 2017, post-facto clearance given to projects in Tamil Nadu was struck down by the Madras high court.

2. Public Consultation Process

  • The draft notification provides for a reduction of the time period from 30 days to 20 days for the public to submit their responses during a public hearing for any application seeking environmental clearance.
  • The danger is that if adequate time is not given for the preparation of views, comments and suggestions to those who would be affected by the project, then such public hearings would not be meaningful.
  • Unless a public hearing is meaningful, the whole EIA process would lack transparency and credibility.
  • Further, the reduction of time would particularly pose a problem in those areas where information is not easily accessible or areas in which people are not that well aware of the process itself.

3. Compliance Report Issue

  • The 2006 notification required that the project proponent submit a report every six months, showing that they are carrying out their activities as per the terms on which permission has been given.
  • However, the new draft requires the promoter to submit a report only once every year.
  • During this period, certain irreversible environmental, social or health consequences of the project could go unnoticed because of the extended reporting time.
  • For example, if a mining project is being carried out at someplace which can be potentially hazardous to the nearby population and can contaminate the air, and water nearby, a half-yearly compliance report would better help in addressing these concerns.

4. Bypassing EIA Process

  • Through the draft notification, the central government gets the power to categorise projects as “strategic.”
  • Once a project is considered as strategic, the draft notification states that no information related to such projects shall be placed in the public domain.
  • Violations can only be reported suo motu by the project proponent, or by a government authority, appraisal committee, or regulatory authority. This is against the principles of natural justice.
  • Further, the draft notification states that the new construction projects up to 1,50,000 square metres (instead of the existing 20,000 square metres) do not need “detailed scrutiny” by the Expert Committee, nor do they need EIA studies and public consultation.

Way Forward

  • The ministry, instead of reducing the time for public consultation, should focus on ensuring access to information as well as awareness about the public hearing and its impact upon the whole EIA process.
  • In order to improve ease of doing business, the government should bring down the average delay of 238 days in granting environmental clearance, that emanates from bureaucratic delays and complex laws.
  • Grow now, sustain later should not be the policy, as the notion is dangerously tilted against the concept of sustainable development.
  • With the EIA, we also need Social impact assessment to achieve sustainable development in true sense

Source: TH/WEB

Mission Indradhanush


Mission Indradhanush

Report on Immunization among ChildrenNational Statistical Office (NSO) released a report on immunization among children. The survey was conducted during July 2017-June to 2018.

Highlights of the report -

  • Around 60% of children under five years of age were fully immunized.
  • This includes about 59% of boys and 60% of girls across the country who had been fully immunized with all eight prescribed vaccinations (BCG, OPV- 1, 2,3, DPT- 1,2,3 and measles).
  • In rural India (58%) and Urban (62%) were fully immunized.
  • Majority of the children rec
    eived vaccination from government hospitals or clinics.

Mission Indradhanush

The Government will launch the second phase of nationwide immunisation drive, i.e. Intensified Mission Indradhanush 2.0, to mark the 25 years of the Pulse polio programme.

  • Intensified Mission Indradhanush 2.0 aims to achieve at least 90% pan-India immunisation coverage by 2022.
  • Mission Indradhanush, which was launched in December 2014, has increased India’s immunisation coverage significantly to 87% from 67% in 2014.
  • However, official data on India’s immunisation coverage is still 62%, given to the National Family Health Survey-4 (2015-16).

Immunization Programme in India

  • The immunization Programme in India was introduced in 1978 as ‘The Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI) by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • In 1985, the Programme was modified as the ‘Universal Immunization Programme (UIP)’. The stated objectives of the Programme include:
    • Rapidly increasing immunization coverage,
    • Improving the quality of services,
    • Establishing a reliable cold chain system to the health facility level,
    • Introducing a district-wise system for monitoring of performance,
    • Achieving self-sufficiency in vaccine production.
  • UIP prevents mortality and morbidity in children and pregnant women against 12 vaccine-preventable diseases. But in the past, it was seen that the increase in immunization coverage had slowed down and it increased at the rate of 1% per year between 2009 and 2013.
  • To accelerate the coverage, Mission Indradhanush was envisaged and implemented since 2015 to rapidly increase the full immunization coverage to 90%.

Mission Indradhanush

  • The aim is to fully immunize more than 89 lakh children who are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated under UIP.
  • It targets children under 2 years of age and pregnant women for immunization.
  • It provides vaccination against 12 Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (VPD) i.e. diphtheria, Whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, hepatitis B, meningitis and pneumonia, Hemophilus influenza type B infections, Japanese encephalitis (JE), rotavirus vaccine, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) and measles-rubella (MR).
  • However, Vaccination against Japanese Encephalitis and Haemophilus influenzae type B is being provided in selected districts of the country.
  • It is a nationwide initiative with a special focus on 201 high-focus districts. These districts accounted for nearly 50% of the total partially vaccinated or unvaccinated children in the country.
  • The rate of increase in full immunization coverage increased to 6.7% per year through the first two phases of ‘Mission Indradhanush’.

Intensified Mission Indradhanush

  • The Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) was launched by the Government of India in 2017 to reach each and every child under two years of age and all those pregnant women who have been left uncovered under the routine immunisation programme.
  • Under IMI, greater focus has been given to urban areas which were one of the gaps of Mission Indradhanush.
  • The target under IMI was to increase the full immunization coverage to 90% by December 2018. However, only 16 districts in the country have achieved 90% coverage so far.
  • The Intensified Mission Indradhanush 2.0 will target the districts which have immunisation coverage of 70% or below.

Pulse Polio Immunization Programme

  • With the global initiative of eradication of polio in 1988 following the World Health Assembly resolution in 1988, the Pulse Polio Immunization programme was launched in India in the financial year 1994-95.
  • It was started with the objective of achieving a hundred per cent coverage under Oral Polio Vaccine.
  • Children in the age group of 0-5 years are administered polio drops during national and sub-national immunization rounds (in high-risk areas) every year.
  • WHO on 24th February 2012 removed India from the list of countries with active endemic wild poliovirus transmission and in 2014, India was declared Polio free.
  • As a risk mitigation measure, the country has also introduced Inactivated Polio Vaccine across the country in all states.

Partners’ Forum is short for the meeting of The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (The Partnership, PMNCH).

  • The Partnership, PMNCH is an alliance of more than 1,000 organisations in 192 countries. The organisations work in the sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health communities, as well as health influencing sectors.
  • The Partnership is governed by a Board, and administered by a Secretariat hosted at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

IMR and MMR data

  • India's infant mortality rate (IMR 2016) is 34 deaths per 1,000 live births.
  • India’s maternal mortality rate (MMR 2016) is 130 per 100,000 live births.

Source: PIB

Vriksharopan Abhiyan


Vriksharopan Abhiyan

Union Home Ministry has recently launched the campaign “Vriksharopan Abhiyan”. It is being organized by the Ministry of Coal which involves all coal and lignite PSUs.

It is a part of the going green Initiative of the Ministry of Coal. Under this initiative, large-scale plantations will be carried out in colonies, offices, and mines and in other suitable areas of coal and Ignite PSUs.

Seedlings will also be distributed under the campaign in the nearby areas for promoting plantation by society. Under this initiative six eco-parks were inaugurated by Home Ministry, it will provide avenues for adventure, water sports, recreation, bird watching, etc.

Going Green initiative involves maximization of green cover through ecological reclamation of the mined-out areas and overburden dumps, avenue plantation at suitable places, and plantation in and around the mines.

Source: PIB

Venus Coronae

GS-I : Human Geography Geomorphology

Venus Coronae

Researchers have recently studied the formation of Venus’ ring-shaped volcanic structures called “Coronae”. They are formed by plumes of molten rock rising from the mantle up through the crust.

This process is similar to how Earth’s volcanos function. Interestingly, most of Earth’s volcanism occurs along the boundaries of tectonic plates, but modern Venus doesn’t seem to possess tectonic plates. They identified three dozen features on Venus, which they state could have been created by volcanism.

If this is true then it will potentially reshape our understanding of the planet and its evolution. Venus was earlier determined to be an inactive planet. However, now it is being said that the interior is still churning and can feed many active volcanoes.

Source: IE

Bubonic plague


Bubonic plague

Bubonic plague is a rare but serious zoonotic disease. It is caused by bacterial infection and transmitted by fleas from rodents.

It mainly results from the bite of an infected flea, and also from exposure to the body fluids from a dead plague-infected animal. There are no reports of human-to-human transmission of bubonic plague.

It is one of the three plagues caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. The other two are Septicaemic plague and Pneumonic plague. According to the WHO, it can kill an adult in less than 24 hours, if not treated in time.

Vaccine for the bubonic plague is available for individuals with high exposure to the plague. Recently a city in northern China sounded an alert after a suspected case of bubonic plague or ‘Black Death’ was reported.

Source: TH


GS-I : Social issues Youth


UNICEF launched Generation Unlimited India (YuWaah) in 2019. It is a multi-stakeholder alliance which aims to facilitate youth to gain relevant skills for productive lives and the future of work.

The target age group includes adolescent girls and boys. Its key mission is to promote among youth foundational skills, life skills and flexible learning and to identify and scale impactful delivery models.

Union Ministry of Youth Affairs has recently signed a Statement of Intent with YuWaah. The partnership aims to promote volunteerism among the youth of India as well as to help them transition from education and learning to productive work, skilling and being active citizens.

Source: PIB

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