Following are the highlights of the initiatives and achievements during 2015:
COP 21 AT PARIS: Working Towards Climate Justice:
- India was able to secure its interest and that of developing countries in the Paris Agreement.
- The Paris Agreement has unequivocally acknowledged the imperative of climate justice and has based itself on the principles of equity and Common But Differentiated Responsibilities.
- The Agreement acknowledges the development imperatives of India and other developing countries.
- India Pavilion set up by the Government highlighted the initiatives taken by various Ministries, State Governments, Missions under National Action Plan on Climate Change, Industries, Civil Societies, NGOs etc. The Prime Minister inaugurated the Indian Pavilion and released “PARAMPARA”, a book on India’s culture and climate-friendly sustainable practices.
- Comprehensive and balanced INDC submitted, which includes Adaptation, Mitigation, requirement of Finance, Technology transfer, Capacity Building.
- To put forward and further propagate a healthy and sustainable way of living based on traditions and values of conservation and moderation.
- To adopt a climate-friendly and a cleaner path than the one followed hitherto by others at corresponding level of economic development.
- To reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 level.
- To achieve about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030 with the help of transfer of technology and low-cost international finance including from Green Climate Fund (GCF).
- To create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
- To better adapt to climate change by enhancing investments in development programmes in sectors vulnerable to climate change, particularly agriculture, water resources, Himalayan region, coastal regions, health and disaster management.
- To mobilise domestic and new & additional funds from developed countries to implement the above mitigation and adaptation actions in view of the resource required and the resource gap.
- To build capacities, create domestic framework and international architecture for quick diffusion of cutting edge climate technology in India and for joint collaborative R&D for such future technologies.
- Science Express Climate Action Special (SECAS) flagged off; to contribute towards increasing the understanding of the science of Climate Change; the train will halt at 64 locations in about 20 states across the country.
INITIATIVES TO REDUCE POLLUTION:
- National Air Quality Index was launched by the Prime Minister in April, 2015 starting with 14 cities to disseminate air quality information. The AQI has six categories of air quality, viz Good, Satisfactory, Moderately Polluted, Poor, Very Poor and Severe with distinct colour scheme. Each of these categories is associated with likely health impacts. AQI considers eight pollutants (PM10, PM 2.5, NO2, SO2, CO, O3, NH3 and Pb) for which (up to 24-hourly averaging period) National Ambient Air Quality Standards are prescribed.
- National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) comprise 12 pollutants, out of which, three pollutants namely PM10, SO2 and NO2 are monitored at 612 locations in 254 cities /towns by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in association with various State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) and Pollution Control Committees (PCCs) for UTs.
- Implementation of Bharat Stage IV norms in the 63 selected cities and universalization of BS-IV by 2017.
- Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) on 27.11.2015 issued two Draft Notifications for advancing the implementation timelines to 2019 for BS-V and 2021 for BS-VI for comments of stakeholders.
- The Government has held four meetings with Ministers of Environment of National Capital Region and Punjab on ways and means to reduce air pollution.
- CPCB has worked out a transparent criteria to classify industries as ‘Red’ ‘Orange’ ‘Green’ and ‘White’ Category to link with ease of doing business and granting of consent including its siting. The criteria evolved are based on pollution potential and resource consumption rather than capital cost.
- The Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) is being revised by CPCB, which will be based on weightage of air, water and land pollution.
- Real time online monitoring of over 2100 industrial units in 17 highly polluting category including those connected to C.E.T.P have been mandated, leaving those units which have been exempted otherwise, or are not operational. These industries have been directed to monitor 24×7 effluent discharge quality and air emission quality. So far, around 1800 industries are reported to have installed 24×7 devices.
- CPCB has finalized standards for sewage treatment plants (STPs) which stipulate that treated effluents from STP shall be utilized for non-potable use and if, such effluents are to be disposed off into surface water body of the ground, in such cases, STPs will have to meet stricter standards.
- Real-time monitoring of water quality of Ganga initiated at eight stations on the main course and two stations on Yamuna.
- Developed Action Plan for Ganga mainstream States to achieve Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) and water conservation for tanneries, distilleries, textiles, sugar and pulp and paper and achieving improved effluent standards for irrigation in respect of pulp and paper and sugar industries.
- Environmental standards for Thermal Power Plants, Continuous Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) and sugar industry have been finalized.
- An online system for submission and monitoring of Environmental and Forest approvals under the provisions of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. It automates the entire tracking of proposals, including online submission of a new proposal, editing/updating the details of proposals and displays the status of the proposals at each stage of the workflow.
- A joint action has been initiated with Water Resources Ministry to run sewage treatment plants and with Urban Development Ministry for organised Solid Waste Management. The same formula will be extended to all the other rivers.
- Ministry has undertaken revamping Waste Management Rules, namely (i) Bio-Medical Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, (ii) Solid Waste Management Rules, (iii) Plastic Waste Management Rules, (iv) E-waste (Management) Rules, (v) Draft Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Trans-boundary Movement) Rules and its implementation will lead to significant improvement in waste management. This is at an advanced stage of finalization.
- The Ministry organised a Global Environment Facility (GEF) National Workshop in association with GEF Secretariat, Washington on May 12-13, 2015.
- An India Resource Panel has been established to promote resource efficiency and use of secondary raw material.
INITIATIVES TO ENHANCE GREEN COVER:
- Two Schemes namely Nagar Vana Udyan Yojana and School Nursery Yojana have been launched. Nagar Vana Udyan Yojana aims to create at least one city forest in each city with a minimum area of 25 ha. The scheme aims at creation of a City Forest in forest areas within their jurisdiction up to a maximum of 100 ha and minimum area of 20 ha. The objective of the Yojana is to create 200 City Forests in the country. The School Nursery Yojana aims to build a lasting bond of students with nature.
- Under Green India Mission (GIM), perspective plans and annual plans of operations of six States have been approved in the first sitting of the National Executive Council held in May 2015. The Green India Mission aims at increasing the forest/ tree cover by 5 million hectare as well as, increasing the quality of the existing forest cover in another 5 million hectare. An amount of Rs. 50.77 crore has been released to four States out of the fund allocation of Rs. 64 crore. At the second sitting of the National Executive Council held in November 2015, Perspective Plan and Annual Plan of Operations of another four States have been approved.
- Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA): To ensure expeditious utilisation in transparent and efficient manner, and safety and security of the accumulated amounts and fresh accruals, the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill 2015 has been introduced in the Parliament. Enactment of the Bill will pave way for utilisation of the huge accumulated amount significantly contributing towards conservation and development of forest and wildlife. Unspent balance available with the said ad-hoc body has increased to about Rs.38, 000 crore.
- The International Day for Biodiversity celebrated across the nation on May 22, 2015. This year’s theme was ‘Biodiversity for Sustainable Development’. At the main event held in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, a project on Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) was launched.
- On the occasion of World Environment Day on June 5, the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, planted a ‘Kadamb’ sapling at 7, Race Course Road.
- A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and NOIDA for the development of Botanic Garden of Indian Republic (BGIR) in NOIDA on June 5, 2015 on the occasion of World Environment Day. The Botanical Garden would also act as a centre for botanical research scholars to carry out studies on rare species of plants. 249 eco-sensitive proposals have been approved, which include 28 final notifications and 92 draft notifications.
- The final notification declaring Eco Sensitive Zone (ESZ) around Okhla bird sanctuary has been issued by Government of India in the Gazette of India vide S/o2262 (E) dated 19th August 2015, providing relief to lakhs of house owners in NOIDA and Greater NOIDA area.
- The Ministry has launched the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity TEEB-India Initiative (TII) to highlight the economic consequences of the loss of biological diversity and the associated decline in ecosystem services.
- A commemorative stamp released to mark the centenary year of Zoological Survey of India.
- The Ministry commemorated World Day to combat Desertification on June 17, 2015.
- The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), in association with UNESCO, has established a Centre for World Natural Heritage Management and Training for the Asia and Pacific Region as a UNESCO Category 2 Centre at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun.
- ‘Chintan Shivir’ organised in Bangalore, Bhopal and Guwahati for young officers to enable the officers from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and officers from forest, pollution boards and scientists from the concerned departments to introspect and discuss various aspects related to the Ministry.