Competitive Exams: Current Affairs 2011: Ecology


From Next Year World Water Day Celebrations to be Extended as World Water Week Salman Khurshid

From next year the World Water Day will be extended to a full week and celebrated as World Water Week to reach out to all the states, schools, colleges and media to highlight various issues relating to water.

India and Japan Sign TKDL Access Agreement

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), India signed the TKDL (Traditional Knowledge Digital Library) Access Agreement with the Japan Patent Office (JPO) here today. This TKDL Access Agreement would help prevent misappropriation of Indias traditional knowledge at JPO. Scheme of Rural tourism

The scheme of Rural tourism was started by the Ministry in 2002 − 03 with the objective of showcasing rural life, art, culture and heritage at rural locations and in villages, which have core competence in art and craft, handloom, and textiles as also an asset base in the natural environment. The intention is to benefit the local community economically and socially as well as enable interaction between tourists and local population for a mutually enriching experience. The promotion of village tourism is also aimed at generating revenue for the rural communities through tourist visitations.

Fund: Central scheme of Product/Infrastructure development for destinations and circuits (PIDDC) and GOI-UNDP Endogenous Projects scheme (In News: 169 Rural Tourism sites Sanctioned)

World Bank Assistance to National Ganga River Basin Authority for abatement of pollution of River Ganga

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the Project for cleaning of River Ganga to be implemented by the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) at an estimated cost of Rs. 7000 crore.

  • The share of Government of India will be Rs. 5100 crore and that of the State Governments of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal will be Rs. 1900 crore.

  • The World Bank has agreed in-principle to provide a loan assistance of US $1 billion (approx. Rs. 4600 crore) t-the Government of India for the NGRBA project, which will form part of the central share of the project. The duration of the project will be eight years.

  • The project will have three components relating to institutional development for setting up dedicated institutions for implementing the NGRBA program, setting up Ganga Knowledge Centre, strengthening environmental regulators (Pollution Control Boards) and local institutions (ULBs, etc) & infrastructure investments including for municipal sewage, industrial pollution, solid wastes and river front management, and project implementation support.

  • NGRBA was constituted in February, 2009 as an empowered planning, financing, monitoring and coordinating authority for the Ganga River under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. The objective of the Authority, which is chaired by the Prime Minister, is to ensure conservation of the river Ganga and to maintain environmental flows by comprehensive planning and management, adopting a river basin approach.

Creation of National Clean Energy Fund

  • The CCEA has approved constitution of an National Clean Energy Fund (NCEF) in the public account of India along with the guidelines as well as modalities for approval of projects to be funded from the Fund.

  • The Finance Bill 2010 − 11 provided for creation of a corpus called National Clean Energy Fund to invest in entrepreneurial ventures and research in the field of clean energy technologies.

  • An Inter Ministerial Group (IMG) has been constituted to approve the projects/schemes eligible for financing under the National Clean Energy Fund.

  • The National Clean Energy Fund will be used for funding research and innovative projects in clean energy technologies. Any project/scheme for innovative methods to adopt to clean energy technology and research & development shall be eligible for funding under the NCEF. Such projects may be:

  • Sponsored by a Ministry/Department of the Government

  • Submitted by individual/consortium of organizations in the government/public sector/private sector in the form of loan or viability gap funding, as the IMG deems fit on case to case basis. Government assistance under the NCEF shall in n-case exceed 40% of the total project cost.

National Water Mission under National Action Plan on Climate Change

The National Water Mission is one of the 8 National Missions which form the core of the National Action Plan for Climate Change.

The objective: Conservation of water, minimizing wastage and ensuring its equitable distribution both across and within States through integrated water resources development and management.

Five goals: Identified in the National Water Mission are

  1. Comprehensive water data base in public domain and assessment of the impact of climate change on water resources

  2. promotion of citizen and state actions for water conservation, augmentation and preservation

  3. focused attention to vulnerable areas including over-exploited areas

  4. increasing water use efficiency by 20%

  5. promotion of basin level integrated water resources management.

A two-tier setup: For framing the policies arid guidelines for implementation

At the Central level, an apex Board under the Chairmanship of the Minister of Water Resources and at the State level, a Monitoring Committee under the Chairmanship of the Principal Secretary/Secretary will be constituted.

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A very compact Mission Secretariat under a Mission Director to be supported by Adviser (Technical) and Adviser (Coordination and Monitoring) is envisaged under the National Water Mission. The technical support to the Secretariat will be provided by Central Water Commission, Central Ground Water Board, Brahmaputra Board and National Institute of Hydrology.

The prioritized strategies of the Mission will be taken up through the continuing schemes of Ministry of Water Resources by suitably modifying scope and outlay of the respective schemes. The overall additional requirements for such activities have been duly taken int-consideration while working out the revised outlays of the various schemes of the Ministry of Water Resources (In News: The Union Cabinet has approved the Comprehensive Mission Document of the National Water Mission.).

The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) by India.

  • India would be hosting the next Conference of Parties (CoP) to the CBD in October 2011.

  • The ABS Protocol is open for signature from 2nd February 2011 to 1st February 2012. SO far six countries have signed the Protocol including three megadiverse countries (namely Brazil, Mexic-and Colombia). As the incoming President of CoP-11, it is expected that India would be one of the early signatories to the ABS Protocol.

  • India is one of the identified megadiverse countries rich in biodiversity. With only 2.4% of the earths land area, India accounts for 7 − 8% of the recorded species of the world.

  • India is a Party to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) which is one of the agreements adopted during the Ri-Earth Summit held in 1992. One of the three objectives of the CBD relates to ABS, which refers to the way in which genetic resources may be accessed, and benefits resulting from their use shared by the users with the countries that provide them. The CBD prescribes that access to genetic resources is subject to national legislation. Accordingly, India after extensive consultative process had enacted Biological Diversity Act in 2002 for giving effect to the provisions of the CBD. However, in the near absence of user country measures, once the resource leaves the country providing the resources, there is n-way to ensure compliance of ABS provisions in the country where it is used. Towards this, a protocol on access and benefit sharing has been negotiated under the aegis of CBD, and adopted by the tenth Conference of Parties (CoP-10) held in Nagoya, Japan in October 2010. India has participated actively and contributed meaningfully in the ABS negotiations which formally started about six years back. The objective of the Nagoya Protocol on ABS is fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies.

  • It is expected that the ABS Protocol which is a key missing pillar of the CBD, would address the concern of misappropriation or biopiracy of its genetic resources.

Megadiverse countries

  • The megadiverse countries are a group of countries that harbor the majority of the Earths species and are therefore considered extremely biodiverse.

  • For some authors, the group incorporates 12 countries: Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Zaire, Madagascar, China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia. Others (including Conservation International, a NGO) increase the list to more than 17, adding Papua New Guinea, South Africa, USA, Congo, Philippines and Venezuela.

National Ambient Noise Monitoring Network

  • Will be active 24 X 7

  • In its frist phase, it will cover 35 stations in 7 cities.

  • Real Time Ambient Noise Monitoring Network will cover seven metros in phase-I viz. Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai have been selected and in each Metr-five Remote Monitoring Terminals have been installed in different noise zones for continuous monitoring.

  • In Phase-II, another 35 Noise Monitoring Stations will be installed in the same seven cities and in

  • Phase III, Real Time Noise Network will be expanded by 90 stations to cover 18 other major cities by 2012.

  • Phase-III cities include Kanpur, Pune, Surat, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Jaipur, Indore, Bhopal, Ludhiana, Guwahati, Dehradun, Thiruvananthpuram, Bhubaneswar, Patna, Gandhinagar, Ranchi, Amritsar and Raipur.

  • The network in the majopr Metros will also be augmented by establishing more noise monitoring stations.

  • The Central Government has notified The Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000 which have been amended in January, 2010. The said Rules require the State/UT Administration to designate an Authority responsible for maintaining the ambient noise standards in respective States/UTs. The designated Authority has to be an officer not below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police.

NAMP (National Air Quality Monitoring Program)

Central Pollution Control Board is executing a nation-wide program of ambient air quality monitoring known as National Air Quality Monitoring Program (NAMP). The network consists of three hundred and forty tw- (342) operating stations covering one hundred and twenty seven (127) cities/towns in twenty six (26) states and four (4) Union Territories of the country.

New Lion Reserves in The Country

In order to conserve the single isolated population of Asiatic Lions, the Ministry of Environment and Forests had initiated habitat feasibility study through the Wildlife Institute of India, which inter alia has identified Kun-Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh as an alternate home for the Gir Lions and for the release of wild lions from Gujarat.

While State Government of Madhya Pradesh is agreeable for translocation of Gir Asiatic Lions in Kun-Palpur, State Government of Gujarat has so far not agreed to part with Gir Asiatic Lions.

Steps for Holistic Growth of Green Gold Sector in North Eastern Region

Bambo-plantation is one of the plantation models for afforestation under the National Afforestation Program (NAP) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests. Bambo-is referred to as Green Gold in India especially in North Eastern Region. For the development of Bambo-sector, a numbers of steps have been taken such as establishment of National Bambo-Mission under the Ministry of Agriculture, National Mission for Bambo-applications under the Ministry of Science and Technology, etc. The Mission approach for the development of this sector is a step toward the institutional reforms.

Preservation of Biodiversity of The Country

The Government of India has taken several steps for conservation of biodiversity of the country. They include survey and inventorization of floral and faunal resources; assessment of forest cover to develop an accurate database for planning and monitoring; establishment of a Protected Area Network; designating Biosphere Reserves for conservation of representative ecosystems; conservation of ecologically fragile areas such as mangroves, wetlands and coral reefs; implementing specieso oriented conservation programs; ex-situ conservation through setting up of botanic gardens, zoos and gene banks; and enactment of the Biological Diversity Act in 2002, under which a National Biodiversity Authority and State Biodiversity Boards have been set up for implementing the provisions of the Act.

Delimitation of Areas (G-and N-GO)

The Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) and the Ministry of Coal (MoC) had jointly undertaken an exercise to overlay the forest cover map on the coal blocks boundaries in respect of 9 coalfields in the country and identified various coal blocks as category A (No-G-areas) and Category B (G-areas). As per the exercise, 449 coal blocks covering about 3, 80, 000 ha have been categorised as category B out of total number of 602 coal blocks covering about 6, 48, 750 ha.

WWF (India) 2011-Earth Hour 60 +

  • In India, the Earth Hour 2011 was held on 26 March 2011 from 8.30 PM to 9.30 PM IST, the Earth Hour 2011 was flagged off by the Delhi Chief Minister Smt. Sheila Dixit and Earth Hour 2011 Ambassador and Bollywood Heroine Vidya Balan in the presence of Mr. Jim Leape, Director General, WWF International.

  • New new 60 + log-represents commitment beyond 60 minutes.

  • Earth Hour is a global event organized by WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature, also known as World Wildlife Fund) and is held on the last Saturday of March annually, asking households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights and other electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change.

  • Earth Hour was conceived by WWF and The Sydney Morning Herald in 2007, when 2.2 million residents of

  • Sydney participated by turning off all non-essential lights.

  • Following Sydneys lead, many other cities around the world adopted the event in 2008.


  • Indonesia is providing an LPG kit comprising 3kg Cylinder, cooking stove and pressure regulator free to kerosene customers and thereafter stop kerosene supply.

  • this has led to a subsidy saving of about US $5billion per annum.

  • In News: R P N Singh Visits LPG Plant near Jakarta to Study Zer-Ker-Program of Indonesia

Courtesy: The Hindu and Times of India