Civil Services Mentor October 2011 Www.upscportal

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UPSCPORTAL Current Affairs :



UPSCPORTAL Current Affairs :


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UPSCPORTAL Current Affairs :

GANGA, THE MOTHER IN A CURSEThe World Wildlife Fund in March listed the Ganges among the worlds 10 most endangered rivers. In India, the river provides more than 500 million people with water for drinking and farming. More than 100 cities and countless villages are situated along the 1,568-mile river, which stretches from the foothills of the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal, and few of them have sewage treatment plants. But recent reports by scientists say the Ganges is under greater threat from water pollution & even greater from global warming. According to a U.N. climate report, the Himalayan glaciers that are the sources of the Ganges could disappear by 2030 as temperatures rise. The shrinking glaciers also threaten Asias supply of fresh water. The immediate effect of glacier recession is a short-lived surplus of water. But eventually the supply runs out, and experts predict that the Ganges eventually will become a seasonal river, largely dependent on monsoon rains. Arrangement at the Central Level The river cleaning program was started with Ganga Action Plan(GAP) in 1985 under the aegis of GPD established under the Ministry of Environment & Forest. A CGA under the chairmanship of the PM was constituted to finalise the policy framework and to oversee the implementation of GAP. The Chief Ministers of the concerned States, Union Ministers and Secretaries of the concerned Central Ministries and Experts were its members. The GAP was later extended to GAP II in 1993 and was broad-based in the form of NRCP in 1995. The GAP II was merged with NRCP in December 1996. Since then a single scheme of NRCP is under implementation as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme. The CGA was renamed as National River Conservation Authority (NRCA) with a larger mandate to cover all the programmes supported by the NRCD. National Ganga River Basin Authority To face this challenge the Central Government by a notification on 20th February,2009, has set up the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) as an empowered planning, financing, monitoring and coordinating authority for the Ganga River, to ensure effective abatement of pollution and conservation of the river Ganga by adopting a holistic approach with the river basin as the unit of planning .The Authority will perform its function under the Chairmanship of the PrimeWWW.UPSC.PORTAL.COM 3

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Minister. It has as its members, the Union Ministers concerned, the Chief Ministers of the States through which Ganga flows viz., Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, among others. The Authority may co-opt one or more Chief Ministers from any of the States having major tributaries of the river Ganga. The objective of the NGRBA is to ensure effective abatement of pollution and conservation of the river Ganga by adopting a river basin approach for comprehensive planning and management; and to maintain minimum ecological flows in the river Ganga with the aim of ensuring water quality and environmentally sustainable development. Key Functions of the NGRBA The NGRBA would be responsible for addressing the problem of pollution in Ganga in a bolistic and comprehensive manner. This will include water quality, minimum ecological flows, sustainable access and other issues relevant to river ecology and management. The NGRBA will not only be regulatory body but will also have developmental role in terms of planning & monitoring of the river conservation activities and ensuring that necessary resources are available. The NGRBA would work for maintaining the water quality of the river Ganga upto the acceptable standards. The pollution abatement activities will be taken up through the existing implementation mechanisms in the States and also through Special4

Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) at the pollution hotspots. The NGRBA will ensure minimum ecological flow in the Ganga by regulating water abstraction and by promoting water storage projects. The NGRBA will plan and monitor programmes for cleaning of Ganga and its tributaries. To begin with , it will concentrate on Gangamain stem. The NGRBA would draw upon professional expertise within and outside the Government for advice on techno-economic issues. The technical and administrative support to NGRBA shall be provided by the Ministry of Environment & Forests. Role of State Government under NGRBA The State government will be at the forefront. Implementation will be at the level of State Government/ ULBs. The States may take up steps for comprehensive management of the river in the State through their respective State River Conservation Authorities. The State Government/ ULBs are expected to generate resources through taxes, levies, cess, user charges, etc., for abatement of pollution in the rivers and for proper O&M of the assets created. Funds thus raised may be utilized for infrastructure development including sewage works. During the finalization of the respective State Plans, the States should make adequate provisions in their budgets for meeting O&M expenditure. Compliance of the environmental norms by industries discharging

wastewater directly into the river is under the purview of the State Pollution Control Boards. The Boards will need to be strengthened for better enforcement and surveillance of polluting industries located on the banks of the rivers. The public funds for the capital and recurring costs may not be sufficient to meet the demand. The States will therefore have to introduce policies which may attract private sector investments, including from the financial institutions. Salient Features of the New Approach River Basin will be the unit of planning and management. This is an internationally accepted strategy for integrated management of rivers. Accordingly, a new institutional mechanism in the form of National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) will spearhead river conservation efforts at the national level. Implementation will be by the State Agencies and Urban Local Bodies. The minimum ecological flows for the entire Ganga will be determined through modeling exercises. NGRBA will take appropriate measures in cooperation with the States to regulate water abstraction for maintaining minimum ecological flows in the river. Attention would also be paid to the restoration of living parts of the river ecosystem for its holistic treatment to enable conservation of species like dolphin , turtles, fishes and other native and endangered species in the river.


UPSCPORTAL Current Affairs :

Measures Taken To restore the ecological health and biological wealth of the river, projects on biomonitoring and bioconservation by having indicator species approach were initiated in the Himalayan segment, mahaseer followed by otters and crocodiles from Hardwar to Kanpur, major carps from Kanpur to Varanasi and dolphins in the stretch of Bihar have been identified as indicator species for these studies. Scientists of Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna University, Garhwal, Jivaji University, Gwalior, Central Inland Capture Fisheries research Institute, Barrackpur and Patna University are involved in carrying out the bio-monitoring and bioconservation studies. In order to evaluate the results of implementation of the pollution abatement schemes under GAP, water quality monitoring in the state of UP, Bihar and WB is being carried out regularly at 27 monitoring stations with the help of reputed research institutes and universities. The selection of monitoring stations and the results are reviewed by experts from time to time. Amendments in WQM are provided by incorporating need based modifications.

Impact so far Under GAP I, only about 35% of the total sewage generated presently in towns along the river has been tackled. On the other hand, the facilities created to tackle the targeted pollution load are not being maintained properly in States like UP and Bihar. Therefore, the impact of the completed works is not fully visible. However, with the implementation of GAP, the water quality of Ganga has shown improvement over the pre-GAP period quality in terms of both BOD & DO, two important parameters to assess the river water quality. Despite the problems of O&M in UP and Bihar, the improvement in river water quality can be attributed to diversion of large quantities of sewage in towns like Kanpur, Allahabad and Varanasi for irrigating the farmlands. Although the river water quality along Kanpur and Varanasi has improved significantly, it still does not meet the prescribed standard of BOD of 3 mg/l. This is mainly because: 8 Only 160 out of 425 mld at Kanpur and about 100 out of 160 mld of sewage at Varanasi has been taken up

for interception and diversion unde


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