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Gist of YOJANA : India at UNFCCC COP 25

  • Categories
    Yojana/Kurukshetra
  • Published
    29th Feb, 2020

  • India was represented by Union Minister of Environment and climate change at the 25th session of Conference of Parties under the UN Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCC COP 25), in Madrid, Spain on 10 December 2019. The minister started his statement with a quote and highlighted :

“The future depends upon what we do today.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

India’s achievements in climate change mitigation strategies

  • India has taken several steps to address the issue of climate change in line with its commitment to the father of the nation’s thoughts.
  • India has reduced emissions intensity of GDP by 21% and is on track to achieve the goal of 35% emissions reduction as promised in Paris.
  • Under Paris Agreement, India announced 175 GW targets for renewable of which 83 GW has already been achieved.
  • India has subsequently increased the target to 450 GW at the recent UN Climate Action Summit.
  • Carbon tax on coal production is being levied at the rate of $6 per tonne to finance the carbon mitigation project.
  • The commercial flight was operated on 100% biofuel and India is targeting blending of 20% ethanol in petrol by 2030.
  • India has leapfrogged from BS-IV to BS-VI for vehicle emission norms and from 1 April 2020, vehicles will be BS-VI compliant.
  • 360 million LED bulbs have been fitted in homes, and 10 million conventional streetlights have been replaced with LED lights.
  • 80 million LPG gas connections have been provided. India’s cooling action plan and adaptation plan are working well.
  • India has promised the creation of additional carbon sinks of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon equivalent through increasing green cover.
  • In the last 5 years, India’s green cover has increased by 15,000 sq. km. India is investing heavily in water conservation.
  • It has taken up a target for the restoration of 26 million of degraded land by 2030 during the 14th COP of UN Convention to Combat Desertification in Delh
  • This is one of the largest programs in the world to ensure the carbon sink in land resources.
  • 100% neem coating of urea fertilizer is appreciated by the world and 170 million soil health cards are taking care of the soil health, thus creating more carbon sinks.
  • India has launched the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, which is a partnership to support countries through knowledge exchange and provide technical support on developing disaster and climate-resilient infrastructure.

Future Strategy and promises need to be fulfilled

  • India highlighted the fact at the Summit about the developed countries pledged a contribution of 1 trillion dollars in the last 10 years, and not even 2% has materialized so far.
  • It has to be public finance and there should be no double accounting. The world that benefitted from carbon emissions that made them developed, must repay.
  • Technology development and transfer should be done at affordable costs. It is crucial for developing countries.
  • In this regard, India’s proposal is to have more joint research and collaboration, grant finance made available for meeting the targets.
  • India along with other developing countries expect that guidelines for Article 6 will ensure the transition of clean Development Mechanism under Kyoto Protocol and provide the incentives and positive signals to the private sector, which had invested in it.
  • India also urged support for the vulnerable communities worldwide with a strong Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage with provision for financial support.

Conclusion: This is the time for ownership and this is the time for responsible action. India has and will continue to do its bit-expecting commensurate multilateral actions with developed countries taking a lead.

  • Kayakalp initiative of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare began in 2015 with the aim of improving infrastructure upkeep hygiene and sanitation, and infection control practices in central government institutions and public health facilities in all states and UTs.

   

  • Sanitation was an integral part of Gandhi’s Satyagrah. Thus he treated sanitation in a different way that’s why he proclaimed “Everyone is his own Scavenger”.
  • This statement reiterates the fact that cleanliness is a personal responsibility and the key to removing untouchability.
  • Mahatma Gandhi said, "Sanitation is more important than independence". He made cleanliness and sanitation an integral part of the Gandhian way of living. His dream was total sanitation for all.
  • “The Scavenger’s Work must be Our Special Function in India”. Through this, he firmly emphasized the need for education on hygiene and sanitation among Indians.  “Swaraj Ought to Begin with Our Streets”.

Initiatives taken for cleanliness in India

  • Taking inspiration from Gandhiji’s idea on hygiene, GoI started a campaign, ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ or ‘Clean India Mission’.
  • The drive has been categorized in two sub-missions, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Urban) that operates under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Rural) that falls and operates under Ministry of Jal Shakti.
  • To contribute to this national movement and addressing the growing challenges of sanitation and hygiene, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FW) adopted a multi-pronged strategy and launched many initiatives for improving hygiene and sanitation holistically.

Kayakalp Initiative in detail:

  • Kayakalp Initiative of MoH&FW began in 2015 with the aim of improving infrastructure upkeep, hygiene and sanitation, and infection control practices in Central Government institutions and public health facilities in all the states and UTs.
  • Health facilities are assessed and scored on a number of parameters, and every year the highest-scoring facilities at each level receive recognition through Kayakalp Awards.
  • The scheme has resulted in significant improvement in the level of cleanliness, hygiene, and infection control practices at public healthcare facilities.
  • It has also inculcated a culture of ongoing assessment and peer review to promote hygiene and sanitation. 
  • MoHFW has also used the platforms of Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Committees under the National Health Mission and Mahila Arogya Samitis under the NUHM to promote sanitation in vulnerable urban communities.
  • Not only healthcare professionals or health department, but MoHFW has also worked on inter-ministerial collaboration for hygiene and sanitation.
  • MoHFW and Ministry of Jal Shakti started an integrated scheme, the “Swachh Swasth Sarvatra” in December 2016.
  • Under the initiatives, resources have been provided to CHCs (Common Service Centres) located in Open Defecation Free blocks, which are yet to meet Kayakalp criteria.
  • In 2019, the country’s three best PHCs Under Kayakalp from Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka were also felicitated by Ministry of Jal Shakti.
  • Swachh Bharat Abhiyan along with Kayakalp has given a thrust to the country’s efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3 (Good Health and Well Being) and Goal 6 (Clean water and sanitation) respectively.
  • The overall activities to maintain hygiene have now developed into a habit, sustaining a Kayakalp certification or an ODF certification has led to people practising hygiene practices in their daily lives.  The synergy and momentum achieved under SBM shall continue to expand and deliver a ‘Clean India, a Healthy India’.   

Current Scenario of urban sanitation in India

  • The Census (2011) revealed that 6% of household in Urban India were practising Open Defecation.
  • A bigger cause of worry was that 75% of freshwater resources used for drinking purpose was contaminated with sewage contributing to 60% of total pollution load.

The Cost of Poor Sanitation

  • As per a UNICEF report (2011), almost 90% of child deaths from diarrhoea diseases are directly linked to contaminated water, lack of sanitation, or inadequate hygiene. In addition to the impact on the communicable diseases, better sanitation leads to a reduction in the occurrence of low birth weight in babies, spontaneous abortions and occurrences of birth defects.
  • It has a significant impact on social and economic development, particularly in developing countries.
  • For example, an independent study conducted by UNICEF in India in August 2017 established that every Indian family will save about Rs. 50,000 annually if open defecation is eliminated.

Initiatives taken towards Sustainable Urban Sanitation

  • On 2 October 2019, Urban India became Open defecation Free and this feat was achieved in only a short span of five years.
  • MoHUA has been implementing various missions such as Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban), AMRUT, Smart Cities Mission, NERUDP – all of which address the issue of urban sanitation.
  • MoHUA has also partnered with Google to upload and make available on Google maps all the public and community toilets in cities so that citizens and visitors are able to easily locate these facilities in their vicinity.
  • A graded approach to scale up and sustaining urban sanitation has been launched by the central government in the form of ODF protocol, a first-of-its-kind initiative in the country where an independent third party would certify a city as ODF on satisfactorily complying with the protocol requirements.
  • Moreover, in order to prevent slippage of ODF status, the ODF certificate was made valid only for 6 months. Despite these efforts, cities faced different challenges in the form of households with space constraints, residents of slum colonies or any floating population respond to nature’s call.
  • For this, ODF+ Protocol was launched with the requirement for third-party certification as the ODF protocol.

    Achievements made under ODF+ initiative:

  • As on date, we have 739 cities already under certified ODF+ and 292 cities certified ODF++.
  • Under AMRUT mission, significant progress has been made in Faecal Sludge management coverage with 637 projects already completed in Sewerage and Septage Management.
  • While the faecal sludge was now being managed safely, the wastewater (greywater – from Kitchen; Blackwater – from toilets) were flowing into open drains and polluting our water bodies.
  • Hence, the Water Plus protocol has been launched to ensure that no untreated wastewater is released into the environment or water bodies.

Swachh Survekshan – A Tool for Mission Monitoring and Governance

  • The Swachh Survekshan (SS) is an innovative survey conducted by MoHUA under SBM-U, to rank cities on various sanitation and cleanliness parameters.

Eradication of Manual Scavenging and Hazardous Entry

  • Various laws and regulatory reforms have been enacted by the govt. to ensure that the practice of manual scavenging is eliminated comprehensively.
  • MoHUA has been constantly endeavouring to ensure that hazardous cleaning of sewers and septic tanks is completely eliminated and even when the manual entry is unavoidable, to ensure that it be done with proper safety precautions.

Other Key Enablers: Leveraging Technology, Intensive Behavior Change & Capacity Building of ULBs

  • Leveraging technology and ‘smart solutions to widen outreach (e.g. Google mapping of public toilets, swachhta app etc.).
  • Robust online MIS and portal for real-time data capture Swachh Manch for large scale citizen engagement ‘
  • Behaviour change initiatives (engagement of celebrities as ambassadors, mass media audio/video campaign) Continuous capacity building of ULBs.

Steps need to be taken

  • The issue of maintenance of the community/public toilets needs to be strengthened further to ensure that the toilets do not fall into disuse.
  • Similarly, the issue of safe containment, transportation and disposal of faecal sludge and septage from toilets, as also the grey and black water from households and establishments need to be strengthened further.
  • There is a need to institutionalize the concept of Swachhta so that the holistic impacts of safe sanitation are achieved in line with our SDG commitments.
  • We will now need to focus on Sustainable Sanitation and Waste Water Treatment.
  • All these need to be planned and implemented under the overarching principle of ‘Swachhata se Sampannata’.
  • Additionally, an enabling environment would need to be created through conducive policy support and reforms, leveraging technology for Mission implementation, robust and real-time, data-driven monitoring supported by 3rd party verifications, capacity building of municipal staff and private sector participation.

  • UNICEF is a key technical partner to the GoI on water and sanitation programming and is dedicated to supporting the nation’s progress towards SDG Goal 6 which aims to achieve Universal access to safely managed water and sanitation by 2030.

Successful Initiatives: Water Management

Environment and Community: How Maharashtra is Investing in Women’s Leadership for Sustainable Development in Water – Stressed Areas

  • Maharashtra has declared drought in three of the past five years. Almost 70% of the state’s geographical area lies in the semi-arid region, rendering it vulnerable to water scarcity, this is exacerbated by further drought.
  • Women-led Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Resilient Practices Project’ or W-SHARP was implemented in 2018 to test the effectiveness of risk-informed planning driven by local contexts and communities such as those of Marathwada, especially during lean periods, March to June.
  • W-SHARP targeted women’s and vulnerable families’ participation as a core aspect of the project.  The project took an innovative approach by positioning women as key change agents who charged forward in mobilizing their communities, local bodies, and government institutions for shared causes. 
  • One key outcome of this project was to encourage community participation in local governance and foster partnership with relevant government and civil society institutions.
  • This allowed W-SHARP to provide spaces for peer learning exchanges and dialogue fora.

Key Interventions under this initiative:  

  • Household-level Engagement: The Arogya Sakhis mobilized women’s groups in their villages to discuss information and practices relevant to good water management practices at the household level. Water budgeting was practised by all targeted households.
  • Community-level Engagement: Communities were engaged in discussions on climate-resilient practices and options for livelihoods.
  • Convergent Governance: A unique aspect of this project was the use of National flagship programmes to empower the communities. Construction of soak pits, toilets and adoption of new agricultural innovations were done through convergent funds.

Environment and Governance: Mitigation of Fluorosis in Rajasthan

  • The state of Rajasthan makes for a classic case on the socio-cultural and environmental implications of sourcing safe drinking water in a semi-arid and water-scarce region.
  • Over-exploitation of the groundwater, which has increased due to recent climatic changes, along with recurrent droughts have contributed to the leaching of rocks with fluoride compounds, thereby releasing the volatile element into the water sources, making it unsafe for drinking.
  • UNICEF supported the Government of Rajasthan in demonstration of Integrated Fluorosis Mitigation Approach pilot in Dungarpur in 2018.
  • It is a people-centric district platform, led by District Magistrate to have a focus on holistic fluorosis mitigation while leveraging programme funds across districts to support the planned activities. 

  • Community Radio provides an opportunity for the community to speak about issues concerning their lives. Community radios are also prominently being used in Nepal, Bangladesh, and the Philippines for rural development. They are equally popular in Canada, America, Australia, and South Africa. 

Development of Community Radio in India  

  • In December 2002, the Government released a policy that allowed well-established educational institutions to set up Community Radio Station.
  • The Government in November 2006 implemented new Community Radio Guidelines permitting non-profit organizations to own and operate community radio stations.

Benefits of community radio

  • Community Radio helps to communicate with communities in local languages using terms and phrases that are easily and locally understood. Communicating local knowledge, needs, and demands beyond the community to inform policy, research, and other communities.
  • Bringing together people from frequently disconnected stakeholder groups such as livelihoods, community leaders, Organizations and governance.

Community Radio and Disaster Management

  • The presence of community radio in every phase of a disaster (mitigation, preparation, early warning, response, recovery and revitalization) is essential.
  • It enables the exchange and sharing of information and dialogue among residents as well as the enhancement of the community’s capability and of self-governance ability.
  • Community radio can play a crucial role in disaster management via assisting the community at 3 stages:-

        a. Pre-Disaster
      • In the pre-disaster stage, community radio stations can provide guidance regarding its preparedness.
      • Information regarding gathering locations and safety shelters can be disseminated.  Another important task is broadcasting warning signals in case there is a calamity foreseen or likely to occur.
      • It breaks the barriers of literacy and economic status in bringing people together in times of disaster.
      • While television networks break down almost instantly in the face of natural disasters, radio carries with it the potential for continued functioning in such times.

        b.  During Disaster
        • At the time of a disaster, most forms of communication are disrupted barring radio signals; Community radio can help the community link with the relief agencies and Government control room.
        • Information and announcement regarding vulnerable areas, which require immediate evacuation, can be broadcasted and the community members can be guided to safety shelters where they can access aid and rescue facilities.

          c. Post Disaster
          • Having a medium of communication in their own language or dialect can help in strengthening the morale of the community.
          • Community radio provides an indigenous solution to a problem that is being faced at a large scale in the country these days.
          • It can be an important component of rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts.
          • The need is to build the capacity of operating personnel of community radio and equip them to handle and disseminate disaster-related information in an optimal manner.

        Significance of community Radio: During forest fires in summer, landslides in monsoon, etc. rural communities constantly struggle and their isolated situation does not help the cause. Community radio has the power to organize and provide information and connect these communities to the much-needed aid and relief.  Also, since the content is in the local dialect it can help curb miscommunication and misinformation in times of panic.  

        • Global warming with the burgeoning anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (400 parts per million from 280 ppm CO2, emissions of the pre-industrial era) has been altering the climate, eroding the ecosystem productivity and sustenance of water, thus affecting the livelihood of people.
        • GHG footprint needs to be in balance with the sequestration of carbon to sustain ecosystem functions.
        • Forests are the major carbon sink (about 45%) that aid in mitigation global warming.
        • The land use land cover (LULC) dynamics leading to deforestation and land degradation is the prime driver of global warming due to the loss of carbon sequestration potential as well as emission.

        Carbon Footprint

        • Carbon footprint is contributed by emissions from the energy sector (68%), agriculture (19.6%), industrial processes (6%), LU change (3.8%) and forestry (1.9%), respectively in India with CO2, emission of about 3.1 MGg (2017) and the per capita CO2 emission of 2.56 metric tonnes.
        • India has committed at the Paris Climate Change Agreement to reduce its emissions by 33-35% by 2030, which necessitates the immediate implementation of carbon capture (with afforestation of degraded landscapes with native species, regulations of LULC change) and de-carbonisation (through the large-scale implementation of renewable and sustainable energy alternatives).
        • For this, stringent norms must be developed towards
        1. Potential of ecologically fragile regions,
        2. Fines for continued higher emission based on the ‘polluter pays’ principle
        3. adoption of cluster-based decentralized development approaches, and
        4. Incentives for reduced emission.
        • The carbon trading has demonstrated the potential in monetary values across the globe of Indian forests in capturing carbon.
        • The carbon credit mechanism and streamlining stakeholder’s active participation would dramatically reduce the abuse of forests.

        Water and food security towards sustainable and healthy living

        • Alternations of landscape structure in the catchment areas influence the hydrological regime leading to variations in the hydrological status.
        • The streams are perennial when its catchment is dominated by vegetation (>60%) of native species. This is mainly due to infiltration or percolation in the catchment as the soil is porous with the presence of native species.
        • Diverse microorganisms interact with plant roots and soil helps in the transfer of nutrients from the soil to plants and the soil is porous.
        • Fragmented governance and the deteriorating ecological ethics with the lack of vision among the decision-makers are the principal reasons for deforestation and land degradation.
        • Streams with its catchment dominated native species vegetation (>60%) have higher soil moisture and groundwater in comparison to the catchment (of seasonal streams) during a dry spell of the year.
        • It facilitates farming of commercial crops with higher economic returns to the farmers.
        • Sustenance of water in a river ensures the food security in the region which is dependent on the land-use dynamics (forest vegetation cover) in its catchment.

        Importance of flora in water management and Sustainable Agriculture

        • Thus, catchment integrity plays a decisive role in sustaining water for societal and ecological need.
        • It is evident from the occurrence of potential streams in the catchment dominated by native flora, highlighting the riverscape dynamics with the hydrological, ecological, social, and environmental dimensions linkage and water sustainability.
        • Recent unfortunate instances of floods and subsequent drought (drying up of water bodies) in Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Kerala is a pointer towards the mismanagement of forests in the Western Ghat region.
        • Hence, ecologically fragile regions such as the Western Ghats need to be conserved on priority to sustain the agriculture and horticulture in peninsular India. It will help effective water per location to the groundwater and promotion of sustainable agriculture.
        • Agriculture of today is witnessing several sustainable initiatives by farmers to improve farming techniques and to prop up their livelihoods and income. The government too has, in a way, recognized this changing landscape of agricultural development.
        • The recent conferment of Padma Shri awards to 12 such farmer-leaders in 2019 is a case in point. Innovation in Agriculture.
        • Farmers play a pivotal role in improving technology and productivity. The achievements of some of the awardees endorse this hypothesis.
        • One of the Padma Shri awardee farmer, Vallabhbhai Vasambhai Marvaniya, has been doing innovation in carrot farming since the late 1940s in Junagadh of Gujrat.
        • Subsequently, he developed Mudhuvan-Gajar. The Rajasthan Agricultural Research Institute tested this variety and endorsed its cultivation.
        • Experimenting with cauliflower cultivation since 1970, Jagdish Prasad Parikh from Rajasthan developed ‘Ajita Nagar Selection’ variety for better size and quality.
        • It can be cultivated without much chemical use and the crop tolerates heatwaves conditions.
        • Sultan Singh demonstrated the use of recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) for fish cultivation in an adverse climate with very limited use of water in Karnal of Haryana.

        Minimizing Chemical Use:

        • Reducing chemical use by following organic methods of agriculture has been the focus of many of these awardees. They also organize training for farmers on best agricultural practices and on ways for preserving local cultivars of several crops.
        • They encouraged fellow farmers to adopt better agronomic practices by demonstrating the virtues of intercropping and crop rotation.

        Diversification of Agriculture

        • Some of these awardees moved against the traditional cropping pattern. Rajakumari Devi (Bihar) experimented with food crops in place of mono-cropped tobacco.
        • She promoted innovative agronomical methods of cultivation as per the terrain with the knowledge of soils, value addition and marketing.
        • A desert-like area around Hulikal village of Ramnagar in Karnataka was transformed to green belt by the dedicated efforts of Saalumarada Thimmakka by growing more than 8000 trees.

        Shifting Consumption Patterns  

        • As the priority shifts from food security to nutrition security, the focus of the policymakers are moving towards micro-nutrient dense foods like minor millets and pulses, often called ‘orphan crops’.
        • The Government of India declared 2018 as the National Year of Millets for promoting cultivation and consumption of these foods.
        • It re-designated coarse cereals like sorghum, pearl millet, finger millet, and minor millets as nutria-cereals in 2018.
        • All this is in the Decade of Action on Nutrition’ (2016-25) as per the United Nations under SDGs.
        • Research has to focus on increasing the productivity of minor millets that has been stagnant since the sixties.
        • Therefore, the huge task lies ahead for the development community that includes civil society, researchers, and the Government alike in fostering a level-playing field for minor millet farmers.

        Urban Agriculture through Terrace Gardening

        • It is desirable to produce as much as possible using urban agriculture methods. The most crucial of urban agriculture is the rooftop gardening that can make use of unused open spaces to provide food for the family, apart from reducing carbon load on the environment.
        • While there are plenty of hobbyists and family-and-friends farmers, neither the Governments nor the non-profit organizations have recognized the full potential or need of the process.

        Encouraging innovation in agriculture

        The activities of these Padam Shri awardees have to be viewed as a trend of emerging private initiatives in various parts of the country in the challenging area of agricultural extension.  These private initiatives have to be tailor-madee to the welfare needs of masses and adopt a practical approach to agriculture diffusing good agricultural practices suited to disparate agro-ecological zones.  Their efforts will achieve better results when they work in tandem with governmental and quasi-governmental agencies on addressing key challenges of the times.   

        Categorization of electronic gadgets

        1. White goods: Household appliances,
        2. Brown goods: TVs, camcorders, cameras etc
        3. Grey goods: Computers, printers, fax machines, scanners etc.  
        • Electronic industry is one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing manufacturing industries. It has provided some leverage to the socio-economic and technological growth of the developing society of India.
        • However, it creates new environmental challenges- “Electronic Waste” or “e-waste” that consists of obsolete electronics devices.
        • Solid waste management, which is already a critical task in India, is becoming more complicated by the invasion of e-waste, particularly computer waste.

        Challenges posed by e-Waste

        • Personal Computers (PCs) contain certain components, which are highly toxic, posing environmental and health challenges.
        • This fast-growing waste stream has been accelerating because the global market for PCs is far from saturation and the average life span of a PC is decreasing rapidly.
        • Rapid economic growth, coupled with urbanization and growing demand for consumer goods, has increased both the production and consumption of electronics and electrical equipment.
        • India’s recycling sector is still underdeveloped. Most people are unaware of the potential negative impact.  When these products are dumped in landfills or incinerated, they pose health risks because of the hazardous materials they contain.  
        • The Global E-waste Monitor, 2017 estimated that India generates about 20 lakh ton of e-waste annually, nearly 82% of which is personal devices.
        • When electronic items containing heavy metals are improperly disposed of, these heavy metals leach through the soil to reach groundwater channels which eventually run to the surface as streams or small ponds of water.
        • Burning of e-waste in open landfill for obtaining gold and other precious metals produces fine particulate matter and causes cardiovascular and pulmonary ailments in children.
        • Drinking water contaminated with lead affects the central and nervous system and causes poor brain growth, dwarfism, hearing disability, and impaired formation and function of blood cells.
        • Since these chemicals are non-biodegradable, they persist in the environment for a long time, increasing the risk of exposure.

        Sustainable solutions regarding E-waste management

        • The product designers must ensure the longevity of the products through their re-use, repair, and/or upgradability features.
        • Recycling and reuse of materials are the next options to reduce the generation of e-waste. Recovery of metals, plastic, glass, and other materials reduce the magnitude of e-waste.
        • Clear regulatory instruments adequate to control both exports and imports of e-waste and ensuring their environmentally sound management should be in place.
        • Manufactures of products must be made financially, physically, and legally responsible for their products.
        • All vendors of electronic devices shall provide take-back and management services for their products at the end of life of those products.
        • Collection systems are to be established so that e-waste is collected from the right places ensuring that this directly comes to the recycling unit.
        • Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) authorization has been provided to 726 producers by the CPCB.
        • It specifies the collection targets for the specified time (five years); but unfortunately, no independent mechanism has been put in place to check or verify the claims made in authorisations resulting in slack implementation.
        • Recently, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has developed a guideline on uniform incentivisation of e-waste in the country.
        • As per information available with CPCB, 69,414 MT of e-waste was collected, dismantled, and recycled during 2017-18.

        Steps need to be taken in management of Electronic waste in India

        • Only 5 per-cent of e-waste generated in India gets recycled. Lack of awareness about e-waste and its recycling as well as the role of the unorganised sector are the added challenges to the problem.
        • The base metals which can be reused are lost and result in soil contamination due to unorganised and crude dismantling.
        • A consumer of an electric or electronic device is not apprised of the end of the value chain of the product. Often, information is not provided along with the product packing about the e-collection centre for the product sold.
        • The responsibility of the consumers is also not specified along with the product.
        • Technical and policy-level interventions, proper implementation, capacity building, and increasing public awareness are the need of the time.
        • They only can convert this challenge into an opportunity and set global credible standards concerning environmental and occupational health.
        • The Stockholm Conference 1972, on the “human environment” brought to light the urgency of tackling environmental problems through various efforts.
        • The environment is a critical challenge to the continuation of our growth and to the extent of which growth translates into improved quality of life.
        • The purpose of economic development in any region is to provide opportunities for improved living and jobs to people. While industrial development invariably creates more jobs in any region, possibilities of adverse effects on the environment also increase.
        • Environmental protection measures have become necessary for the development and to sustain the environment at the same time.

        Sustainable Development: Coupling Environment management with development

        • Sustainable development does not end with the sustainability of environment and resource system. It also requires the sustainability of economic and social systems.
        • Development and environmental protection can easily go together. It would be better to begin new projects with built-in environmental safeguards rather than to make haste only to regret later.

         India’s effort in sustainable development while safeguarding the environment

        • India’s installed capacity of diesel generating sets forms a third of its total grid-connected capacity.
        • As a deterrent, incentives for both capital investment and power generation by solar rooftop have been encouraged.
        • The gap between the thermal power and solar power has been narrowing.
        • In 2018, renewable energy has reached 73 GW accounting for over 20 per cent.
        • The installed capacity of renewable energy in the country recorded 83.4 GW as on 31 October 2019 while wind energy accounts for 37 GW and Solar 7 GW.
        • The growth in clean technology will further help in making a sustainable and safe environment. For example, sustainable mobility solutions can increase access while reducing congestion and increasing productivity.
        • The Government has launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP). It is a long-term, time-bound, national-level strategy to achieve 20 to 30 percent reduction in PM10 and 5 concentration by 2024.
        • The overall objective of the NCAP is comprehensive mitigation actions for prevention, control, and abatement of air pollution besides augmenting the air quality monitoring network and strengthening the awareness and capacity building activities.
        • The UNFCCC defines “climate change” as a change in climate attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere. The efforts needed to address climate change include mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on one hand and building adaptive capacities on the other.
        • India is committed to the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol. India inked Paris Climate Change deal to combat climate change and limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius.  India announced its new plan, also known as Intended Nationally Determined Contribution, (INDC) in 2015 (175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022).
        • Indian companies are increasingly adopting internal carbon pricing (ICP) as an important tool for managing climate risks.
        • ICP provides incentives to relocate resources towards low-carbon activities. Just 478 units reduced 2 per cent of India’s annual CO2 emission.
        • Seeking to boost the global economy’s shift to clean energy, the World Bank announced that it would stop financing oil and gas exploration and extraction from 2019.
        • Despite such development, however, according to the annual audit report of UNEP, national pledges on emission reduction made by countries under Paris Agreements will only account for one-third of what is needed to avoid the worst impact of climate change.
        • Even full implementation of the countries’ unconditional ‘NDC’ (nationally determined contributions) would lead to a temperature increase of at least 3 degree Celsius by 2100.

        Steps need to be taken

        To a large extent, an effective pollution regulating system will reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases.  At the operational level, the industries have to be closely monitored by a responsive and competent body.  There is a need to improve the capabilities as well as strengthen our regulatory institutions.  The Central and state pollution control boards are understaffed and often lack infrastructure. There is an urgent need to strengthen these agencies by recruiting professionals, taking up R&D work and provision of better infrastructural support.   

        • The Government of India is encouraging waste plastic usage for roads and highway construction. It is not just the accumulation of plastics that harms the environment- it is also the fragments and toxins released during photo-decomposition that pollute our soil and water.
        • Melting down old plastic waste to repurpose it into useful new items is one of the ways of reducing the plastic in the oceans and landfills.
        • Post-consumer recycled (PCR) garbage is used in creating new polymer modified asphalt roads. These are found to be more resistant to erosion from weather and vehicle use, and the number of new potholes formed is reduced. 
        • Use of plastic along with bitumen in construction of roads not only increases its life and smoothness but also makes it economically sound and environmentally friendly. It has been found that such roads were not subject to stripping when coming in contact with water.
        • Use of a higher percentage of plastic waste reduces the need of bitumen by 10%. It also increases the strength and performance of the road.   

        • The mandate for universal equal suffrage emanates from Article 326 of the Constitution. The Mandate was further enhanced with the Constitution (Sixty-first Amendment) Act, 1988 that reduced the voting age to 18 years.
        • National Voters’ Day is celebrated on 25th January since 2011 to mark the foundation day of the Election Commission of India. ECI was established on this day in the year 1950.
        • The main purpose of the celebration is to encourage, facilitate, and maximise the enrolment, especially for the new voters.

        Theme: 2020: Electoral Literacy for a Stronger Democracy

        • ECI launched the Electoral literacy programme under SVEEP and by now about 5.8 lakh Electoral Literacy Clubs (ELC), Chunav Pathshalas, and Voter Awareness Forums have been set up across the country.
        • These forums work on the principle of engaging the target populations through hands- on experience on the electoral process.
        • The Lok Sabha Elections 2019 saw a historic voter turnout of 67.4%. Voter turnout had increased to a record of 66.44% in 2014 from 58.19% in 2009.
        • The number of electors rose to 91 crores ahead of Lok Sabha Elections 2019. Moreover, women participation also increased to a historic 66.79% in 2019 reducing the gender gap to 0.01%.
        • At present, the electoral operations of India are the largest in the world as demonstrated in the Lok Sabha Election 2019 where about 1.2 crore polling officials worked at over 10 lakh polling stations in the country.  
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