The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) recently shared key highlights of the work done by the Ministry in the year 2019. In its report, the ministry claims that India’s leadership and commitment on environmental issues under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has led to landmark achievements. With significant developments such as India for the first time ranking among the top ten countries in the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) goes further to prove that all efforts and activities being currently undertaken by the country under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) are setting a tone of vast improvements.
Some of the major highlights of the Ministry in the year 2019 are outlined below:-
- Air pollution is one of the biggest global environmental challenges of today. A time bound national level strategy for pan India implementation to tackle the increasing air pollution problem across the country in a comprehensive manner in the form of National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) was launched on 10th January, 2019.
- Third Indo-German Environment Forum with the theme “Cleaner Air, Greener Economy:” held in New Delhi in February. The one-day event through panel discussions and parallel sessions focused on challenges, solutions and necessary framework conditions of air pollution control, waste management and circular economy as well as implementation of NDCs and SDGs based on Paris Agreement and Agenda 2030 of UN respectively.
- In a significant first, India piloted resolutions on two important global environment issues relating to Single-use Plastics and Sustainable Nitrogen management at the fourth session of United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) which was held in Nairobi from 11th to 15th March 2019.UNEA adopted both the resolutions with consensus.
- India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) Launched in March this year. India is one of the first countries in the world to develop a comprehensive Cooling Action plan which has a long term vision to address the cooling requirement across sectors and lists out actions which can help reduce the cooling demand. Cooling requirement is cross sectoral and an essential part for economic growth and is required across different sectors of the economy such as residential and commercial buildings, cold-chain, refrigeration, transport and industries.
- In order to strengthen the implementation of environmentally sound management of hazardous waste in the country, the Ministry amended the Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management & Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016 vide notification G.S.R. G.S.R. XX (E), dated 01 March 2019. The amendment has been done keeping into consideration the “Ease of Doing Business” and boosting “Make in India” initiative by simplifying the procedures under the Rules, while at the same time upholding the principles of sustainable development and ensuring minimal impact on the environment.
- On World environment Day, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar launched a people’s campaign #SelfiewithSapling urging all to join and plant a sapling and post the selfie with the sapling on social media. Shri Javadekar stressed that ‘Jan Bhagidari’ is integral towards tackling the environmental issues and environment protection has to be a people’s movement.
- The country has leapfrogged from Bharat Standard IV to Bharat Standard VI for vehicle emission norms and from 1st April 2020, vehicles will be BS VI compliant. There is also a strong push for use of e-vehicles by introducing multiple policy interventions and incentives.
Forest & Wildlife:
- A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in February between MoEF&CC and University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada for next 10 years in New Delhi. Both the institutions shall explore opportunities for future collaborations in the field of forestry science through their respective organizations namely Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education, Wildlife Institute of India, Forest Survey of India, Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy and Directorate of Forest Education, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India and University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
- A dedicated“Asiatic Lion Conservation Project” with a budgetary contribution of Rs 97.85 Cr from Central Government was launched in February . The Asiatic Lion endemic to Gir landscape of Gujarat, is one of the 21 critically endangered species identified by the Ministry for taking up recovery programmes.
- ‘Not all animals migrate by choice’ campaign launched to raise awareness on illegal wildlife trade.
- On the occasion of International Tiger Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi released the results of the fourth cycle of All India Tiger Estimation – 2018 in New Delhi on July 29th, 2019. The count of tigers in India has risen to 2967, in 2018, according to this census.
- In a major boost towards promoting afforestation and achieving green objectives of the country, the Ministry handed over Rs.47,436 crores of Compensatory Afforestation Fund anagement and Planning Authority, CAMPA funds to various states in August. Important activities on which the fund will be utilised will be for the Compensatory Afforestation, Catchment Area Treatment, Wildlife Management, Assisted Natural Regeneration, Forest Fire Prevention and Control Operations, Soil and Moisture Conservation Works in the forest, Improvement of Wildlife Habitat, Management of Biological Diversity and Biological Resources, Research in Forestry and Monitoring of CAMPA works etc.
- With efforts towards protecting and conserving Snow Leopards, the First National Protocol on Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India was launched on the occasion of International Snow Leopard Day in October.
- Draft amendment to the Indian Forests Act withdrawn to remove any misgivings, thereby enriching the livelihood of tribals and forest dwellers.