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1. Composite Water Management Index

  • Water Stressed Condition: When annual per-capita water availability is less than 1700 cubic meters.

  • Water Scarcity Condition: When annual per- capita water availability is less than 1000 cubic meters.

 

Background

  • Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2014 warned that approximately 80% of the world’s population suffers a severe threat to its water security.

  • World Bank indicates that by 2030 India’s per capita water availability may shrink to half, which will push the country into ‘water scarce’ category from the existing ‘water stress’ category.

  • India is home 16% of World’s population however, it holds only about 4% of global freshwater.

  • Water is a State subject and its optimal utilization and management lies predominantly within the domain of the States.

  • With nearly 70% of water being contaminated, India is placed at 120th amongst 122 countries in the water quality index.

 

Finding of the report

  • About Index: Index evaluates states on nine broad sectors and 28 indicators (see infographic)

  • 14 of the 24 states analysed scored below 50% on water management and have been classified as “low performers”.

  • 21 Indian cities including Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad will run out of groundwater by 2020, affecting 100 million people.

  • India is undergoing the worst water crisis in its history

  • 600 million people in India face high to extreme water stress in the country.

  • 75% of the households in the country do not have drinking water at their premise.

  • 84% rural households do not have piped water access.

  • About 200,000 people dying every year due to

 

Significance of CWMI

  • It will ensure that the principle of competitive and cooperative federalism is actualised in India’s water management system

  • It will help build pressure on states who have not performed well to improve their water management techniques as this is directly linked to agriculture prosperity in different states

  • Data from Index can be used by researchers, entrepreneurs, and policymakers to enable broader ecosystem innovation for water in India.inadequate access to safe water.

  • 40% of India’s population will have no access to drinking water by 2030.

  • India would face a 6% loss in its gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030.

  • Decreasing annual per capita availability of water: It fell from 1,820 cubic meters in 2001 to 1,545 cubic meters in 2011, which may further fall to 1,341 cubic meters in 2025.

  • Food security risk: Underperformance of states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and Haryana poses significant water and food security risks for the country as they account for 20-30% of India’s agriculture output and are home to over 600 million people.

  • Priority in National Agenda: Worsening water crisis in Cape Town has highlighted the risks and challenges that lie ahead for many Indian cities.

  • These crises have increased the momentum around effective water management, as between 2015-16 and 2016-17, about 60% (15 out of 24) of the states included in the Index have improved their scores.

  • Many water-scarce states have performed better in the Index like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Telangana.

 

Issues

  • Increasing Frequency of Drought: About 800 million of India’s 1.3 billion people depends on agriculture for a living, with 53% of agriculture is rainfed, creating socio-economic distress for farmers.

Successful Case Study

  • Community Managed Water Supply Programme (Gujarat): It aims to supply the village community with adequate, regular and safe water through household-level tap water connectivity, including households of people from backward communities.

  • Madhya Pradesh’s ‘Bhagirath Krishak Abhiyan’: It has resulted in the construction of thousands of farm ponds to boost irrigation potential, through the efforts of local farmers, government officers, and financial institutions such as NABARD.

  • Data for groundwater management: Andhra Pradesh’s online water dashboard: Under it, state has mapped 100% of its critical and over-exploited units and constructed recharge infrastructure across 96% of these, in addition to having created a regulatory framework for managing groundwater.

  • Lack of Coordination among States: Interstate water disagreements are increasing, reflecting poor national water governance.

  • Lack of water data: Data systems related to water in the country are limited in their coverage, robustness, and efficiency:

  • Limited coverage: Detailed data is not available for several critical sectors such as for domestic and industrial use.

  • Unreliable data: Available data can often be of inferior quality, inconsistent, and unreliable due to the use of outdated methodologies in data collection.

  • Limited coordination and sharing: Data in the water sectors exists in silos, thereby reducing efficiencies.

  • Climate change: Hot summers and shortened winters are resulting in retreating Himalayan glaciers, erratic monsoons, frequent floods etc, which are further worsening the situation throughout

  • Decline in precipitation: On an average rainfall declined, from 1,050 mm in the kharif season of 1970 to less than 1,000 mm in kharif 2015.

  • Water pollution: Almost 70% of the water resources are identified as polluted with organic and hazardous pollutants.

  • Groundwater contamination: Lack of proper wastewater treatment from domestic and industrial sources has led to progressive contamination of groundwater posing health risks

  • Poor farming practices: Indian agriculture accounts for about 90% of the country's annual domestic water consumption. However, unscientific practice alongwith freebies given by government have led to unsustainable and exploitative usage of water resources. Ex: Groundwater in India depleted at 10-25 mm per year between 2002 and 2016.

 

Way Forward

  • Fostering Cooperative and competitive Federalism: by formulating frameworks for national water governance, to improve Inter and Intra state cooperation across the broader water ecosystem.

  • Creating National Irrigation Management Fund (NIMF): To provide financial incentives to states to improve performance in irrigation management

  • Augmenting sources of clean drinking water supply and treatment technologies through watershed management, rainwater harvesting etc. to sustain increasing urbanisation and economic growth in cities.

  • Adopting hydrological-basin approach: For holistic river basin management (river basins cut across several state boundaries) instead of Administrative boundary approach.

  • Amendment in CWMI methodology: To emerge as reliable planning tool, Index should also include water productivity, water-use efficiency, crop water demand, drinking water supply rates, quality of supply, health indicators and environmental impacts other than 9 indicators.

  • Mobilize community participation: States should tap into the local knowledge base of problems and challenges surrounding water supply systems, while ensuring true representation through partnerships with NGOs and other relevant organizations.

  • Provide adequate capacity building and technical support: Community efforts should be supplemented by support in the form of adequate financing, technical know-how, financial management skills, etc.

  • Enable data-backed decision making: States need to create robust water data systems with real-time monitoring capabilities to ensure that the data can be used to target policy interventions and enable innovation in the broader water ecosystem.

  • Leverage private sector expertise: Private sector expertise, especially in the realms of technology and data, needs to be leveraged by governments to ensure the quick creation and efficient management of data and monitoring systems.

 

2. Plastic Ban

Background

  • Single-use plastics: Also referred as disposable plastics, are commonly used for plastic packaging and include items intended to be used only once before they are thrown away or recycled.

  • India was the global host of 2018 World Environment Day (June 5, 2018) with “Beat Plastic Pollution” as the theme, reflecting world commitment to combat single-use plastic pollution.

  • Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2016.

  • It defines the minimum thickness of plastic carry bags i.e. 50 microns. This would increase the cost and the tendency to provide free carry bags would come down.

  • Responsibility of local bodies: Rural areas are brought under the rules since plastic has reached rural areas as well. The gram sabhas have been given responsibility of implementation.

  • Extended Producer Responsibility: Producers and brand owners have been made responsible for collecting waste generated from their products.

  • Producers are to keep a record of their vendors to whom they have supplied raw materials for manufacturing. This is to curb manufacturing of these products in unorganised sector.

  • Responsibility of waste generator: All institutional generators of plastic waste shall segregate and store their waste as per Solid Waste Management Rules, and handover segregated wastes to authorized waste disposal facilities.

  • Responsibility of street vendors and retailers: Not to provide such carry bags or fine would be imposed. Only the registered shopkeepers on payment of a registration fee to local bodies would be allowed to give out plastic carry bags on charge.

  • To promote the use of plastic for road construction or energy recovery.

  • According to United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) if current pollution rates continue, there will be more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050, as globally, only 14% of plastics is recycled.

  • Only 24 States and Union Territories have complied with the Centre’s Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules, 2016, to regulate manufacture, sale, distribution and use of plastic carry bags including those of compostable plastic, and plastic sheets for packaging or wrapping applications.

  • Maharashtra Plastic Ban

  • Recently, Maharashtra Government enforced plastic ban in State. Issues with such plastic ban

  • Loss of jobs and revenue: According to an study, state-wide ban in Maharashtra will result in loss of up to Rs 15,000 crore and nearly 3 lakh job.

  • Implementation Issues: Uttar Pradesh Government has reintroduced plastic ban in state from July 15, 2018, third time since 2015, reflecting poor implementation of previous ban due to:

  • Confusion among manufacturer, business entity and consumer over what’s banned and what’s not.

  • Poor awareness among various stakeholder about the ban

  • Hasty decision taken, leading to poor planning and enforcement

  • cases of smuggling and the rise of black markets for plastic bags leading to widespread availability of and demand for polythene bags.

  • Taj Decrelation - It aims at gradual phasing out of single-use plastic water bottles and cutlery in the 500-metre radius of the Taj Mahal in the next five years and to make the monument litter-free.

  • Single Use Plastic: It account for 50% of the plastic we use, with none states in India have plans in place to tackle single use plastics.

 

Impact of plastic Pollution

  • Environmental Pollution: According to a 2014 toxics link study on plastic waste, it contributed directly to ground, air and water pollution.

  • Soil Pollution: Toxic chemicals leach out of plastic through landfill site, is linked to decreasing crop productivity, impacting food security, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other ailments

  • Poisoning Ocean: Every year, up to 13 million tons of plastic leak into our oceans, where it smothers coral reefs and threatens vulnerable marine wildlife. The plastic that ends up in the oceans can circle the Earth four times in a single year, and it can persist for up to 1,000 years before it fully disintegrates

  • Air Pollution: Disposing of plastic waste by burning it in open-air pits releases harmful gases like furan and dioxin.

  • Social Cost: The social damage continuously being inflicted is inestimable as every sphere of life get affected by it like tourism, recreation, business, the health of humans, animals, fish and birds.

  • Health Impact: Plastic bags often provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes and pests thus increase the transmission of vector-borne diseases like malaria.

  • Bioaccumulation: Plastic bags are often ingested by animals who mistakenly taken them for food due to which toxic chemicals entered the human food chain.

  • Financial Loss: The total economic damage to the world’s marine ecosystem caused by plastic amounts to at least $13 billion every year.

  • Exuberating Natural Disaster: Encroachment and clogging of city drainage with plastic and solid waste often leads to suburban flooding eg Mumbai experience annual flodding like situation during monsoon season due to water clogging etc

 

Way Forward

  • Enacting strong policies that push for a more circular model of design and production of plastics, for achieving India’s commitment to eliminate all single-use plastic in the country by 2022.(see infographic)

  • Encouraging Public-private partnerships and voluntary agreements as an alternatives to bans as it would allow citizens time to change their consumption patterns and provide an opportunity for affordable and eco-friendly alternatives

  • Exploring Alternative like biodegradable materials such as reused cotton or paper, jute bags, casein (main protein in milk) which can be used to make a biodegradable material for use in insulation, packaging and other products. According to Bloomberg, it is 500 times better than conventional plastics at protecting food from oxygen.

  • Promoting bioplastics as they can be easily decomposed and have higher biodegrability.

  • Promoting Green Social Responsibility concept to sensitise citizen and encourage them to be more sustainable in their approach through behavioural change by shifting to a production and consumption system that is smart, innovative and sustainable based on efficiencies across the entire life cycle of the product.

 

3. Nitrogen Emission

​​Highlights of the report

  • In India nitrogen emissions grew at 69% from 2001 to 2011 and has replaced methane as the second largest Greenhouse Gas (GHG) from Indian agriculture.

  • Agricultural soils contributed to over 70% of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions, followed by waste water (12%) and residential and commercial activities (6%).

  • As fertilizer, nitrogen is one of the main inputs for agriculture, but inefficiencies along the food chain mean about 80% of nitrogen is wasted.

  • Annual nitrogen emissions from coal, diesel and other fuel combustion sources are growing at 6.5% a year currently while emission from poultry industry is growing at the rate of 6%.

 

Effects of nitrogen pollution

  • Facts About Nitrogen

  • Nitrogen constitutes 78 percent of Earth's atmosphere and in the form of nitrous oxide (N2O) it acts as a greenhouse gas (GHG).

  • It is used in manufacture of ammonia, fertilizer, nitric acid and also use as refrigerating agent.

  • Through the phenomena of Nitrogen cycle, it is transferred from soil and water to the atmosphere through denitrification. Denitrification completes the nitrogen cycle by converting nitrate (NO3-) back to gaseous nitrogen (N2). Denitrifying bacteria are the agents of this process. These bacteria use nitrate instead of oxygen when obtaining energy, releasing nitrogen gas to the atmosphere. Excess of Nitrogen in the atmosphere has various impacts-

  • On Economy- India loses nitrogen worth US $10 billion per year as fertiliser value (through subsidy).Steps taken to control Nitrogen pollution

  • Soil Health Card provides information to farmers on nutrient status of their soil along with recommendations on appropriate dosage of nutrients for crop.

  • Mandatory neem-coated urea production to slow down the dissolution of nitrogen into soil, resulting into less nutrient requirement.

  • Bharat Stage Norms aim to regulate the harmful emission from vehicle. like carbon monoxide (CO), unburnt hydrocarbons (HC), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and Particulate matter (PM).

  • National Air Quality Index (NAQI) has been implemented in which Nitrogen Dioxide is one of the eight pollutants to be controlled and monitored.

  • On health- Its health and climate costs are pegged at US$ 75 billion per year. It is a major cause of Baby Blue syndrome.

  • On Agricultural Productivity- Excessive nitrogen in the form of fertilizer brings down the carbon content of the soil, result in diminishing returns in terms of crop yield.

  • On Environment: Excessive eutrophication which turns water body into Dead Zone, substance like nitric acid is a component of acid rain. Further, Nitrogen particles make up the largest fraction of PM2.5, class of pollutants.

 

Way forward

  • Rationalisedfertiliser subsidy: According to the report of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), subsidy on urea should be reduced, while increasing it on Phosphorus & Potassium to arrest the hugely adverse NPK ratio.

  • Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) (which indicates the ratio between the amount of fertilizer nitrogen removed from the field by the crop and the amount of fertilizer nitrogen applied) should be increased in order to maintain equilibrium between soil and fertilizer.

  • Recycling of industrial and Sewage waste for manure could decrease 40% of fertilisers usage in country. It could also lead to production of food more sustainably and open new economic opportunity in organic manure segment.

  • Efficient Agricultural Practices-such as precision agriculture (employs modern farming technique to increase food productivity like use of global positioning systems, electromagnetic soil mapping, soil sample collection), planting buffers of tree shrubs (help in absorbing or filtering out nutrients) are needed.

 

4. Dead-Zone

About Dead Zones

  • Dead zones (Hypoxic zones) are areas of the ocean (occasionally in lakes and even rivers) where oxygen has fallen to such low levels that most marine life cannot survive.

  • Dead zones are reversible if their causes are reduced or eliminated.

Causes

  • Rising sea temperatures-

  • o For each degree of ocean warming, oxygen concentration goes down by 2 percent.

  • o Over the short term, the higher temperatures slow the rate of ocean circulation, exacerbating regional oxygen depletion.

  • o It causes layers of ocean water to stratify so the more oxygen-rich surface waters are less able to mix with oxygen-poor waters from the deeper ocean.

  • o The higher temperatures are putting more stress on marine species, causing their metabolisms to speed up and their need for oxygen to increase.

  • Nutrient pollution from sources such as agriculture and sewage, is responsible for a dramatic rise in “dead zones” in the world’s oceans.

 

Impacts of Dead Zones

  • Impact on Global Warming- As Oxygen levels fall, the pace of climate change can accelerate, with low oxygen levels triggering the release of chemicals like nitrous oxide. This greenhouse gas is 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere.

  • Impact on Corals-Low oxygen levels of 2 milligrams of oxygen per litre of water or less, can kill coral reefs.

  • Impact on Human-Humans also suffer at an economic level as Chile’s 2016 toxic tides wiped out 20% of its salmon stock, costing the country $1 billion in lost sales.

 

5. Environmental Refugee

UN Refugee Convention (1951)

  • It grants certain rights to people fleeing persecution because of race, religion, nationality, affiliation to a particular social group, or political opinion.

  • The rights they are entitled to follow the principles of non-discrimination, non-penalisation, and nonrefoulement.

  • Cross-border displaced who have migrated due to climate change are not recognised as refugees under the 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 protocol, and thus do not qualify for protection under national or international legal frameworks for refugee protection.

Background

  • Definition: According to International Organization for Migration, Environmental migrants are persons or groups of persons who, predominantly for reasons of sudden or progressive change in the environment that adversely affects their lives or living conditions, are obliged to leave their habitual homes, or choose to do so, either temporarily or permanently, and who move either within their country or abroad.

  • According to Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, every year since 2008, an average of 26.4 million persons around the world have been forcibly displaced by floods, windstorms, earthquakes or droughts.

 

Other Challenges faced by migrants

  • Trafficking and forced labour: Women and children are often an easy target for inhuman treatment.

  • Harassment by police and officials of states where they have migrated to

  • Exploitation by local contractors who force them to accept lower wages.

  • No access to schools for their children and no health services for the family.

  • Disruption of cultural and community ties.

 

ILO right of Migrant

  • Freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining,

  • Elimination of forced or compulsory labour,

  • Abolition of child labour and

  • Elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

  • Vulnerable Countries: Disaster displacement occurs mostly in low and lower-middle income countries, and is expected to increase in the future with the impacts of climate change and more extreme weather.

  • According to an UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) report, India has been ranked as the world's most disaster-prone country for displacement of residents.

 

Issues Faced by Environment Refugee

  • Slow onset events and implications for human rights

  • It can negatively impact an array of internationally guaranteed human rights by denying the rights to adequate food, nutrition, livelihood, water, health, and housing.

  • People especially in vulnerable situations are at the greatest risk of suffering human rights harms as a result of their adverse effects

  • Impact on Cultural Heritage: The loss of traditional territories land threatens the existence of traditional and cultural heritage of minority and indigenous groups

  • Impact on Right to work: Migrant are often abused and discriminated in migrated country during work, which is against International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Declaration on the Fundamental Principles and Rights to Work.

  • Cases of Migration Emergencies: It refers to construction of barriers to entry and practices such as the use of violence, pushbacks, dangerous interceptions, the erection of fences, and administrative sentences that put migrants at risk.

  • Slow Onset Events: It includes sea level rise, increasing temperatures, ocean acidification, glacial retreat, salinization, land and forest degradation, loss of biodiversity, and desertification.

  • It has affected millions of people, more than double than those affected by storms and extreme events over the same period of time.

  • Vulnerability of South ASIA: Region has experienced slow onset changes like desertification, glacial melting, drought, riverbank erosion, sea water intrusion etc.

  • It is home to 64% of the world’s total population that is exposed to floods annually

  • India’s Vulnerabilities: India's 6% population, lives 10 metres or less above sea level. Any change in sea level can trigger mass displacement, and other issues like food shortage, salt water intrusion, decline in livelihood, health risk like epidemic, etc.

 

Way Forward

  • Accepting Principle of non-refoulement: State must provide human rights protections for all people under its

  • Nansen Initiative (2012)

  • It’s a state-led consultative process to build consensus on a protection agenda addressing the needs of people displaced across borders in the context of disasters and the effects of climate change.

  • Nansen Initiative Protection Agenda for Cross-Border Displaced Persons (2015)

  • Aim: To enhance understanding, provide a conceptual framework, and identify effective practices for strengthening the protection of cross-border disaster-displaced persons

  • Strategy: It supports an approach that focuses on the integration of effective practices by States and (sub-) regional organizations into their own normative frameworks in accordance with their specific situations and challenges.

  • It identifies effective practices to manage disaster displacement risk in the country of origin to prevent displacement by

  • o reducing vulnerability and building resilience to disaster displacement risk,

  • o facilitating migration out of hazardous areas before disasters strike,

  • o conducting planned relocation

  • o responding to the needs of internally displaced persons

  • Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD): It was launched in 2016, to implement the recommendations of the Nansen Initiative Protection Agenda.

 

Jurisdiction, including migrants in irregular situations.

  • Human rights-based approach: States must be obligated to respect and protect their commitment through robust implementation of human rights obligations to address the needs and vulnerabilities of those adversely affected by slow onset events.

  • Adopting principle of common but differentiated responsibility (CBDR) alongwithpolluter pays principle, and climate justice approach , so that most responsible for climate change should bear the primary responsibility for addressing its impacts.

  • Implementing International convention in soul and spirit to avoid 2 billion climate refugees by the end of the 21st century.

  • Comprehensive Policy Formulation: State must frame policy by adopting participatory decision making process in context of climate change to put people at the centre of solutions.

  • Proactive adaptation measures that incorporate indigenous knowledge which offer agricultural intervention, secure livelihoods and enhance adaptive capacity.

  • According Refugee status to environmental refugees: People migrating due to environmental disasters should be accorded ‘refugee’ status in international law for addressing challenges of climate-change induced migration comprehensively.

 

6. Fiscal Costs Of Natural Disasters

Background

  • According to International Disaster Database annual global economic losses on account of disasters are estimated at around $306 billion.

  • Similarly, the cost of natural disasters in India since 2000 is estimated at Rs 4 lakh crore with over 75,000 deaths.

  • According to World Meteorological Organisation, for Indian Subcontinent, 2017 was the most expensive year on record for severe weather and climate events.

  • Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction calls for reducing direct disaster economic loss in relation to global gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030.

 

Finding of Report

  • Disproportionate Impact of Disaster on Low-income countries: They tend to suffer large and lasting damage relative to their economic sizes and populations. It’s also exacerbated by high levels of poverty, climate

 

Disaster Risk Insurance

Advantages

  • Legal Entitlement: Policy holders are legally entitled to compensation instead of being at the mercy of government.

  • Timely Intervention: They can reach a large number of people within a short period of time

  • Easing of fiscal burden: By reducing or even avoiding long-term costs to public financial stability, economic growth, optimal allocation of capital and human development.

  • Governance: It demands structured decision-making processes around, leading to improved and efficient disaster risk governance.

  • Gender impacts: Women in the community are more receptive than men to the benefits of microinsurance

 

Challenges

  • Moral hazard is one of the primary risks associated with indemnity insurance as policyholder increases his or her risk exposure by taking fewer preventative actions

  • Opportunity Cost of Premium payments is an important factor conditioning the impact of risk transfer upon the vulnerability of policyholders.

  • Political Viability: It is hard to justify use of taxpayer money on premiums to an insurance scheme that potentially would not pay out in some case of a disaster.

  • Lack of Data: There is scarce empirical evidence demonstrating an operational link between risk transfer and risk reduction

  • Low capacity from the policyholders leading to misunderstanding of the risk context, lack of financial literacy and failure to accurately correlate risk models with losses on the ground.

  • Affordability, availability and reliability are some practical challenges.

  • change, rapid urbanisation and exposure to the entire spectrum of natural hazards including drought, floods, cyclones, earthquakes and heatwaves.

  • Fiscal Imbalance: Natural disasters can deplete a government’s fiscal position by eroding the revenue base (on average by 10%) and increasing expenditures (on average by 15%).

  • Impact on Socio-economic Development: Disasters undermine economic growth and set back development objectives, such as poverty reduction, especially in developing and low-income countries with significant infrastructure gaps and institutional constraints.

  • Crowding out of Fund: Disaster often increases public debt, leading to higher borrowing by government, and dampening of investment climate in country.

 

Suggestion in Report

  • Sound Public Financial Management (PFM) Strategy: This can be achieved by designing fiscal risk reduction through:

  • For small- and medium-scale natural disasters: Budgetary support should be the main instrument for managing the fiscal impacts of probable or possible small- and medium-scale natural disasters.

  • Creating Contingency Reserves in the Budget: To tackle unforeseen expenditures and to cover the costs of moderate but frequent natural disasters.

  • For large-scale natural disasters: Innovative options like Catastrophe bonds and insurance should be the most common instrument along with budgetary support so as to reduce government fiscal exposure on long and large term financing.

  • Creating Natural Disaster Funds: It aims to build a fiscal buffer, to cover the potential cost of a catastrophic event in a timely manner without endangering long-term fiscal sustainability. On average 3% of budget should be buffered to deal with the fiscal risks associated with natural disasters.

  • Incorporating Escape Clause in Budgets:To provide flexibility with fiscal target and ensuring timely and effective disaster response.

  • Fiscal incentives: Targeted subsidies to strengthen resilience by promoting strong Public Infrastructure, encouraging the retrofitting of existing properties, supporting drought-resilient crops, protecting and expanding forest coverage, and preserving scarce water resources.

  • Transparency: It’s important to mitigate social and economic consequences of disaster, by providing accurate and adequate information for informed decision making and to maintain the integrity of budget processes.

 

Way Forward

  • Building Back Better: According to World Bank, when countries rebuild stronger, faster and more inclusively after natural disasters, they can reduce the impact on people’s livelihoods and well-being by as much as 31%, potentially cutting global average losses from $555 billion to $382 billion per year.

  • Invest in risk reduction: According to Global Assessment Report (GAR) 2015, an annual global investment of $6 billion in disaster risk management strategies would generate total benefits in terms of risk reduction of $360 billion.

  • Encouraging economic diversification: To minimize the impact of disaster on any particular sector.

  • Increasing Insurance Penetration for risk sharing with government in post disaster response.

 

7. National Disaster Risk Index

More About The Index

  • The disaster risk index would map hazards and vulnerabilities including economic vulnerabilities across 640 districts and all states including UTs.

  • The index factors in exposure of population, agriculture and livestock, environmental risk and the steps taken by the administration to mitigate the risks.

  • Some states have made significant progress in disaster risk reduction (DRR) by building resilient infrastructure and investing in early warning systems.

  • Capacity building by Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Tripura and Himachal Pradesh has lowered their net risk to population and economic losses while States like UP, MP are considered high-risk states despite facing lower natural hazard possibilities due to high vulnerability and low capacity-building.

  • It will be used to prepare a composite disaster scorecard (DSC) to have a comprehensive assessment of hazards, vulnerabilities and risks of disasters at different levels, prevention of new risks and mitigation of existing risks, and mainstreaming DRR across different sectors of development.

  • The index is in line with India’s commitment to the Sendai Framework, where it has to substantially bring down disaster losses in terms of lives and properties.

 

8. OFF-SHORE WIND POWER

Advantages of offshore wind power over the onshore wind power

  • Related information

  • Offshore wind power is the use of wind farms constructed in bodies of water, usually in the ocean on the continental shelf, to harvest wind energy to generate electricity.

  • Globally there has been installation of about 17 to 18 GW of off-shore wind power led by countries such as UK, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands & China.

  • In India, there is yet no commercial production of energy from off-shore wind farm. Two regions where preliminary studies are conducted are off coast of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu which have shown significant potential.

  • MNRE has declared medium and long-term target for off-shore wind power capacity additions, which are 5 GW by 2022 and 30 GW by 2030.

  • For onshore wind power, the generation capacity in India has significantly increased in recent years. Currently the total installed wind power capacity is 34.04 GW, the fourth largest installed wind power capacity in the world.

  • Greater area available for setting up large projects: one of the primary reasons for moving towards off-shore projects is the lack of suitable wind turbine sites on land.

  • Higher wind speed: Therefore, the offshore wind power’s electricity generation is higher per amount of capacity installed.

  • Consistent wind speed: the effective use of wind turbine generating capacity will be higher at sea than on land.

  • Less visual impact: As these sites are located far from land they have less visual impact which helps with public acceptance issues.

  • Close to load centres: The off-shore wind farms are usually located near to the cities and load centres thus

  • “National Offshore Wind Energy Policy –2015”

  • National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) has been authorized as the Nodal Agency for development of offshore wind energy.

 

Objectives

  • To Explore and Promote Deployment of Offshore Wind Farms in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the country, including those under Public Private Partnership.

  • To Promote Investment in Energy Infrastructure.

  • To Achieve Energy Security and Reduce Carbon Emissions

  • To Promote Research and Development and encourage Indigenization of the Offshore Wind Energy Technology.

  • To Create Skilled Manpower and Employment in the offshore wind energy sector.

  • To develop coastal infrastructure and supply chain to support heavy construction & fabrication work and the Operation & Maintenance activities.

  • transmission losses are minimised.

  • Environmental impact: low global warming potential per unit of electricity generated, comparable to that of onshore wind farms.

 

Challenges

  • Cost: Costs for foundations, installation, electrical connections and operation and maintenance (O&M) are a large share of the total for offshore installations compared to onshore wind farms.

  • Sustained high-speed wind, high humidity and salt water make every aspect of installation and operation much more difficult, time-consuming, more dangerous and far more expensive than sites on land.

  • The offshore wind industry is not yet fully industrialized, so cost of per unit energy is not economical.

  • Data: the data required for the calculation of off- shore wind potential and identication of suitable sites is not adequately available. The data can be divided into 2 parts:

  • Wind resource map: consists of the wind speed and wind density at certain levels above the sea.

  • Bathymetric data: gives the information about the sea depth at various positions. At present there is no such data available for the Indian sub-continent.

  • Environmental impact: physical presence of offshore wind farms and underwater noise associated with the turbines may alter the behavior of marine mammals, fish, and seabirds with attraction or avoidance.

 

Way forward

  • India has more than 7600 Kilometres of coast and associated Exclusive Economic Zone, hence the prospects of development of offshore wind power are very bright.

  • The Wind resorce map and bathymetric map should be prepared along the coast to adequately map the potential of offshore wind power. Research and development should be done to deal with other concerns specially the environmental concerns.

  • Government should provide adequate support to realise the potential as per the “National Offshore Wind Energy Policy –2015”.

  • The government should take the feed-in-tariff (FiT) route to support off-shore wind power (FiT enables anyone who generates electricity from renewable energy source – be it a home owner, small business or a large electricity utility - to sell it to the grid and receive guaranteed long-term payments at a predetermined rate for energy transferred.)

 

9. Electric Vehicles

More on news

  • According to panel, the fuel efficiency norms have to be lowered by 20-25 percent over FY 2017-18 data to have approximate induction of 3 to 5% EVs, as against total manufactured vehicles including cars, three-wheeler, and two-wheeler.

  • Earlier, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has mandated fuel efficiency norms that require cars to be 30% more fuel efficient by 2022.

 

Need for electric vehicles

  • Use of electric vehicles will help in fulfilling our INDC 2030 goals (cutting CO2 emissions intensity in GDP by 33-35% w.r.t. 2005 levels). It will also help to combat increasing air pollution load (PM2.5 & PM10) in Indian Cities as Fossil fuel based transportation is second largest source of carbon dioxide emission.

  • Shift towards EVs will help cut oil imports (India has set targets to cut oil imports by 10% by 2022). EVs convert about 59%–62% of the electrical energy to power at the wheels. Conventional gasoline vehicles only convert about 17%–21% of the energy stored in gasoline to power at the wheels.

  • Creation of Industries and Infrastructure will create jobs in India both upstream and downstream supply chain.

 

Challenges

  • Upfront cost of EVs is very high, about 4-5 times of conventional diesel vehicles. Most critical component which decide EVs cost is Lithium Ion Battery and about 95% of Global Lithium Production comes from China, Chile, Argentina, Australia. India would need to acquire mineral assets/rights in these nations or Make Outside India will have to be explored.

  • Lack of comprehensive policy: India needs to bring out comprehensive reforms involving all stakeholders for large scale adoption of EVs.

 

Government steps

  • National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020 with an aim to achieve national fuel security by promoting hybrid and electric vehicles in the country. It set an ambitious target to achieve 6-7 million sales of hybrid and electric vehicles year on year from 2020 onwards.

  • Scheme for Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME), as a part of its NEMMP. The scheme has four focus areas: technology development, pilot project, charging infrastructure and demand creation.

  • The Union government has decided that from 2030 only electric & hybrid vehicles will be sold.

  • The schemes like Make In India & Smart City Mission can be integrated to promote the use of the electric vehicles and achieve such ambitious targets.

  • The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has called upon industry leaders to make bids to avail its indigenously developed Lithium-Ion Cell Technology.

  • Need of robust data reporting system and independent verification tests to verify compliance with the standards as the entire system depends on self-reporting by the car industry.

  • Lack of research and development: is a big challenge in up scaling indigenous development. Unlike in other developed countries Indian academic sector is not adequately contributing in developing cutting-edge technologies.

  • Availability of renewable energy: In India, thermal power plants (biggest greenhouse gas emitter) constitute 65-68% of electricity generation, and there is very low share of renewable energy. Hence large scale adoption of EVs could lead to sudden surge in electricity demand which could potentially provoke greater carbon dioxide emissions.

 

10. Sand Imports

More about the news

  • Huge demand for the natural mineral:

  • According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), sand, along with gravels, are already the most extracted minerals—accounting for 69-85% of the minerals mined every year. Demand of sand in India was around 700 million tonnes in FY-2017 and it is increasing at the rate of 6-7% annually.

  • According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the construction sector has grown at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 6 per cent and because of rapid urbanization and infrastructure growth and government initiatives like Housing for all, the demand for Sand is set to rise.

 

Steps taken to facilitate Sand Import

  • In 2014, Union Ministry of Commerce and Industries allowed import of sand to increase its availability.

  • Karnataka, Kerala amended mineral concession rules laying down the procedure for sand imports to facilitate importers.

  • In March, Tamil Nadu issued a tender notice to import 3 million tonnes of river sand from various countries at Rs 548.73 crore over the next two years.

  • Sand mining framework launched in March 2018 also prescribed the use of imported sand (as an alternative to sand mining) after it qualifies for quality standards and is free from phyto-sanitary issues.

 

Benefits of sand imports in India

  • Can fight sand shortage in most states: In 2017-18, a survey of 14 major sand producing states by the Ministry of Mines (MoM) estimated that the demand of sand far outstrips supply in all the states, except Haryana, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh. Imported sand though tends to be costly, is suitable for high deficit areas.

  • Addresses ban imposed by courts and NGT: Bans by the courts or the National Green Tribunal (NGT) have led to the shortage of sand supply in many states, for instance, last year NGT banned sand mining in parts of Maharashtra and Uttarakhand High Court imposed a four-month state-wide ban on sand mining.

  • Desert sand and sea sand not suitable for construction: In deserts, sand grains are too round because of the heavy winds, making them unable to stick together.

  • Sea sand is better, but its salt content result in corrosion of steel in reinforced concrete. River-sand thus become a highly demanded mineral.

  • Tackling illegal quarrying: there is rampant illegal mining going on in major river beds because of exploitation of legal loopholes, poor implementation of laws, absence of robust

  • Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 (MMDR) allows states to make rules related to minor minerals, such as building stones, gravel, ordinary clay, ordinary sand and construction sand.

  • Use of alternative sources such as construction and Demolition (C&D) wastes and Manufactured Sand (m-sand):

  • India generates 25-30 million tonnes of C&D waste every year, but currently processes just 5 per cent of it whereas Singapore recycles 98% using it to meet its construction demand.

  • Extracting Sand from coal overburden and use of Silt from major dams can also be explored as an alternative.

  • As suggested by the Sand mining framework of 2018, there is an urgent need to implement the Sustainable Sand Mining Guidelines of 2016 which among other things had suggested the use of information technology to monitor sand mining, creation of District Survey Reports (DSR) to estimate sand availability in the mining districts.

  • monitoring mechanisms and nexus between politicians and mafias. The 2017 report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) found that illegal sand mining cost the state exchequer of Uttar Pradesh a massive Rs 477 crore in 2015-16.

  • Can reduce the cost of sand in long run in the domestic market, hence making affordable housing feasible.

  • Benefits for exporting countries: Some south-east Asian countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia have ample sand available in their country, which if not removed could lead to floods. The sand could be imported to India.

 

11. Dam Safety Bill 2018

National Dam Safety Authority

  • It maintains liaison with the State Dam Safety Organizations and the owners of dams for standardization of dam safety related data and practices;

  • It shall provide the technical and managerial assistance to the States and State Dam Safety Organizations;

  • It maintains a national level data-base of all dams in the country and the records of major dam failures;

  • It shall examine the cause of any major dam failure;

  • It shall accord recognition or accreditations to the organizations that can be entrusted with the works of investigation, design or construction of new dams;

 

Significance of the bill:

  • About 75 percent of the large dams in India are more than 25 years old and about 164 dams are more than 100 years old. A badly maintained, unsafe dam can be a hazard to human life, flora and fauna, even India has had 36 dam failures in the past.

  • It address all issues concerning dam safety including regular inspection of dams, Emergency Action Plan, comprehensive dam safety review, adequate repair and maintenance funds for dam safety, Instrumentation and Safety Manuals.

  • It lays onus of dam safety on the dam owner and provides for penal provisions for commission and omission of certain acts.

 

Key features of the proposed Bill

  • The objective of this Bill is to help develop uniform, countrywide procedures for ensuring the safety of dams and provides for proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all specified dams in the country to ensure their safe functioning.

  • It provides for constitution of a National Committee on Dam Safety which shall evolve dam safety policies and recommend necessary regulations

  • It provides for establishment of National Dam Safety Authority as a regulatory body which shall discharge functions to implement the policy, guidelines and standards for dam safety in the country.

  • The Bill provides for constitution of a State Committee on Dam Safety by State Government.

 

About State Committee on Dam Safety

  • It will ensure proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all specified dams in that State and ensure their safe functioning.

  • Every state having specified number of dams will establish State Dam Safety Organization which will be manned by officers from the field dam safety preferably from the areas of dam-designs, hydro-mechanical engineering, hydrology, geo-technical investigation, instrumentation and dam-rehabilitation.

June Environmental Issues

12. South Asia’s Hotspots: World Bank Report

  • Climate-sensitive

  • It represents a future in which some collective action is taken to limit greenhouse gas emissions and global annual average temperatures increase to 2.4°C by 2100 relative to pre-industrial levels.

  • Carbon-intensive

  • It represents a future in which no actions are taken to reduce emissions and global annual average temperatures will increase 4.3°C by 2100 relative to pre-industrial levels.

 

More about report

  • It estimates how changes in temperature and monsoon patterns will affect GDP and living standards in South Asian region.

  • The report identifies “hotspots” as the states /districts where these changes will have a notable effect on living standards.

  • It observed six countries in South Asia Nepal, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka for the study.

  • The report looks at two scenarios: climate-sensitive and carbon-intensive. Both show rising temperatures throughout the region in coming decades, with the carbon-intensive scenario showing greater increases.

  • It will be useful for designing social welfare programmesby accounting for local socio-economic characteristics and climate-related risks and reorient strategies and policies targeted to hotspot inhabitants, the hidden victims of climate change.

 

Main finding of report

  • Overall region related findings

  • Almost half of South Asia’s population now lives in areas that are projected to become moderate to severe hotspots under the carbon-intensive scenario by 2050.

  • It has found that living standards in some currently cold and dry mountain areas could improve marginally. India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will be adversely affected by these changes, while Afghanistan and Nepal will benefit as they are relatively cold.

  • The report finds that most of the expected hotspots are currently characterized by low living standards, poor road connectivity, uneven access to markets, and other development challenges.

  • Most of the hotspots included in the report are in inland areas. i.e. there will be more warming in inland and less warming in coastal areas beyond 2050.

  • Average household consumption in the region will decline after average temperature exceeds a peak. Majority of the region’s population lives in areas where temperature is already above the said peak.

 

India specific findings

  • Approximately 600 million people in India today live in locations that would become moderate or severe hotspots by 2050 under the carbon-intensive scenario.

  • India’s average temperature is predicted to increase by 1.5-3°C if no measures are taken and by 1-2°C if preventive measures are taken along the lines of the Paris Agreement by 2050

  • Rising temperatures and changing monsoon rainfall patterns from climate change could cost India 2.8% of GDP, and depress the living standards of nearly half the country’s population by 2050.

  • States in the central, northern and northwestern parts of India emerge as the most vulnerable. Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, which are predicted to experience a decline in living standards of more than 9%, are the top two ‘hotspot’ States in India, followed by Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra.

  • Of the top 10 most affected hotspot districts, 7 are in Vidarbha, Maharashtra and the remaining 3 in Chhattisgarh and MP.

  • In the absence of major climate mitigation, nearly 148 million Indians will be living in these severe hotspots in 2050.

 

Recommendations

  • No single set of interventions will work in all hotspots. Targeted Policies and actions to address the specific needs based on local conditions are required for effective mitigation. Targeting resources efficiently to the most vulnerable communities and groups should be a priority.

  • Investing in skills, health, knowledge, better infrastructure, and a more diversified economy will reduce climate hotspots at the household, district, and country levels.

  • Boosting research and development on new technologies, such as drought-resistant crops, and other Technological advances, coupled with expanded irrigation systems, will work to make agriculture less sensitive to climate change in the long-term.

  • Governments should promote private actions on adaptation of new skills for building resilience by policies like providing weather forecasts and climate risk assessments.

  • For India specific measures, targeted interventions for improving educational attainment, reducing water stress, and improving nonagricultural employment opportunities can act as a game changer.

 

13. ENSEMBLE PREDICTION SYSTEMS (EPS)

India Meteorological Department

  • IMD established in 1875, is a principal government agency in all matters related to meteorology, seismology and allied subjects.

  • Along with Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF), is under the administrative control of Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).

  • IMD recently launched the Ensemble Prediction Systems (EPS) to provide probabilistic weather forecasts upto next 10 days.

 

About EPS

  • It has been developed jointly by the IMD, National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF) and the Indian Institute of Tropical

  • Meteorology

  • The new system consisting of eight petaflops high-power computing systems shall improve upon deterministic forecasts that are prone to high margins of error.

  • Under this, the area of spatial resolution, which is 23 km presently, will reduce to 12 km, enabling the meteorological department to give district-level warning.

  • With this new model, India joins the US with a model that predicts with a 12 km resolution. Only the 'European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecast' has a better 9km resolution.

  • Better forecasting would lead to better management of agriculture and water resources and would help to promote tourism, solar and wind energy.

 

14. Google For Water Resource Management

About the move

  • Central Ground Water Commission

  • It is an attached office of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation ((MoWR, RD&GR).

  • Functions: Control, conservation and utilization of water resources throughout the country, for purpose of Flood Control, Irrigation, Navigation, Drinking Water Supply and Water Power Development.

  • National Hydrology Project

  • Wold bank assisted programme launched in 2016.

  • Objective: to improve the extent, quality, and accessibility of water resources information, decision support system for floods.

  • Setting up of a system for timely and reliable water resources data acquisition, storage, collation and management.

  • It provides for establishment of National Water Informatics Centre (NWIC) as an independent organization under the control of MoWR, RD&GR.

  • It assists in promoting ‘efficient and equitable’ use of water, especially groundwater, to the village level and provide information on quality of water as well.

  • CWC and Google will share technical expertise in the fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning, geospatial mapping and analysis of hydrological observation data to collaborate on

  • Improving flood prediction systems, which will help provide location-targeted, actionable flood warnings,

  • High priority research project utilizing Google Earth Engine to help visualize and improve flood management.

  • A cultural project to build online exhibitions on the Rivers of India.

  • The information in the form of likely extent and depth of inundation would be disseminated with a lead time of up to 3 days. For 2018, inundation forecasting would be done on trial basis and the same would be up scaled in near future.

  • A similar programme launched previously by the government is the National Hydrology Project which aims to streamline the hydro-metrological data system in country.

 

15. Blue Flag Certification

Society for Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM)

  • It has been established under the aegis of Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate change, Government of India.

  • The main objectives of SICOM are as follows:

  • To support implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) activities in India.

  • To implement the World Bank assisted India ICZM Project

  • To provide Research Development (R&D) and stakeholders participation in management of the Coastal areas in India.

  • To undertake any additional work or function as may be assigned by Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change from time to time in the area of Coastal Management and other related activities.

  • 13 Indian beaches have been shortlisted for the Blue flag certification.

 

More on news

  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had started a pilot project under a Unified Coastal Areas Management Programmeto develop the Indian beaches according to the Blue Flag standards in December 2017.

  • This project aims to o improve the aquatic habitat by cleaning the growing pollution and garbage in the Indian beaches.

  • develop ecological tourism with constant progress and development of tourist facilities.

  • Chandrabhaga beach of Odisha's Konark coast was the first to complete the tag certification process will be the first in Asia to get the Blue Flag certification.

  • Apart from it, 12 other beaches across are also being developed by the Society for Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM) as blue flag beaches which include Maharashtra's Chiwla and Bhogave beaches and one beach each from Puducherry, Goa, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

  • An integrated coastal management scheme, referred as Beach Management Service (BeaMS) has also been introduced by the ministry to reduce existing pollutants on beaches and achieve such high international standards.

 

Blue Flag Standards

  • The Blue Flag beach standards were established by Copenhagen-based Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) in 1985 in France.

  • The Blue Flag is an environmental award for beaches, sustainable boating tourism operators, and marinas.

  • Only local authorities or private beach operators can apply for a Blue Flag for beaches.

  • The criteria for Blue Flag beaches cover four main area: o water quality,

  • environmental management,

  • environmental education and

  • safety.

 

16. Rare Spider Rediscovered

More from news

  • A team of researchers from Centre for Animal Taxonomy and Ecology (CATE) discovered the spider named ChrysillaVollupeafter 150 years which was believed to be extinct.

  • The rediscovery is significant for the fact that the female specimen was spotted for the first time and it also points to the need to conduct more explanatory surveys of faunal diversity of India.

 

About ChrysillaVollupe

  • The Spider belongs to the family of jumping spider (Salticidae).

  • Female spider has blue iridescent bluish scales present in the top of head region of female and orange bands on both sides of the head.

  • The spider has eight black eyes are arranged in the front and sides of head region.

  • The spider makes a retreat between green leaves of small plants.

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