The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) recently has issued a 15-point directive to the 11-Ganga basin states to prevent idol immersion into river Ganga and its tributaries and on their banks, including cordoning off the ghats.
- According to the directive, a fine of Rs. 50,000 would be imposed if immersion of idols took place in the Ganga or its tributaries during festivals, including Dussehra, Diwali, Chhath and Saraswati Puja.
- According to NMCG officials, the large-scale immersion of idols and puja material in the Ganga and its tributaries during festive occasions led to an alarming rise in pollutants in the river.
- The directive has been sent to officials of these 11 states namely- Uttarakhand, UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh.
- The Chief Secretaries of these 11 states have also been asked to submit an action taken report within seven days from the end of each festival.
- These directives were issued by NMCG under Section-5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
Initiatives to Clean Ganga
- Ganga is a trans-boundary river of Asia which flows through India and Bangladesh. It is the longest river in India and is a lifeline to millions of people who live along its course.
- Causes of Ganga Pollution: The main causes of water pollution in the river Ganga are:
- Industrial waste (dumping of various harmful & untreated industrial waste into the river),
- Human waste (human activities such as bathing, washing clothes, etc.),
- Religious waste (religious bath, cremation near the ghats, idol immersion, etc.)
Initiatives to Prevent Ganga Pollution
- Ganga Action Plan: It was the first River Action Plan that was taken up by the Ministry of Environment & Forests in 1985, to improve the water quality by the interception, diversion, and treatment of domestic sewage. It also aimed to prevent toxic and industrial chemical wastes (from identified polluting units) from entering the river.
- National River Conservation Plan was an extension to the Ganga Action Plan, so as to cover all the major rivers of the country.
- ‘National River Ganga Basin Authority (NRGBA)’ was formed by the Central Government of India in the year 2009 under Section-3 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986. It is chaired by the Prime Minister of India.
- It declared the Ganga as the ‘National River’ of India.
- In 2010, ‘Government clean-up campaign’ was started to ensure that by 2020 no untreated municipal sewage or industrial runoff enters river.
- In 2014, ‘Namami Gange Programme’ was launched as an Integrated Conservation Mission, to accomplish the twin objectives of effective abatement of pollution, conservation, and rejuvenation of National River Ganga.
- The program is being implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), and its state counterpart organization viz., State Program Management Groups (SPMGs).
- It is the flagship programme of the Union Government with a budget outlay of Rs. 20,000 crore.
- The main pillars of the programme are:
- Sewerage Treatment Infrastructure & Industrial Effluent Monitoring,
- River-Front Development & River-Surface Cleaning,
- Bio-Diversity & Afforestation,
- Public Awareness.
National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)
- It is the implementation wing of the National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection, and Management of River Ganga also known as National Ganga Council (set in 2016; which replaced the NRGBA).
- NMCG was established in the year 2011 as a registered society.
- It has a two-tier management structure and comprises of Governing Council and Executive Committee.
- The aims and objectives of NMCG are:
- To ensure effective control of pollution and rejuvenation of the river Ganga by adopting a river basin approach to promote inter-sectoral coordination for comprehensive planning and management.
- To maintain minimum ecological flows in the river Ganga with the aim of ensuring water quality and environmentally sustainable development.
- Ganga Manthan- It was a national conference that was held in 2014 to discuss issues and possible solutions for cleaning the river. The event was organized by the National Mission for Clean Ganga.
- In 2014, Clean Ganga Fund was also formed for cleaning up of the Ganga, setting up of waste treatment plants, conservation of biotic diversity of the river, and development of public amenities (activities such as Ghat redevelopment, and Research and Development and innovative projects). This fund will also be used to finance National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).
- In 2017, the National Green Tribunal banned the disposal of any waste in the Ganga.
- Suitable alternative arrangements for idol immersion must be made in an environmental-friendly manner in order to preserve and conserve both the religious beliefs & sentiments and the environment.
- The concerned authorities must ensure effective monitoring and strict enforcement of the enacted rules and regulations.
- Even though the government has claimed that significant progress has been made, the data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) from earlier this year (2019) stated that water from River Ganga at several stretches is still unfit for direct drinking and bathing. So proper auditing and reporting must be done to take relevant actions.
The government has launched a web portal, PRAKASH (Power Rail Koyla Availability through Supply Harmony), with a view to improving coordination between the power, coal and railway ministries to ensure coal supplies to power plants.
- It has been developed by NTPC and sources data from different stakeholders such as Central Electricity Authority (CEA), Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS) and coal companies.
- The portal is not accessible to the general public.
- Present mechanism to review coal supply situation consists of an inter-ministerial group which has officials from Ministries of Power, Coal and Railways, Central Electricity Authority (CEA), Power Utilities and Coal companies.
- This group holds weekly meetings to review coal supply situation as well as railway logistics.
- It was observed that this mechanism faced several issues such as scattered information, correctness of data from different organizations, timely availability of data etc. This often led to difficulties in decision making.
Benefits of Portal to the Stakeholders
- Stakeholders including the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and Power System Operation Corporation Ltd. (POSOCO) can review overall availability of coal at thermal power plants in different regions. The Portal will make available related reports.
- Coal company will be able to track stocks and the coal requirement at power stations for effective production planning.
- Indian Railways will plan to place the rakes as per actual coal available.
- Power stations can plan future schedule by knowing rakes in pipe line and expected time to reach.
- NTPC is India’s largest energy conglomerate with roots planted way back in 1975 to accelerate power development in India.
- Its mission is to provide reliable power and related solutions in an economical, efficient and environment friendly manner, driven by innovation and agility.
- NTPC became a Maharatna company in May 2010.
- It is located in New Delhi.
Central Electricity Authority
- CEA is an organization originally constituted under Section 3(1) of the repealed Electricity (Supply) Act, 1948, since substituted by Section 70 of the Electricity Act, 2003.
- One of its objectives is to formulate National Electricity Plan every five years for optimum utilization of available resources for power generation.
- It works under the Ministry of Power and is located in New Delhi.
Power System Operation Corporation Ltd.
- POSOCO is a Government of India enterprise that supervise and control all aspect concerning operations and manpower requirement of the Regional Load Despatch Centres (RLDCs) and the National Load Despatch Centre (NLDC).
- NLDC and RLDCs are responsible for operating the electricity market working in the country. They function under the Electricity Act, 2003.
- NLDC is located in New Delhi.
Centre for Railway Information System
- The Ministry of Railways set up CRIS as a society in July 1986.
- Its area of work includes information systems from all disciplines and functions of the Indian Railways.
- It is headquartered in New Delhi.
Recently, the Minister of State (Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions) has launched the Centralized Public Grievances Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) reforms in the Department of Posts.
- The reforms are expected to reduce the grievance disposal time and improve the quality of grievance redressal.
- It is an online web-enabled system developed by National Informatics Centre (Ministry of Electronics & IT [MeitY]), in association with Directorate of Public Grievances (DPG) and Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG).
- The underlying idea was to receive, redress and monitor the grievances of the public.
- It was launched by the Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances (DARPG) under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions.
- The CPGRAMS provides the facility to lodge a grievance online from any geographical location.
- It enables the citizen to track online the grievance being followed up with Departments concerned and also enables DARPG to monitor the grievance.
- The procedure includes designating a senior officer as the Director of Grievances/Grievance officer in every office to ensure that the system remains accessible, simple, quick, fair and responsive, and fixing the time limit for disposal of work relating to public grievances and staff grievances.
Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus (EEHV) is a rare disease that has killed five elephants in Odisha.
- EEHV is as a type of herpes virus that can cause a highly fatal hemorrhagic disease in young Asian elephants between the ages of 1 and 12.
- If a young elephant dies before reproducing, it affects the population of the species as a whole in the concerned geography.
- When EEHV is triggered, the elephant dies of massive internal bleeding and symptoms which are hardly visible, like reduced appetite, nasal discharge, and swollen glands.
- The disease is usually fatal, with a short course of 28-35 hours.
- There is no cure for herpes viruses in animals or in humans
A new research has placed India at the top of the list of the countries from where the maximum number of reports (38.8 lakh) related to suspected online Child Sexual Abuse Imagery (CSAI) originated.
- According to the data, India, Indonesia, and Thailand account for 37% of Online Sexual Abuse Imagery (CSAI).
- The research was carried by Google and "Thorn" - an international anti-human trafficking organization.
- The data shows that 68% of reports related to abuse through CSAI have emerged in Asia, 19% in the Americas, 6% in Europe, and 7% in Africa.
Child Sexual Abuse Imagery (CSAI)
- Child Sexual Abuse Imagery (CSAI) is any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (a person less than 18 years old). It reflects the sexual abuse and exploitation of children in online world.
- CSAI can be found in virtually any online realm more than videos and images.
- Not only do these images and videos document victims’ exploitation and abuse, but when these files are shared across the internet, child victims suffer re-victimization each time the image of their sexual abuse is viewed.
In order to bring uniformity and consistency in valuation, market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has asked mutual fund houses to follow the "waterfall" approach for the valuation of money market and debt securities.
- SEBI noted various instances wherein mutual funds have used their own trades of relatively small quantities in order to value the entire holding of such security. To avoid this, the waterfall approach is to be adopted.
- Under the Waterfall Approach, all traded securities would be valued on the basis of traded yields
- For Government Securities (including T-bills), Volume Weighted Average Yield (VWAY) for trades in the last one hour of trading shall be used.
- Valuation of all other money market and debt securities (including Government securities not traded in the last one hour) shall be done on the basis of VWAY of all trades during the day.
Volume Weighted Average Yield (VWAY)
- It is a trading benchmark used by traders that gives the average price security has traded throughout the day, based on both volume and price.
- It is important because it provides traders with insight into both the trend and value of a security
Money Market Fund
- Money Market Mutual Funds (MMMF) are short-run liquid investments which invest in high-quality money market instruments such as Treasury Bills (T-Bills), Repurchase Agreements (Repos), Commercial Papers and Certificate of Deposits.
- Money Market Fund is an open-ended mutual fund.
- It invests in short-term debt securities like treasury bills and commercial paper.
- Debt securities funds invest in fixed income securities like bonds and treasury bills.
- Previously, the presence of fungus has also been found in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
- The Fire Coral fungus has its native habitat in the mountains of Japan and Korea.
- Several people have died in Japan and Korea after mistaking this bright red fungi for edible mushrooms.
- Its toxins can even be absorbed through the skin.
- If eaten, it causes symptoms such as stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever and numbness which are followed over hours or days by the skin peeling off the hands and feet, and the shrinking of the brain.
The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MEITY) has launched an Automated Real Time Performance Smart-Board to ensure effective monitoring of the key programmes of the Ministry.
- It will act as a single window access for Centre, State or District specific projects implemented by MeitY. Some of them include: Aadhar, Digital India, Digital Payments etc.
- It will provide real-time, dynamic analytical project monitoring for critical and high priority Programme/Schemes of MeitY.
- It will enhance analysis through data integration by consolidating multiple data sources into one centralized, easy-to-access platform.
- Expected Outcome: Promoting transparency and enhancing ease of working.