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| Last Updated::11/01/2016

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Executive Summary

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 


The major areas of concern of legislators during the year 2008 in the Rajya Sabha were the effects of existing agricultural practices on the health of the soil and the increasing content of toxic chemicals in agricultural products. The questions included the demand for information about soil management strategies, land degradation; thereby decline in production and land use policy, effect of global warming on agriculture, measures to promote greater reliance on bio-fertilizer, organic farming and botanical practices.

 

In addition, other areas covered included the alternatives provided for chemical fertilizers and the productivity and extent of agricultural land. The Ministry of Agriculture handled the majority of the queries during the year. The center of attention of discussions in the House was the progress of renewable energy promotion measures particularly those relating to bio-fuel production and the steps being taken to increase the share of renewable energy in the total energy mix. Areas discussed included measures to harness solar and wind energy, energy generation from biomass and wastes, and the electrification of farflung areas through non-conventional energy sources. The majority of queries during the year 2008 were replied by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

 

The debate during the year 2008 related mainly to the details of the problems associated with the introduction and adoption of the crops, in particular the crop failure in certain regions. Also, demands were made for information about the benefits from the Bt. crops and precautionary measures taken by the government, including the ban on Genetically Modified Crops. Discussions also covered the issue of safety of transgenic crops, waste disposal methods, and the health, social and financial status of farmers. The MoEF, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Agriculture handled the maximum number of queries during the year. The findings on climate change assessment, the impact of climate change particularly on the country’s food production, food security; melting of glaciers, impacts of the Global Warming and the policies for Global Warming were the main topics of discussion in the House during the year. The MoEF furnished the maximum number of replies in the House during the year.

 

There were many questions raised on the existing disasters occurring in the country, as well as the mechanisms to deal with them. The areas of concern covered drought disasters, flood control and management ways, availability of earthquake prediction capacity in the country, and Tsunami prediction and early warning systems. The other topics spanned the steps taken for calamity relief and rehabilitation, the vulnerability of certain states to calamities, flood-related issues, strengthening of preparedness for disasters like earthquake and tsunami etc. The Ministry of Water Resources and Ministry of Home Affairs handled the maximum number of questions during the year.

 

The procedure including the scientific and technical basis of the Environmental Impact Assessment was a major subject of discussion in the House. The impact of developmental projects particularly mining activities, river-linking projects and hydro-power projects, the status of projects received and pending for environment and forest clearance, the process of granting approval, especially accelerating the clearance of projects were the other areas of discussions. Most of the questions were handled by the MoEF during the year 2008. The concern about the country’s growing energy needs in the context of the depletion of conventional fuel sources was clearly reflected in the questions in the House. Deliberations centered mainly on the country’s non-conventional energy programme.

 

Questions were asked about the various measures taken to promote renewable energy sources particularly the details of solar, wind and hydropower projects. In addition, the Ministry of Power had started an energy conservation campaign to sensitize the users to save electricity. The Ministry of Power has also issued the Energy Conservation Building Code to save electricity by promoting energy efficient buildings. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (formerly Ministry of Nonconventional Energy Sources) handled the majority of queries during the year. The government’s promotion of eco-tourism was the main subject of discussion during the year. Other topics of discussion were the contribution of the forestry sector to the country’s economy and the status of ecotourism and wildlife projects. Questions during the year were mainly handled by the Ministry of Tourism.

 

The discussions in the House focused on issues of various environment-related legislations and policies concerning hazardous waste management, wetlands protection, river pollution, effects of industrialization, forest rights of forest dependent communities, coastal protection, groundwater use, fuel quality etc. The MoEF gave the maximum number of replies during the year. The Ministry of Water Resources also handled a substantial number of questions.

 

There were discussions on pollution, and governmental initiatives on awareness generation and NGOs participation in government programmes on energy and water management were the major areas of discussion. There were several discussions on the government’s promotion of awareness on renewable energy, water conservation and disaster management. The legislators were given the details of the government’s promotion of `Education for Peace’ as an important concern to be integrated throughout the school curriculum.

 

The discussions in the House during the year were focused mainly on the country’s forest cover, the rights of tribals and forest dwellers in the forest areas, the development of forest villages, the progress of afforestation activities and the development of mangrove forests. Concerns were expressed about the status of the country’s forest cover and the steps taken to augment forest lands. The MoEF handled the majority of queries during the year.

 

The quality of the country’s rivers and lakes was the dominant theme of discussion in the House during the year. Other areas covered included the conservation of the country’s coastlines, wetlands and mangroves. Also discussed were the initiatives to augment water availability, renovation and restoration of water bodies related to agriculture. The MoEF gave the maximum number of replies during the year, while the Ministry of Water Resources also had a significant share of the discussions.

 

The adverse health impacts of excessive application of pesticides and chemical fertilizers in agriculture, the presence of heavy metals in carbonated drinks, the country’s preparedness for bird flu, the provision of safe drinking water and mortality from poor environmental quality were the main areas of discussion during the year. There was substantial attention given to the absence of basic amenities, in particular, sanitation facilities, water quality concerns, particularly drinking water for the rural areas and the quality of the Yamuna River, as well. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Rural Development handled a majority of the questions during the year.

 

Discussion in the House in this subject area covered the promotional schemes for cultivation of medicinal plants, efforts for gathering information about the problems faced by cultivators, and the status of database and infrastructural facilities for research and conservation for medicinal plants. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare handled most of the queries during the year.

 

Pollution was a subject that was majorly talked on in the House among the members. Major discussion was held on the quality of the country’s major rivers in the House during the year. The other areas focused upon included the issue of air pollution, land pollution, noise pollution, electronic waste pollution and the hazards of ship-breaking. As per report of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), Delhi is at risk of losing air quality because of rising pollution. The MoEF addressed the maximum number of replies during the year.

 

Many queries were made about the continuing acute shortage of water as indicated by the falling water tables across the country and the measures being undertaken to augment the availability of water resources. Other topics of discussion included the proposal for water quality decline and the distribution of water. Another related area concerned the availability of clean drinking water particularly in the rural areas. The availability of water for agricultural use was a matter of substantial focus during the Session.

 

The highest number of queries was addressed by the Ministry of Water Resources during the year. Discussion during the session covered questions relating to the census on wildlife, decline in wildlife population, wildlife deaths, habitat conservation, and control of illegal wildlife trade and associated activities. The key concern was the rapid decline in the wildlife of the country. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informed the House that the disease had been contained in the affected areas through the culling of birds and stepped up vigilance by authorized officials. The MoEF handled the highest number of questions during the year.