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| Last Updated::13/05/2015

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Executive Summary Rajya Sabha 2007

RAJYA SABHA 2007

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 


The main areas of concern of legislators during the year 2007 were the effects of existing agricultural practices on the health of the soil and the increasing content of toxic chemicals in agricultural products. Most of the queries of the legislators demonstrated an overarching concern about the sustainability of high dependence on chemical fertilizers and pesticide application and the consequent threats to human health. The questions included the demand for information about adoption of crop projection technologies, soil management strategies, land degradation 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 different issues that were raised in the Rajya Sabha were the effects of global warming on agriculture production, degradation of land, soil erosion and production, concept of chemical fertilizers and organic fertilizers, adoption of crop protection technologies.

 

The main focus 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, involvement of panchayats and the private sector, and the electrification of farflung areas through non-conventional energy sources. The majority of queries during the year 2007 were replied by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. The different issues that were raised in the Rajya Sabha were related to Renewable energy, solar energy, wind energy, hydel power, energy from garbage and waste, biomass and biodiesel, green buildings, integrated rural energy system, clean energy, production of ethanol, use of atomic energy, and action plans for derieving alternative sources of energy.

 

The discussions during the year 2007 related mainly to the details of the status of the Bt.4 crops cultivation in the country and 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, study being conducted on the effect of transgenic crops on the environment, 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 different issues that were raised in the Rajya Sabha were Adoption of Genetically Modified Crops including Bt Cotton, Ban on GM Crops, Rules to Manage Genetically Modified (GM) Products.

 

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. The different issues that were raised in the Rajya Sabha were melting of glaciers, impacts of global warming, reports on global warming, clean development mechanism, policy for global warming, alongwith some specialized research centres to mitigate the effects of Climate change.

 

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 assistance provided to states through the existing government funds for calamity relief and the inclusion of disaster management themes in educational curricula was also covered. The Ministry of Water Resources and Ministry of Home Affairs handled the maximum number of questions during the year. In the Rajya Sabha, the different issues discussed were related to drought disasters, tsunami and earthquake disasters, avalanches and flood disasters, safety measures in mines, safety measures in using radioactive materials and some early warning device for disasters.

 

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. Discussions 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. The House was also informed of the two major stumbling blocks to attain high economic growth, namely the farm sector and the power sector, according to the Economic Outlook 2006-07. 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. Most importantly, some of the issues that were raised in the Rajya Sabha were renewable energy, energy policy, and energy efficiency.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. The different issues that were raised in the Rajya Sabha were protection of environment, environmental policies and bills, regulation of pollution, wildlife protection, waste management, coastal regulation zone and miscellaneous.The areas of discussion during the year covered governmental initiatives on awareness generation with particular focus on Inclusion of Environmental Education in school curriculum, 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. Important issues that were raised in the Rajya Sabha were Environmental education, environmental projects and researches, and others.

 

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. The different issues discussed in the Rajya Sabha were development projects, hydroelectric projects, Ramsetu project, and the damage caused to environment by such projects.

 

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. There were many issues that were raised in the Rajya Sabha. Among them, the important ones are forest conservation, preservation and protection of forest environment, development of forests, financial assistance, forests and tribals, damage to environment, and other miscellaneous issues. 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 different issues that were raised in the Rajya Sabha were pollution in fresh water and marine water, restoration and cleaning activities, protection and conservation, damage to environment, action plans taken to continue the further cleaning activities.

 

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. Issues that were importantly discussed in the Rajya Sabha were bird flu, excessive use of chemicals in agricultural production and eatables, water related problems, hazardous materials, sanitation and diseases etc.

 

The quality of the country’s major rivers was the dominant theme of discussion 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. The different issues that were raised in the Rajya Sabha were nuclear and atomic waste, e-waste, hazardous and chemical waste, pollution of water bodies, air pollution, measures to control the rising pollution and others.

 

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. The different issues that were raised in the Rajya Sabha were exports of medicinal plants, conservation of medicinal plants, promotion measures for medicinal plants. There were some miscellaneous questions also, that were discussed in the Rajya Sabha related to matters different than the stated ones.

 

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.

 

There were many issues that were raised in the Rajya Sabha; some are rainfed areas, water schemes, shortage of water, measures for water management, water and sanitation programmes, river water disputes, conservation of water. Discussion during the Session covered questions relating to the decline in wildlife population, wildlife deaths, habitat conservation, and control of illegal wildlife trade and associated activities. There were also discussions on the response to the outbreak of bird flu and animal welfare. The MoEF handled the highest number of questions during the year. The issue of the bird flu outbreak in the country was brought up for discussion with Members enquiring about the preventive measures in place especially the monitoring of bird population. 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. Other issues that were discussed in the Rajya Sabha were declining population of endangered species, preservation of forest cover and Environment, actions taken, protection of wildlife, and others.